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Cruise Diary: Cellar Master’s Dinner

Here’s the last post from journalist Lou Freed and her husband Jim (who took the photos). Enjoy!

Special dinner events
Enhancing Noordam’s cooking demonstrations are special events such as the “Dine with the Chef,” where Marc-Andre prepares and serves several courses before the very eyes of guests; the “Cellar Master’s Dinner,” where Sommelier Frank Menzel (“Frank from Frankfurt”) selects and comments on wines paired with six different courses prepared by Marc-Andre, and finally, the “Le Cirque Dinner” held in cooperation with the homonymous world famous New York restaurant. This final dinner event is prepared by the Pinnacle Grill team with Marc-Andre assisting in the food garnishing. While the Culinary Arts Center is the venue for the first event, the second and third programs are held in the Pinnacle Grill. The reservations for the above dinner events went quickly during our cruise. Fortunately, we got bookings for the last two.

Chef Marc-Andre and Pinnacle Grill Manager Jenny Impens at the Cellar Master's Dinner.

Cellar Master’s Dinner
The evening began with a refreshing Champagne Reception, followed by an exquisitely presented and sumptuously prepared six-course feast for the eyes and palate. No one missed the elegant table setting with Bulgari china and other tableware, as the Pinnacle Grill team seated their guests. Throughout dinner, superlatives ranging from “heavenly” to “amazing” and “fantastic” to “memorable” reverberated around the dinner table. Guests from Australia, Canada, the UK and the US applauded both chef and cellar master for their superb teamwork and pairing of the Stuffed Endive Salad with an Italian Cantine Maschio Prosecco; the Maine Lobster Salad with a Washington Eroica Riesling; the Wild Mushroom Soup with a California Three Blind Moose Cabernet Sauvignon; the Australian Lamb Shank with a French Chateauneuf-du-Pape; the Assorted Cheese with a Portuguese Warres Warrior Porto, and the Frozen Soufflé with an Italian Pas de Deux. Overall, for gourmets at heart, this was a dinner event to remember, worth writing home about.

In an interview, Marc-Andre, born to a French family in Canada, said his cooking interest started at age 17. After one and half years of training and apprenticeship at Ottawa’s Cordon Bleu, he worked for renowned hotels such as the Four Seasons and has since joined Holland America Lines’ culinary team. When asked how long it took him to prepare special dinners like the “Cellar Master’s Dinner” that we attended, he retorted, “three days” in between cooking demos and workshops. Furthermore, like an artist, “each creation emanates from my head,” he continued. “Furthermore, each of the courses I personally prepare and garnish without assistants for each guest,” he added. “So, my job takes time and is not easy, as some people may think,” Marc-Andre concluded.

Cellar Master Frank Menzel comments on wines at the Cellar Master's Dinner.

  • Marc

    I would love to see pictures of the food but thank you great blog.

  • Lou

    Thanks and am glad you like it.

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