On-board every Emerald Waterways river cruise, our guests are treated to exceptional meals every day of the journey – and we are always looking for new ways intrigue and amaze our guests’ taste buds. So, we were delighted to welcome one of France’s top chefs, Fabien Morreale, on-board Emerald Liberté to cook a special meal for our guests.
Morreale treated diners to some of his favorite and most famous dishes during a three-course meal – set in the glorious surroundings of Emerald Liberté sat on the beautiful River Rhône.
At just 34 years of age, Chef Fabien Morreale’s culinary credentials make him highly sought after in the food world. Dedicated to his craft, Morreale’s commitment to cooking started early – even at 16, he was working 15 hours a day, inspired by his grandmother’s family-sized meals for the 15-strong Morreale family.
A spell working in Australia’s Mu Shu restaurant introduced him to Asian ingredients, where its bold, exotic flavors still hold a place in Morreale’s cooking to this day. After returning home to France, he opened his first restaurant at age 24, later adding a second eatery and a bakery to his repertoire.
Captivated by the local foods his native Martigues offers, Morreale’s true passion lies in the simple, fresh flavors of root vegetables like squash, asparagus and haricot verts. To this end, Morreale has a contract with a local farmer that affords him the chance to cook with the region’s best produce. A supply of over 50 herbs – 10 kinds of mint and 15 varieties of thyme alone – transform his dishes into meals of true wonder. Furthermore, the chef’s intercontinental background means even Asian herbs take on the classic flavor of Provençal varieties as well.
Perhaps Morreale’s finest hour was his appearance on Top Chef France, where the fast-paced environment, quick-thinking atmosphere and knockout format sharpened his skills immeasurably. He believes his time on the show helped to progress his career by a decade, solely from name recognition alone.
The chef’s storied career means we were delighted to welcome him on-board Emerald Liberté. It should perhaps come as no surprise that his menu is blessed with a deeply local flavor, made up of three completely Provençal dishes.
First up, an appetiser of local vegetables, goat’s cheese and locally-produced olive oil demonstrates the chef’s dedication to bringing regional produce, full of character and flavor, to the forefront of the dining experience. Morreale believes the link between farmer and consumer is of utmost importance, favoring links with cooperatives in order to showcase a region’s best flavours.
Our menu continues with its main course of Sisteron lamb served with chickpeas and candied vegetables. Slow-cooked, using a traditional Provençal recipe, for eight hours, the meat is succulent and delicate, a tender delight that almost melts in the mouth.
Finally, the dessert’s deconstructed strawberry tart de Provence brings simple, bold flavors to the table, accompanied by stunning hazelnut noisettes. These dainty sweets are almost too good to eat - that is until you experience their gloriously lavish contents.
Would you like to know more about Fabien and Emerald Waterways? Travel writer Monte Mathews has plenty more info about the chef’s background and his cooking on-board Emerald Liberté here.