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An interview with Franck Garanger, Corporate Chef at Oceania Cruises

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Franck Garanger was born in Angers, located in the Loire Valley. His father owned a patisserie-boulangerie, so from a young age Franck was involved with food.

Although he loved pastry, he wanted to widen his culinary horizons and become a chef, and worked as an apprentice in the Michelin starred restaurant Le Vert D'Eau in Angers under the tutelage of French Master Chef Jean-François Piers. His two year apprenticeship was very tough but cemented his love for cooking.

It was at this time that his talent was recognised, as he reached the final of a nationwide competition for apprentice chefs. Time at several top restaurants followed, including the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco, with renowned chefs including Paul Bocuse, Alain Passard and Thierry Marx. However at the age of 22 Franck went back to school to get more generally qualified in hospitality, with the goal of becoming a head chef.

How Franck got into the world of cruising is both fascinating and hilarious. In 1994 a good friend of his from Angers - who just so happened to be nephew of Silversea's Christian Sauleau - persuaded him to apply for a job on board Silversea's brand new ship Silver Wind. The only problem was that at the time Franck didn't speak a word of English. His English speaking friend rang Silversea pretending to be Franck, and lo and behold he got the job.

Cuisine on Oceania Cruises

Once on board it quickly became apparent that his English was not up to scratch, so this skilled chef was sent to work on the egg station whilst the ship spent three weeks at sea readying itself for the arrival of guests.

Unfortunately the pastry chef on board had a family crisis just before the inaugural sailing, so the culinary team were brought together to see if anyone had the necessary skills. Franck, drawing on his experience with his father, his past training and his limited grasp of English, recognised the term 'pastry chef', and volunteered for the job. One trio of tarte tartin later, he was officially Silver Wind's pastry chef. On just his second contract, with his English dramatically improved, he was promoted to Sous Chef status, then Executive Chef in 1997, and finally, in 1999, Corporate Chef.

Oceania Cruises - Toscana - Cheesecake

Success at Silversea was recognised by Oceania, and Franck has overseen the cuisine across the Oceania fleet ever since the company's inception in 2003. Franck typically spends 50 percent of his time onboard, where he oversees each and every restaurant ensuring the very highest standards.

During my time aboard he was very visible, speaking with guests, striding from restaurant to restaurant and interacting with his skilled team of onboard chefs. When not aboard he lives in Spain guiding Oceania's culinary direction. Oceania's new ship Marina has given him the opportunity to introduce new cuisine to the already stunning repertoire on board. Red Ginger has seen the introduction of one of his favourite cuisines with a fusion of Thai, Malaysian and Japanese food and it is a complete triumph, becoming the most popular venue on board.

Oceania Cruises - Red Ginger sharing platter

From a cuisine perspective he sees both Crystal and Regent as the competition, but feels nobody does it better than Oceania. His inspiration is classic French chef Paul Bocuse, who during his career not only trained a host of great chefs, but has achieved the holy grail of a three Michelin star restaurant.

Favourite ports of call include the Seychelles, as it was on his very first cruise itinerary, and anywhere in Brazil. As a very keen runner (he recently completed a 100 mile race through the Alps....in under 40 hours) he likes the Mediterranean, as he knows the ports well and can run around the destinations visited - essential if you are surrounded by the quality and quantity of food found on Oceania!

Find out more: Request an Oceania Cruises brochure

Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, SeaDream, Ponant, AmaWaterways and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

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