Before his involvement in cruise cuisine, Bernhard Klotz ran Caviar Russe in New York. As you can imagine he knows a thing or two about fine dining.
Now he is in charge of the culinary delights aboard Oceania Cruises, which boasts the world’s best cuisine at sea, as the line’s Vice President Food & Beverage.
And one of the line’s most remarkable achievements is launching a huge array of plant-based meals.
They are the ultimate in sustainable eating – and the good news is, they are also delicious!
Mr Klotz tells us about the new menus and his personal favourite, plant-based ice cream.
Tell us what plant-based food is exactly?
These are foods that can be found in nature, are unrefined or minimally processed, come from a plant, and contain no animal products. This includes foods like vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, and plant-based oils.
How does it help the planet?
Animal agriculture accounts for a significant proportion of global greenhouse gases, so removing or reducing animal foods from your diet is a great way to help the environment and advocate for animal welfare.
How does it taste?
Plant-based food can taste gourmet, and delicious. On our small, stylish ships we serve up a range of cuisines, from Italian and Greek, to Middle Eastern, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, Italian, Malaysian, and more.
There are healthy Power Bowls and Poke Bowls, hearty pastas and Pad Thai, light and refreshing salads and soups and even a variety of downright surprisingly decadent items to choose from including an Impossible Cheeseburger, Truffle Mac and Cheese, and an Apple-Oatmeal Crumble with plant-based Vanilla Ice Cream and Coco-Vanilla Cashew Crème Brulee.
What’s your background in food and what made you change to plant-based food?
I’ve worked in many well-known establishments in Austria, France, Italy, Norway and the United States, and have drawn on my years of experience working with some of Europe’s finest chefs. I joined the cruise industry in 1985, moving my way up to Executive Chef for Royal Viking Line before joining Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, where I quickly became Fleet Executive Chef, Director of Food & Beverage and most recently, Vice President of Culinary Operations for Oceania Cruises, and sister brand Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
My focus is to present guests with unprecedented gastronomic experiences to tempt the palate. Together with the culinary team, I plan and develop unique and inspiring food and wine experiences, in addition to the ever-changing menus for our speciality restaurants. For us, the plant-based menus were a natural evolution to address the changing tastes and palates of our guests.
Did you have to develop the recipes yourself?
The dishes were developed by Oceania Cruises’ culinary leadership team in concert with world-renowned chef, culinary instructor, and author Christophe Berg. They are a true labour of love.
What has been the reaction so far from guests?
The response from our guests has been nothing short of overwhelming. It is important that travellers relish a unique and satisfying experience in each of our speciality restaurants, and plant-based dishes is another example of our commitment to continually elevating the guest experience onboard Oceania Cruises.
We wanted to provide guests on board Oceania Cruises with more choice of culinary delights, which is why we introduced over 200 healthy, and plant-based menu selections.
Plant-based choices are available at breakfast, lunch, and dinner in The Grand Dining Room and Terrace Café and guests will also have plant-based options available upon request during dinner service in each of the specialty restaurants. And on our newest ship, Vista, new dining concept Aquamar Kitchen will offer a nutritious and healthy menu loaded with plant-based options.
What’s your favourite dish?
This is a really hard question to answer. It depends on the mood I am in. Right now, my favourite dish would be avocado toast for breakfast, a healthy power bowl for lunch and a delicious potato and vegetable curry with basmati rice and freshly baked papadum bread for dinner. And not forgetting the plant-based ice cream, which I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner!