Head Chef of New York’s Aquavit to Join Explora I for Limited Takeover

At an event Tuesday night at New York City’s Aquavit—a two Michelin-starred contemporary Scandinavian restaurant—Explora Journeys announced that will be hosting its head chef Emma Bengtsson onboard Explora I, starting with the October 3, 2023, sailing from Quebec to New York.

Chef Bengtsson will be taking the helm at Explora I’s Anthology, which has a rotating selection of acclaimed head chefs running the show (currently, it’s Chef Mauro Uliassi, operator of the three Michelin-starred Uliassi in Senigallia, Italy). Guests will be able to try her seven-course tasting menu from October through March. Expect dishes that utilize smoking, pickling, fermenting and curing—all of which are staples among menu items at Aquavit. Bengtsson will personally attend the nine-night sailing from Quebec and will then alternate her time onboard and in New York at the restaurant.

During the event, we were able to sample some dishes that guests will find at Anthology. These included a chilled heirloom tomato soup with yogurt, sourdough and cucumber; Wagyu strip loin with gem lettice, rosehip, potato terrine and bordelaise; and the restaurant’s signature dessert, the Arctic Bird’s Nest, a dish as Instagrammable as it is tasty. It has a goat cheese parfait, sea buckthorn and blueberry. Canapés included gravlax with hovmästar sauce and mustard seeds; a yellowtail crudo with an herb sauce; and venison tartare with lingonberries.

Aquavit signature dish Artic Brid's Nest

Pretty cool: Bengtsson is the first female Swedish chef and the second female chef based in the U.S. to be awarded two Michelin stars. Her style of simplicity and sustainability aligns with, according to Explora Journeys, its ethos of sustainable, locally sourced dining. In all, the partnership has been one in the making for over a year. Prior to her first sailing, Chef Bengtsson has been working with the team aboard Explora I to teach them about her cooking style and dishes.

Note: Dining at Anthology is not part of the inclusive culinary offering. Explora I will spend the winter and spring in North America and the Caribbean Sea before returning to Mediterranean for summer 2024.

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