Finally! Seabourn is changing things up on the culinary front, and in a good way! The Grill by Thomas Keller is being phased out and a new-to-Seabourn concept, Solis, is being introduced.
A few weeks ago, Seabourn announced it was changing up its menu in The Restaurant with 140 new dishes. That didn’t mean much to me because simply modifying an ingredient or two makes a “new” recipe. Nothing I saw made me excited and it seemed like more of an attempt to create buzz than actually being substantively exciting. However…
Solis is a whole ‘nother thing! Master Chef Anton (Tony) Egger – one of the most creative and energetic people, no less chefs, I have ever known – has been a friend of mine for many years and is The Man/The Chef behind Solis. He was the driving force behind Earth & Ocean…from the handmade dishware, creative serving platters, and exciting culinary offerings. And, without question, I can see his hand in Solis.
Chef Tony is not alone in creating and running Solis. Chef Franck Salein will round out the impressive culinary team. Chef Franck is a truly kind and creative chef in a different way from Chef Tony. He and I have worked together on Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Journeys. He brings a definite balance in both culinary techniques and visions.
As some background, The Grill by Thomas Keller marked the beginning of Seabourn’s eight-year relationship with the three Michelin Star chef. But along with that new concept was as much controversy as there was excitement. Along with the stresses of trying to get a reservation during your cruise, were either the joy of what was clearly the best Caesar Salad and Roast Chicken (my favorite) at sea, or complaints that the portions were too large, the menu pretty much never changed (other than a nightly special…that was installed a few years ago to quiet that complaint), and the venue was far to American-centric for many international guests.
One of my voiced concerns (you know I have had a few!) was that it was enough with Thomas Keller this and Thomas Keller that (first it was TK Grill, then TK in the Colonnade for fried chicken or barbeque ribs, then pillow chocolates). I repeatedly said – as I also said with the pitching of Adam Tihany (who I personally like as well…and who my daughter worked for on the Seabourn projects): This is Seabourn Cruise Line, not the Thomas Keller/Adam Tihany Cruise Line.
Well, whether it was because a change was needed, or the contract with Thomas Keller was over, or the contract was bought out, Seabourn’s relationship with him ends in the Spring of 2024.
While I do not know if there will be any significant changes to the venue (there is no indication of any), Solis will be located where the Thomas Keller Grill is currently. The first ship to have Solis will be the Seabourn Quest this coming January. (Ironically, the Seabourn Quest was the first ship to have the TK Grill.)
Solis will be focused on Mediterranean cuisine and cocktails which by the sounds of the sample menu items, will be something like an upscale and more complex Earth & Ocean; a Seabourn favorite…and mine too!
“A beautiful assortment of vegetarian and vegan options will also be incorporated throughout the menu.”
Solis will be installed on the remaining classic ships, Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation, and Seabourn Sojourn by Spring 2024. There is no indication it will be installed on either expedition ship, Seabourn Venture or Seabourn Pursuit.