Celebrity chef Shivi Ramoutar has been named Arvia’s Local Food Hero, where she’ll be introducing the vibrancy of Caribbean cuisine to the ocean waves. We caught up with her to find out more about what guests can expect from her food, which will feature across Taste 360 and The Beach House when the brand new P&O Cruises ship launches this December.
As Arvia’s Local Food Hero, what do you hope to bring to onboard dining that P&O Cruises guests may not have experienced before?
I really can’t wait to bring authentic Caribbean limin’ to the P&O Cruises guests. This is a local phenomenon of just letting time pass you by, relaxing with friends old and new, always with some delicious tropical food in front of you to share and a cold drink in your hand. I think given the stunning setting on Arvia, alongside my Caribbean dishes, this will come naturally to our lovely guests.
You have lived in Trinidad, New York and the UK. How have these places influenced your style of cooking and love of food?
The contrast of these stunning places – the colour and chilled vibes of Trinidad, the electricity of New York, and the buzz and multiculturalism of London – has meant that my style of cooking is eclectic, taking inspiration from all three locations. It is full of colour and represents fusion that comes together harmoniously. Think familiar flavours, or ingredients that are woven together in a way that reflects traditional Caribbean dishes. I’m looking forward to bringing that to P&O Cruises guests
You’ve been hailed as The Queen of Contemporary Caribbean Cooking – how does cuisine vary across the region? Which islands would you say have the most distinctive flavours?
There are, as you can imagine, many similarities across the islands when it comes to food, with each island having their subtle twist on each dish. However, it is no secret that each island has its selection of signature dishes, for example, you would know jerk hails from Jamaica, and curry chicken roti from Trinidad. In that respect, no one island takes the crown for the most distinctive flavours, rather the distinctive flavours are shared across the region due to the most colourful history that brought the different races and backgrounds of people into it. This has created a unique fusion of flavours, and each island has a few specialities that showcase this.
For someone who may not have tried Caribbean food before, which dishes would you recommend they try first?
Ah this is so difficult! I would naturally say try it all. Go across the breadth and try dishes with different flavour profiles, a proper Trini-style chicken curry with roti (which is from an Indian background), a callaloo (originating from West Africa), jerk pork with rice and peas (a mixture of West African and Indigenous), and a salt cod dish, like buljol (Portuguese inspired!).
Which of Arvia’s features are you most excited to explore?
I cannot believe that Arvia will feature an escape room, so I am especially excited about that, along with the Altitude High Ropes experience. When I have finished with the exhilarating activities, I hear there is going to be an incredible spa to unwind in. I just can’t wait to take it in all the splendour.
Where is on your travel bucket list that you’ve not yet had chance to visit?
Goodness, I have so much of the world still to explore, Mexico is high on the list, as is a lot of South America. Just need to make the time for this!
Take a look at Arvia Caribbean cruises by clicking here.