The life of a chef is a constant juggling act of time and space; gas flames, boiling pots and sharp knives; calling ‘Service!’ at a crowded pass while a well-oiled kitchen team expertly balance sauces and garnishes for hungry diners awaiting the next course. So imagine transporting that to a moving ship, out at sea with unfamiliar equipment, staff and limited access to resources? Great British Chef Josh Eggleton is attempting to do just that with the 2016 Jet Set Sail for Celebrity Cruises, bringing his skill and culinary flair to the floating kitchen of the Equinox, a luxury cruiseliner taking guests on a seven-day Mediterranean tour.
Although Josh’s career has spanned Michelin-starred kitchens across Europe and America, his own gastropub, The Pony and Trap in Chew Magna, Bristol (which he runs with his sister, Holly), is very much where he calls home. The pub has held a Michelin star since 2011, and helped the chef hone his talent for ‘field to fork’ cooking, championing the freshest local produce and suppliers – something he’ll be mostly cut off from while at sea. Josh admits, ‘we do restrict ourselves to using British produce at The Pony and Trap as it’s better for the environment, but I love Mediterranean produce and I'm looking forward to using it while on board.’
Josh is being fairly ambitious with his plans for guests on the cruise, running a host of gastronomic events while the Equinox sails from Barcelona to Athens, stopping in Provence, Genoa, Rome and Crete along the way. Taking over one of the ship’s speciality restaurants, Murano, to serve up a six-course tasting menu will be one challenge, and Josh is most worried about the set up: ‘Working in a confined space, in a small kitchen… and hopefully no sea sickness!’