As Cunard prepares to launch its newest ocean liner, the highly anticipated Queen Victoria, the Line announces the promotion of Jean-Marie Zimmermann to Global Culinary Ambassador, responsible for overseeing the company's trio of renowned luxury ocean liners.
Chef Zimmermann's leadership is already in action planning and preparing the culinary program for Queen Victoria, which includes a multitude of receptions, lunches and dinners for the official naming ceremony that will be attended by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales on December 10. More than 7,000 people are expected to visit the ship over the course of the three-day celebratory debut in Southampton, England including more than 2000 VIP guests, celebrities and dignitaries who will dine throughout every restaurant on the ship during the evening gala celebration.
In his elevated position, Chef Zimmermann defines the culinary standards for excellence aboard flagship Queen Mary 2, QE2 and Queen Victoria. Requiring vision and creativity, Chef Zimmermann has already created and planned diverse menus for the Line's upcoming 90 & 105-day World Cruise itineraries - which requires a keen sense of understanding for the tastes and preferences of an International mix of guests.
Born in Strasbourg, France in a small region of Alsace, Chef Zimmermann discovered his love of cooking at an early age. Under the watchful eye of his grand-mère, he sharpened his culinary skills and quickly rose to a kitchen position in one of the most respected gourmet restaurants in his hometown of Strasbourg. Since then, his culinary career has taken him to Cannes, Juan Les Pins, Monte Carlo and London, each stop affording new opportunities to demonstrate his mastery, earning accolades and awards, including several gold medals at the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt. For five years he served as Chef and proprietor operating his own fine dining restaurant which earned him a Michelin Red M, an Egon Ronay Star and a Michelin Star. He also served as president of Euro-Toque in the late 1980's under the direction of the creator of the evolutionary culinary movement, Paul Bocuse. In 1998, friend and fellow Three-Star Michelin Chef Michel Roux tapped him to serve as Corporate Chef for Celebrity Cruises launching Chef Zimmermann's career at sea.
Chef Zimmermann finds boundless inspiration in the exotic destinations that dot the "typical" World Cruise itinerary. "I look forward to meeting the local growers to sample and buy some of the world's most intriguing native ingredients to keep the menus fresh and exciting." Interestingly, while Cunard guests do have a very sophisticated culinary palate, the recollection of one particularly grand event always sparks a smile. In preparation for a U.S. Presidential visit, Chef Zimmermann crafted a menu to "appeal to all the senses," however President George Bush, Sr., politely asked the Chef to prepare, just for him, something using freshly made pasta, a lasagna.
When not at sea, Chef Zimmermann searches for fresh, local ingredients, preferably organic or farm-to-plate. "I enjoy the pleasure of exploring rural markets and produce shops, discovering local fish, meats, vegetables and seasonings. Living near the coast in Bordeaux, we can enjoy fresh oysters, fresh Atlantic fish cooked in my own light and healthy combinations. And, being a Frenchman, I also cook typical French specialties such bouillabaisse and many other regional specialties."