Meet the culinary experts on board Explora Journeys

Focused on healthy, delicious food from local, sustainable sources, Explora Journeys has a mission to ensure its guests can immerse themselves in the ‘Ocean State of Mind’, and with Franck Garanger’s as the cruise line’s Head of Culinary, the culinary experience is set to be no exception.

From a young age, Franck Garanger discovered his passion for cooking and began his culinary career. Born in Angers, in the Loire Valley, he grew up helping his father in his patisserie-boulangerie. Despite a love of pastry, at 16 Franck decided it was time to broaden his culinary horizons. At the Michelin Star restaurant, Le Vert D’Eau in Angers he worked as an apprentice for two years under the French Master Chef Jean-François Piers. It was there, that his culinary mastery already began to shine, becoming nominated as one of the best ten young chefs of his generation, an achievement that only showed a glimpse of what was to come. Franck has also worked at numerous world-renowned locations alongside some of the most notable culinary names including Paul Bocuse, Alain Passard and Thierry Marx. 

Combining his love for cooking and his desire to explore the world, Franck became Chef de Partie onboard Silversea Cruises, where he was quickly promoted to Executive Chef onboard and then to Fleet Corporate Chef, a position he held for 4 years before he took a position as Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises.

Now Head of Culinary at Explora Journeys, Franck was lured by “a level of European Luxury that offers a different perspective in the world of luxury ocean experiences.” For Franck, joining Explora Journeys was both a new challenge and opportunity to start from a “blank canvas and show the world what food at sea really can be.” 

Franck has a clear mission for his role with Explora Journeys, “to earn recognition for serving the best food at sea and building a story, through travelling the world and tasting it”. Franck understands that culinary preferences are continuously evolving, from the rise in wellness, to the aspiration to eat more sustainably, as well as the renewed desire to explore bolder flavour profiles and discover cuisines that people have not tried before.

These are trends that are more prevalent than ever and have a direct impact on culinary dining experiences both out at sea and on land. Franck believes that matching menus to meet the mood of the guests onboard as well as incorporating an array of plant-based and vegetarian dishes, an aspect of cooking he specialises in personally, will be paramount to bringing personality, sophistication and integrity to dining at sea.

Explora Journeys’ culinary experts

During his career Franck Garanger has raised the bar for the industry, moving it forward at a pace that promises to transform fine dining in general, but particularly at sea. Personally responsible for sourcing and hand-selecting the finest ingredients from all over the planet, he and his team combine them to create a magical palette of flavours that reflect the regional cuisines along each journey. He is assisted by a team that’s at the top of their game.

Alban Gjoka, Senior Lead Culinary Operations helps to conceptualise exciting menus and source top-quality ingredients. Before joining Explora Journeys Alban was Head of Culinary Operations with TUI United Kingdom Cruises and prior to this he was with Oceania Cruises as Senior Executive Chef.

Jérôme Toumelin, Explora’s Corporate Executive Chef’s earned his expertise worldwide, including six years as Executive Chef at Market by Jean-Georges in Paris and at Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises.

Christophe Sapy, Corporate Executive Pastry Chef, has a formidable reputation for turning desserts into works of art. Christophe was Executive Pastry Chef for three years at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and previously as Executive Pastry Chef for 3 years at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to this Christophe spent ten years in the Middle East with luxury properties at Le Meridien Dubai, Shangri La Qariat al Berry Abu Dhabi as well as being part of the opening of St Regis Saadiyat Island.

Frederic Godineau, Senior Executive Chef, comes to EXPLORA I with 19 years of experience in hospitality. Frederic was formerly with Oceania Cruises where he spent six and a half years. Most recently spending five years as Senior Executive Chef, having been promoted from Executive Chef. Prior to joining Oceania Cruises, Frederic worked at Le Crillon and The Four Seasons, George V and other prestigious hotels in France.

Also read: Oceania Cruises launches new rum and whisky program

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