Back when we still paid for cable, there was a show we used to catch on TLC called Take Home Chef, hosted by a relative unknown. Fast forward 12 years, and classically trained Curtis Stone is a humble family man whose newest dining room is available to guests via Princess Cruises. For a cover charge of $29, diners can customize their six-course, fine dining experience by selecting from multiple options.
Logistically speaking, to coordinate a restaurant concept on three moving vessels is no easy task. How can you make sure the quality is right, or have the best ingredients available? Chef Stone relies on his team of seasoned professionals to make SHARE’s menu possible. They come up with ideas, develop them, then test things out on board before deciding if they are a good fit for the menu.
During a recent visit on board the Emerald Princess, we tested out their newest seasonal dishes before guests and crew departed on their next adventure. These included a bright Kanpachi Crudo, a saltwater amberjack tuna, thinly sliced and quick-cured in lime, featuring chiles, avocado and almonds. We also sampled a Brown Butter Duroc Pork Chop for Two; the hard roasted, double-bone pork rack was served family-style with confit carrots, broccoli puree, and whole grain mustard jus poured over tableside. In addition to the standard, multi-course menu, SHARE has a separate vegetarian menu. We spotted Braised Lentils, and requested some if there were any left over. Cooked in an umami-packed mushroom broth, we savored the blend of onions, carrots and crispy leeks.
Issues that restaurateurs never have to think about on land include ensuring inventory that is correct and unspoiled prior to departure into international waters. Or maneuvering around servers and other cooks in a kitchen that’s constantly swaying. There’s also the changing climate and humidity, easily affecting items such as SHARE’s freshly baked bread service (Note: The Epi Baguettes offered in course one are addictive and not to be missed.)
Passengers are not restricted to dining at SHARE to enjoy Curtis Stone’s cuisine; a handful of dishes are also prepared specifically for the other ships in the fleet and are part of the main dining room menu, referred to as Crafted by Curtis Stone. Options include a Steamed Mussels, Chorizo and White Wine dish. Served with steak fries and toasted baguette, it’s a hearty bowl of Spanish flavors. Stone shared his thoughts on a comforting Beef Tenderloin Tips and Mushroom Cobbler with carrots, “This warming cobbler will perfectly compliment the crisp breeze of the ocean! Packed with the delicious flavors of moist beef tenderloin, umami mushroom mushroom and topped with a Gruyere biscuit, this is one succulent dish to enjoy at sea.”
The Princess Cruises philosophy is to not only go and travel, but create memories to take home and “Come back new.” The next time you get bit by wanderlust, look into a Princess ship with SHARE on board for a unique experience.
Curtis Stone SHARE is available on the Sun Princess, Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess. www.princess.com/curtisstone.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.