Culinary Discussion Panel Shines at MHA Show

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Eight senior level executives representing the cruise industry and ranging from major operators to small expedition lines highlighted the Tuesday morning breakfast panel discussion at the Marine Hotel Association (MHA) conference and trade show in Naples, Florida.

Bruce Tschampel, vice president of hotel operations at Lindblad Expeditions, hosted the hour-long panel which focused on culinary differentiation between brands, new innovations, current and future trends, as well as supply chain issues.

“It’s pretty simple. Good food starts with good food,” said Frank Weber, Sr., vice president of hotel operations at Virgin Voyages. Weber said he needed the right products at the right quality on time, meaning reliance on vendors as well as supply chain logistics.

Culinary Discussion Panel

“What makes us unique is we can change our menu on short notice, and our residents appreciate that,” noted Marco Kazmierczak, director of supply chain at The World.

“It’s not only asking about for the product – it’s about when, where, if and how,” said Graeme Cockburn, corporate chef at Windstar Cruises.

Enrique Villardefrancos, corporate executive chef at MSC Cruises USA, pointed to group cruises with Weight Watchers the company does that requires a new main dining room menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while the ship also keeps the traditional its menu – meaning doubling planning and efforts in the galley.

“Challenges with supply chain on an expedition ship – what if we are in Antarctica and we run out of something,” asked Ana Esteves, director of hotel operations at Lindblad Expeditions. “Our ships don’t have a lot of room, so we need to be very smart about what we are ordering. A big part of our program is our sustainable seafood program; it is very strict. We will buy it and ship it across the world.”

Among her challenges is finding a supplier of lionfish.

Panel Participants:

  • Peter Hofler, Corporate Executive Chef – CMI Leisure
  • Enrique Villardefrancos, Corporate Executive Chef – MSC Cruises
  • Ana Esteves, Director, Hotel Operations – Lindblad Expeditions
  • Graeme Cockburn, Corporate Chef – Windstar Cruises
  • Frank Weber, Sr. VP Hotel Operations – Virgin Voyages
  • Marco Kazmierczak, Director of Supply Chain  – The World
  • Christian Pratsch, Corporate R&D Chef – Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Eric Barale, Culinary Director – The Apollo Group

Look for a full report in the 2019 Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine Summer edition, due out in July.

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