This Cruise Line Offers the Chance to Cook With Italy’s Most Famous Piazzolo

Silversea Cruises offers never-before-seen access to exclusive food experiences, Michelin-starred restaurants, and more, through its culinary S.A.L.T. program.

<p>Courtesy of S.A.L.T. Silversea Cruises</p>

Courtesy of S.A.L.T. Silversea Cruises

In the summer of 2022, a small group of eight food-obsessed travelers had the incredibly good fortune to spend an afternoon cooking and eating with Italy’s most famous pizzaiolo, Franco Pepe. The world-renowned chef — featured in the Netflix series Chef’s Table: Pizza — grants a private audience like this at his restaurant outside Naples only a couple of times a year, and the experience is only accessible via Silversea ship. It is one example of the company’s unique approach to culinary travel, curating special excursions that put the cruise line in a league of its own.

“S.A.L.T. [an acronym for Sea And Land Taste] offers the things you can’t do by making a reservation on your own; it gives you access to the stuff you can’t plan for,” says the director of the program, Adam Sachs. “And not all of them are bucket-list luxury items — take the casual authenticity of a family showing you how to make a dish you won’t find anywhere else in the world,” he adds.

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S.A.L.T. achieves its next-level experiences by “working with experts who tap into their experts,” says Sachs, a travel writer and former food magazine editor who leans on his relationships with chefs, authors, and wine pros to curate the program. Those experts include the likes of cookbook author and Italian food writer Laura Lazzaroni (who arranged the pizza expedition); historian Jonathan Lerner, who organizes rare sherry tastings in Cádiz, Spain; and American-Caribbean chef and author Rawlston Williams, currently working on The Caribbean Cookbook for Phaidon’s culinary bible collection, who will be joining the ship late in 2023 and again in 2024 for an excursion to Bequia. Meanwhile, over in South America, James Beard Award–nominated food writer Nicholas Gill, who co-authored The Latin American Cookbook with Virgilio Martinez, is currently scoping out exclusive experiences in Peru and Chile for the 2024 season.

The program comes to life on two ships, the Silver Dawn and the Silver Moon, through immersive shore excursions as well as an onboard lab, lectures, a restaurant, and a bar. It will make its debut on the new ship Silver Nova this August; one of its excursions will include a culinary tour with the chefs, bakers, and gardeners of the three-Michelin-star Mirazur restaurant in France, culminating with a dinner in the private tasting kitchen of Mauro Colagreco, one of the world’s most celebrated chefs.

It’s yet another example of how the company is securing never-before-seen access to thoughtful culinary experiences for its guests. As Sachs points out: “Sure, a guest can get a reservation at this restaurant, but only Silversea gets you access to the chef himself and a private tour.”

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