Royal Caribbean dining brings the taste of the world on board—and recently that taste was put to the test on Food Network’s Chopped Open Your Basket which pitted three of the line’s chefs in a friendly competition aboard Anthem of The Seas. Royal Caribbean’s vice president of food and beverage, John Suley, served as a guest judge of the contest.
Suley, is an accomplished chef in his own right having worked alongside chef Daniel Boulud and been executive chef at Alfred Portale’s Gotham Bar and Grill and Gotham Steak formerly at the Fontainebleau Miami. He encourages his chefs to bring not only their skills, but also the passion they have for their food traditions to creating the global cuisine across the fleet. “We have amazing talent on all of our ships, from so many different nationalities,” says Suley. “Each chef possesses a lot of things they bring to the table.”
Suley selected three talented members of his culinary team to bring their skills and creativity to the mystery box competition showcasing the personal flair and flavor of the international crew.
Chef Wenross Skyers’ love for cooking began when he was a child in Jamaica, helping his grandma prepare the fresh catch of the day. He’s spent the last four years bringing the herbs, spices and flavors of his native island into the kitchen of Royal Caribbean’s ships. He’s just one of the chefs who guarantee passengers will enjoy authentic cuisine both on land and at sea. His jerk and mofongo dish impressed Suley: “[Skyers] cooked with a passion, and he put that passion on the plate.”
At any given time, there are 70 nationalities on board, says Chef Iryna Melnykova.
“From the Philippines to Indonesia, from Germany to England and the U.S.—everybody brings something new.” A native of the Ukraine, she has been working as a chef with Royal Caribbean for a decade and continues to add new flavors to those of her Eastern European background. Suley commended her simple, seared grouper: “The star of her dish was the papaya yogurt. That was just outstanding.”
Chef John Morris grew up in a small mining town in northeast UK and became a rugby player. Sidelined with an injury, he discovered a talent for cooking and moved into the culinary world. He brings the “meat and potatoes” simplicity of English cooking onboard Royal Caribbean ships. “The UK is big into curry,” says Suley. “Jon applied that in his dish… the broth was really delicious.”
The winner’s plate isn’t the only extraordinary one onboard. Check out the 11 must-try dishes on Anthem of the Seas.