Big-name celebrity chefs have become the norm at sea in recent years and it should come as no surprise that the world’s largest ship will have a phenomenal chef at its helm. However, Royal Caribbean continues to deliver the unexpected for its much-anticipated Oasis of the Seas, including the choice of chef de cuisine for 150 Central Park, the ship’s signature restaurant in the Central Park neighborhood.
Keriann Von Raesfeld, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed chef will be heading up the most talked about restaurant aboard the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship, slated to begin sailing in Dec 2009. After an extensive world wide search for the most up and coming talent, Royal Caribbean discovered Von Raesfeld at the prestigious 2008 World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) Congress in Dubai. Von Raesfeld’s extraordinary talents have earned her high profile accolades, which include being the first American and the first woman to win the honor of ‘Best Young Cook in the World’ at the 2008 WACS Congress. She also led Team USA to a first gold medal at the Scothot Competition in Scotland and was part of Team USA’s regional team that won the first ever gold medal at the Culinary Olympics held in Germany as well as part of the gold winning Team USA.
At the age of 23, Von Raesfeld will realize any chef’s lifetime goal to manage a restaurant of their own, leading a team of the best chefs in the industry. As chef de cuisine, Von Raesfeld will be a fixture in 150 Central Park, present in every aspect of the signature venue, from the day-to-day kitchen operations and the dining experience, to engaging and conversing with guests nightly.
“Keriann Von Raesfeld’s incredible talent and innovative vision for 150 Central Park is the perfect fit within the constellation of culinary offerings aboard Oasis of the Seas,” says Frank Weber, vice president, Food and Beverage Operations, Royal Caribbean Intl. “Keriann embodies Royal Caribbean’s culture of innovation. Rather than partner with a traditional celebrity chef to lend a name to our signature restaurant, we found one that is a true star in her own right who will focus all of her attention in making the 150 Central Park experience stellar. Royal Caribbean found an authentic, hidden gem with Keriann.”
Von Raesfeld’s modern American epicurean approach, established in formal training from the Professional Culinary Institute and continuously refined through various international competitions, is founded in familiar cuisine and brought to life in original and unique ways. The distinctive style exercises a play on temperatures and textures to create dishes such as a spicy “hot” gazpacho and a Kobe steak entrée served with shitake “bacon” and a celery root purée. Other signature presentations will include Von Raesfeld’s acclaimed banana split, which requires a day-and-a-half of preparation.
Chef Keriann Von Raesfeld says, “My experience in international culinary competitions–where time and food constraints are inherent–is a huge advantage in helping to prepare me for what will be one of the best restaurants at sea. 150 Central Park will be a refined and inviting restaurant, offering extreme attention to detail, from the china and stemware to our amazing wait staff and sommeliers.”
Completing the gastronomic experience at 150 Central Park will be the most dynamic wine program of any Royal Caribbean restaurant. The expansive wine list, created by Master Sommelier John Blazon, will feature wine recommendations paired with the evening’s menu and presented in three “tasting tiers” based on the bottles’ price points. Guests will be able to view the ship’s extensive wine collection in a uniquely designed wine cellar, visible from within the restaurant. Located in the lush and tropical grounds of the ship’s Central Park neighborhood, 150 Central Park will feature décor that will embrace the mellow earth tones, unique textiles, and fixtures inspired by nature’s four seasons. Inspired by the simple elegance concept of trend-setting restaurants in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, each detail of 150 Central Park will be dedicated to enhancing the dining ambiance, from the tabletops to the service team uniforms. The restaurant will feature two menus per sailing, each offering a 6- and 8-course option, and be open for dinner daily from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm with a cover charge of $35.
When it launches in Dec 2009, Oasis of the Seas will be the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, it will span 16 decks, encompass 220,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,700 staterooms. Oasis of the Seas will be the first ship to tout the cruise line’s new neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, which includes Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. The ship will sail from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Additional information is available at OasisoftheSeas.com.
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