One of America’s most generous, personable and ground-breaking chefs will step into the honored role as godmother to Oceania Cruises ’ newest ship, Riviera. Chef Cat Cora will name the ship in Barcelona at a lavish, invitation-only christening ceremony on May 11, which will culminate with a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of champagne, custom-made by Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, commemoratively breaking against the hull of the 1,250-guest ship.
Poised to take its place as another “game-changer” for the upper-premium segment, much like its sister ship Marina which debuted in February 2011, Riviera is the second new ship launched by Oceania Cruises in under 18 months. Designed for epicureans, Riviera features 10 dining venues – six of which are gourmet restaurants – plus a Bon Appétit Culinary Center for hands-on learning and La Reserve by Wine Spectator, a professional facility for wine tastings and pairing dinners.
“Cat Cora’s passion for fine cuisine and her focus on the dining experience captures the essence of what we do every day,” stated Kunal S. Kamlani, Oceania Cruises’ president. “We are all excited to have her christen our newest ship and are proud to welcome her to the Oceania Cruises family.”
Cora made television history as the first and only female Iron Chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and this spring, steps into a role as co-host of Bravo’s new television show “Around the World in 80 Plates” with Curtis Stone debuting in May. The show follows 12 chefs competing in a culinary race across 10 countries in 44 days. Many of the countries featured in the show include destinations her new ship, Riviera, will visit during its inaugural season.
In addition to her television credits, Chef Cora operates four restaurants: Kouzzina at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort in Orlando, CCQ, in partnership with Macy’s in Costa Mesa, California and Cat Cora’s Kitchen in San Francisco and Houston. A third Cat Cora’s Kitchen location will be opening at the Salt Lake City International Airport later this month. In addition to being a restaurateur, she also has her own branded olive oils, vinegars, sauces, tapenades and cookware, a collection of wines and is the author of three best-selling cook books and a children’s book.
“It’s an honor to have been asked to serve as the godmother for the beautiful Riviera,” said Cora. “Oceania Cruises has done an incredible job of developing ships custom-designed for food lovers, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it all.”
Oceania Cruises chose Chef Cora as godmother to Riviera, a role revered for its historic and symbolic value, also in recognition of her many philanthropic efforts to support emergency, educational and hunger-related causes. Cora is the president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, which she started in response to the devastating Tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2004. The organization is dedicated to reducing hunger worldwide by supporting humanitarian relief and promoting nutrition education.
After the Christening Cruise concludes in Venice, Riviera sets sail on May 16 on her maiden voyage, a 10-day cruise that includes an overnight in Venice before visiting Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Monemvasia, Crete, Santorini, Kusadasi (gateway to Ephesus), Delos, Mykonos and Athens.