7 posts tagged Qsine
7 posts tagged Qsine
Being part of Celebrity’s public relations team means telling people what makes our cruises so special. One of the most exciting stories to tell is that of our Solsticizing initiative. For me, a large part of what makes this story so fantastic is the fact that each revitalization includes the addition of more restaurants; this means more ways for you to enjoy our award-winning, made-from-scratch cuisine and authentic, personalized service. With the addition of Tuscan Grille, Qsine, Blu and Bistro on Five to our Millennium Class ships, you can expand your culinary journey through a much richer variety of flavor combinations, textures, pairings and other taste worthy delights.
The same team of chefs who bring these restaurants to life through the development of modern luxury dining concepts, menus and service recently made history! Earlier this month, Celebrity was the first cruise line to have its chefs featured at the prestigious, historic James Beard House in New York City. Once the home of American culinary pioneer James Beard, who laid the groundwork for America’s gastronomic excellence, the James Beard House is today regarded as a culinary performance space.
I had the opportunity to witness our chefs in action that week, as I was overseeing a video shoot aimed at sharing the James Beard House dinner story with you (the resulting piece is below). The chefs’ excitement was palpable as they prepped at the New York Marriott Marquis kitchen (thanks to Executive Chef Armando Monterroso and his incredibly hospitable staff), sourced ingredients locally, finished prep at the James Beard House, and then presented an amazing dinner that dazzled and delighted everyone who attended.
Some people believe that the practice of public relations is all glamour, no substance. That couldn’t be further from the truth. But if that’s the perception, it means we do a good job of making sure people see what we want them to see: the polished finished product, not the hard work that led to it. At Celebrity, what we really want everyone to see is how passionate we are about delivering unforgettable, luxurious vacation experiences. My job is to tell that story, to explain how we create truly restorative vacation moments and to invoke curiosity and eagerness about how a Celebrity Cruises experience is unlike any other at sea. And a large part of what makes Celebrity so special is the food we serve onboard.
Seeing our team of chefs—the chefs behind the made-from-scratch food we serve onboard—shine at the legendary James Beard House, one of the most prestigious culinary performance spaces in the world, was an honor and a privilege.
And shine they did! Scallop tartare with sea urchin emulsion and pickled ginger. Alaskan King crab nage with ramp panna cotta, Osetra caviar and Kumamoto oysters. Baby lamb rib with morel mushrooms. Toro tacushi with sesame-soy emulsion, in wonton “taco” shells. Grand Marnier soufflé. These are but a few of the delectable items that our team concocted for the guests at the dinner.
Our director of culinary operations and James Beard Foundation Award-nominated Chef John Suley led the team of chefs who cooked at the Beard House. Together, they represent six countries across five continents: John is American; W. Thomas Szymanski, Senior Traveling Executive Chef, is from Poland; Rufino Rengifo, Corporate Executive Chef, is from Venezuela; Steve Van Der Merwe, Corporate Executive Chef, is South African; Executive Pastry Chef Thierry Houlbert is from France; Traveling Pastry Chef Ronald Sioson is from the Philippines.
Izabela Wojcik, The James Beard Foundation’s Director of House Programming, said, “We selected Celebrity Cruises to cook at the James Beard House because the culinary journey offered on their ships truly is outstanding. The incredible creativity of Chef John Suley and his team is the reason why Celebrity’s guests have the opportunity to delve into an extraordinary range of globally influenced flavors and presentations.”
“The James Beard House dinner not only reflected our individual styles, but also the diversity of influences that shape our work,” John said. “With a team approach, we bring this same synergy to Celebrity’s onboard culinary experience every day, and hope that our passion for cooking amazing food adds an element of the unexpected, of adventure, even of astonishment, to our guests’ vacations.”
Just as teamwork and collaboration are at the heart of the success of Celebrity’s James Beard House dinner, they’re what make our onboard service so extraordinary, on every ship, every day. That’s a story I personally love to tell, and I hope you enjoy experiencing it firsthand.
Click here to see our chefs put modern luxury on the table in New York City (and bring your appetite when we next see you onboard!).
Manager, Public Relations
You recently heard from my colleague, Scott Steenrod, who shared the story of how Qsine was brought to life. He mentioned that one of the most exciting things we do here at Celebrity Cruises is create new concepts, and as the Director of Product Development, I couldn’t agree with him more.
Creativity and innovation are at the core of everything we do, whether we’re working with the Food and Beverage Team and our talented chefs to bring our lifestyle book, Excite the Senses, to life, developing exciting new concepts for Celebrity Reflection—our newest ship debuting in October—or finding the perfect name for a new program or venue that can capture its very essence. But, not everything we do is about creating new products. Often times it’s about taking a guest’s experience from “good” to “exceptional.”
For example, when we introduced “eXhale”℠, our luxurious sleep bedding, we thought, “how can we make it an even better experience?” With pure Egyptian cotton linens and plush duvets and pillows, the only stone left unturned was the mattress. But not just any branded mattress would do. So, we set out to not only find a new mattress, but also a manufacturer we could partner with to deliver the most innovative product on the market. After some research and visiting hotel trade shows around the country, we discovered Reverie®, a not so well known yet innovative manufacturer in the field of luxury bedding and adjustable bases.
We worked with them to create a custom mattress for our staterooms that would feature their unique air cylinder technology, plush pillow top, and bamboo mattress cover to keep you cool and comfortable while you sleep. Reverie named this exclusive design, ‘Reverie Dream Lite’. For our suites, we selected their top of the line ‘Reverie Dream’ mattress. Not only did this mattress have their patented technology, but also—with the help of suite butlers—the firmness of the mattress can be customized according to preference.
These new mattresses represent one of the single largest “Solsticizing” investments we’re making on the Millennium Class. I’m so happy the decision was made to move forward because rejuvenation is such a big part of the vacation experience, and we think there’s no better place to start than a good night’s rest. What I am most proud of though, is that these mattresses are made of natural, raw materials farmed in a sustainable manner and are almost entirely recyclable!
How do we maintain the creativity needed to continuously innovate? We utilize the canvas of our beautiful ships devised by our amazing architects and designers. We collaborate with teams across the company to develop the experience that brings the concept to life. We get input from the crew and staff onboard. But, first and foremost, we look for inspiration from you and your feedback. We can’t wait to hear what you think of the new mattresses onboard the newly Solsticized Celebrity Millennium!
Dominique P. Bonavita
Director, Product Development
One of the most exciting things that we do at Celebrity Cruises—particularly in our food and beverage department—is create new things. We are constantly pushing the limits of our guests’ experiences further and further from what they would normally expect on a cruise vacation. We find great joy in the “a-ha!” moment where we’ve revolutionized expectations of what dining on a cruise ship can be like.
And, I will admit it—I’m probably the least creative person on our team. This is why the opportunity to be surrounded by the creative minds of Chef Jacques Van Staden and the other members of our team everyday is so much fun for me. I simply never know what they will come up with next!!!
Never was this creativity more alive than when Jacques developed Qsine. With amazing support from our leaders and a blank slate to work with, Jacques literally locked himself in his office (aka the culinary laboratory) with a collection of sketchbooks, an open mind and an iron-will to develop a restaurant that people had never seen before. For him, the opportunity to break through all misconceptions of cruise ship dining was the perfect calling. For several months, he divulged little about his plans to me. He really only consulted me to provide occasional glimpses of prospective service items or to bounce a quick idea off of me about possibilities.
Finally, Jacques emerged like a mad scientist that had just made a new discovery. As we spoke, he quickly rattled off idea after idea—“We call this the food palate pleasers. There are no courses. Guests are taking a culinary journey. The music will be vibrant and upbeat, the ambiance a bit whimsical and mysterious…. And it’s all about the food. Not avant-garde cookery, but real food delivered in ways that most people haven’t seen before. And when it’s all done, we turn your perception of dining upside down.”
The brilliance of the concept was instantly visible, and as Jacques spoke, my enthusiasm for Qsine grew. And, it was all a bit terrifying. Would the guests like it? Was it too creative? Would our crew embrace and understand what we were trying to accomplish? However, from the moment we welcomed our first guests into Qsine on Eclipse, we knew these fears were unfounded. Not only did Qsine represent a breakthrough restaurant concept, but it also came to represent a new standard in creativity and innovation from Chef Jacques and our Food and Beverage team. What’s interesting is that the first guests in Qsine were the senior management from Celebrity and the shipyard, Meyer Werft, dining together at the large communal table in the center of the restaurant. I will never forget how I watched them go from skeptics to believers, particularly as they shared their “palate pleasers” and finished their experience comparing the cupcakes they’d decorated.
With this instantaneous success on Celebrity Eclipse, we were thrilled to be a part of the decision to not only include Qsine on all future Solstice class ships, but also as part of our Solsticizing efforts on the remaining Millennium Class ships. And with our first Millennium Class Qsine on Celebrity Infinity, we saw the restaurant take on an even more dramatic presence amidst the two-story, top deck setting.
It’s a thrill that even more guests will now get to enjoy the “Uniquely Unordinary” experience that is Qsine. And for our team, it’s powerful reminder of how Chef Jacques’ creativity and empowerment leads us on our “Uniquely Celebrity” journey of delivering treasured guest food and beverage experiences with pride and imagination.
Associate Vice President
Food & Beverage Operations
Last evening was absolutely fabulous. We started with a drink at the new Martini Bar. The service was as special as the company! I can’t believe how the bartender can have so much “flair” and not spill a drop of my French Martini. Even pouring the drink into the glass was a production. No wonder so many of the guests can be heard telling friends, “Let’s meet at the Martini Bar!”
Next stop was the new specialty restaurant, Qsine. I’d seen the menu demonstrated on the iPad®, but I didn’t know what to expect when it came to the food. Via the iPad, we selected our bottle of wine, and shared our thoughts on the dishes we wanted to sample with our Culinary Tour Guide. After that, we just sat back and watched the “show” begin! It was a great experience to share with friends. All the dishes are designed so that everyone at the table gets a taste. We even saw some exciting dishes being delivered to other tables, and had to sample those too! It wasn’t long before we couldn’t eat another bite—that is, until I saw the cupcakes you decorate yourself delivered to another table! I asked the chef how he makes the peanut butter icing taste so divine, but he just smiled. If you try Qsine, you have to try the lamb chops in the “Mmmm Favorites” dish. I think I will have to see if they can get me more of those for breakfast tomorrow (if I actually feel hungry again!).
Lots more to tell, but I hear the Bridge Tour with the captain awaits me!
Well, they did it! Embarkation day is here, and the newly solsticized Celebrity Summit is ready to wow her guests. The new Martini Bar is the center of activity. The guests look so relaxed already while they sample the colorful and refreshing drinks. At the whimsical specialty restaurant Qsine, the “culinary tour guides” demonstrate the interactive menu with an iPad®. If the menu is this much fun, I can’t wait to experience the food! My stateroom looks fabulous with its upgraded bedding and decor, and the new table and chairs on the veranda are beckoning me to join them (along with the book I’ve just borrowed from the stocked onboard library).
It’s so exciting to have witnessed the solsticizing effort that took place here on Celebrity Summit, and to now see how her first guests are already enjoying the new venues. I’m thrilled to be aboard as the Captain’s Club Guest Reporter and sharing experiences from the past week with all the guests. Next stop, St. Croix USVI!
Victoria, Celebrity Summit Guest Reporter
We are now just four short days away from Ft. Lauderdale and our arrival in Grand Bahama for the revitalization. Today, Celebrity Infinity is transiting the Panama Canal and we are about to enter the incredible Gutan Locks. I have traveled through the Panama Canal many times and each time it is different in some extraordinary way. Our guests are always up before sunrise as their anticipation does not allow them to sleep. Today is no exception.
Speaking of anticipation, I have been answering questions continuously about the revitalization process, our crew, and the new venues that are going to be added. Several of our loyal guests have experienced the changes we made on Celebrity Constellation, so they are very interested in the additional features that Celebrity Infinity will receive. Additionally, Celebrity Infinity has a terrific reputation amongst our guests for incredible service and one of the friendliest crews at sea. It is this dynamic combination that I know has made the Solstice Class very popular, and indeed will come to life here as well. I am so happy for our crew to be able to provide the same impeccable, friendly service in a newly revitalized ship that also features these fantastic new venues.
This is where our guests are really intrigued—they love “their crew” and look forward to seeing them perform their magic in the new environment. During my conversations, the guests realize that in less than a month, Celebrity Infinity will introduce Qsine, Celebrity’s newest restaurant that is exclusive on Celebrity Eclipse and the brand new Celebrity Silhouette. They love the fun, playful concept that its menu is actually an iPad. How cool is that? Qsine is a unique restaurant where food becomes a culinary journey that turns the ordinary upside down and inside out. In fact, the chandeliers are upside down and the chairs are different heights.
Of course, it goes hand in hand with the hip iLounge. Guests cannot believe their favorite ship will not only sell Apple products, but also offer classes that enhance their experience with their iPad, iPhone, iPods and MacBooks. As my colleague on Celebrity Eclipse, Bernard Stacher, always says, “It’s the future!” It’s also Modern Luxury…
Tune in again in a few days and we will hear from the amazing crew.