Holland America Line announced world-renowned Australian Chef Mark Best of Marque restaurant as the newest member of the line’s esteemed Culinary Council.
Celebrated as one of the most innovative chefs in the world today, Best was welcomed to the group at an event in Sydney, Australia, on ms Amsterdam during the ship’s call there Feb. 11 on its Grand World Voyage.
Aniela Richards, Holland America Line’s marketing manager in Australia, attended the event and shared thoughts.
Excitement began to build as media guests assembled into the Culinary Arts Center where Joe Slattery, vice president of international sales and marketing, set the scene for the evening of culinary delights. Anticipation stirred for the grand reveal as Joe quizzed the audience with the accolades of the newest Culinary Council member, an Australian no doubt! Shortly after, he announced that Mark Best, owner and chef at Marque Restaurant in fashionable downtown Sydney, would join the Holland America Line advisory team and contribute his own signature dishes to the fleet’s menus. Best described his style as “always having a fresh ingredient base” – Aniela.
Best designed the exclusive dinner menu for the event attendees that was served in the Pinnacle Grill, the ship’s alternative fine dining restaurant. Guests dined on smoked eel with parmesan gnocchi and pumpkin; bass grouper with fish milk, green tomato and potato paper; mango mustard and coconut dessert; and Red Gate Farm quail with carrots and miso.
The media were swiftly escorted into the Pinnacle Grill where they awaited their first course of intricately prepared smoked eel with parmesan gnocchi and pumpkin. Each course was suitably paired with a selection of wine spanning the globe. The bass grouper with fish milk was tenderly cooked and I heard the whispers from guests questioning how he created that innovative potato paper. The Red Gate Farm quail with carrots and miso didn’t disappoint either, but the highlight of the evening was the mango, mustard and coconut dessert – my favourite dish by far. The infusion of flavour worked superbly. — Aniela
Best will join Holland America Line’s Master Chef and Council Chairman Rudi Sodamin, and renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres on the Culinary Council. Best will add a selection of his French-inspired signature dishes to the line’s menus and work with Sodamin and other council members to shape the culinary direction aboard Holland America Line’s fleet.
The Culinary Council is a collaboration of some of the greatest international chefs, and Mark brings imaginative ideas from a part of the world that is very inventive with cuisine. Mark has great energy and creativity, and our guests are really going to enjoy his dishes. – Rudi Sodamin
After an unconventional path toward a culinary career, Best found his passion for French food during an apprenticeship at the Macleay Street Bistro in Potts Point, New South Wales, Australia, in 1990. While there, he was awarded the Josephine Pignolet Award for best young chef in New South Wales.
Best enjoyed stints working overseas in some of the world’s most famous French restaurants, including Alain Passard’s three-Michelin-star L’Arpége in Paris, France, and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons in Oxford, England. He leaned on these experiences with classic French culinary preparation and matched them with his own innovation and intelligent recipe development to become the face of new Australian cuisine as he returned to Australia in 1999 and opened Marque in Sydney’s Surry Hills.
Heralded by restaurant critics from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and around the world, Marque received the U.K. Restaurant Magazine’s “Breakthrough Award” in 2010 and ranks among the San Pellegrino World Top 100 Restaurants. Marque was named 2011 restaurant of the year by the Sydney Morning Herald’s “The Good Food Guide” and won the 2012 Australian Gourmet Traveller restaurant of the year award.
For a decade, Marque has held a prestigious Three Hats — the highest of the iconic symbols awarded by “The Good Food Guide” — as well as the maximum of three stars from Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine in its annual top 100 list. Best has published a cookbook, “Marque: A Culinary Adventure,” and also has appeared on the television show “MasterChef Australia” as a guest chef and judge.
Holland America Line introduced the Culinary Council in 2010. In addition to providing guidance, advice and imparting their knowledge regarding onboard menus and culinary offerings, the Council works with the line’s Culinary Arts Center program to make suggestions and bring new learning experiences to guests.