You know when you have one of those ‘pinch me, is this a dream?’ moments?
This was one of them. We were stood in the Cookery Club, on board Britannia, a beautiful cruise ship, with views of the Mediterranean sea, while James Martin, yes THE James Martin, was hosting a dinner for us.
We sipped on Aperol fizz while he chatted to us as he was mixing, and preparing the first dish, and it was all so amazing and so surreal! Now James Martin needs absolutely no introduction and he is just charming, an amazing cook and I (along with everyone else) want him back on Saturday Kitchen.
16 of us lucky diners sat down at a magnificent chefs table, and waited eagerly for what was to come! We hadn’t been told what was on the menu beforehand so it was all very exciting. He explained what he has chosen for the evening’s dishes and made a few jokes here and there. He is so funny and so interesting to listen to!
First to arrive was Pan seared scallops with fried aubergine and miso caramel. This was utterly divine and even the lady sat next to me who didn’t like seafood absolutely adored this dish.
Next up was homemade Kimchi with shrimps, lime, seaweed and fresh tuna loin. I snuck back into the kitchen area, where James as assembling all the dishes and it was such a pleasure to watch the dedication and attention to detail he had with every dish.
Now that Kimchi was everything! It was so delicious. Even I, not the biggest tuna fan in the world, was absolutely amazed at this dish, and wolfed it down savouring every single bite.
2 savoury dishes aren’t enough when it is James Martin in charge of cooking, so we were treated to a third fabulous dish which was breast of Poulet de Bresse chicken with wild mushroom and truffle tortellini, asparagus spears and buttered spinach.
Literally everything I love on a plate and executed perfectly! Judging by everyone’s plates around the table, the sentiments were shared.
After watching the sunset, it was time for dessert, the part I had been waiting for after watching James Martin on TV making desserts all those years ago. Never would I have imagined he would be making desserts which I would be eating with him in the same room.
First was Vanilla and vodka pannacotta with raspberry sorbet, meringue shards and pistachio crumb. It was as amazing as it sounds! Like literally just wow!
My favourite though was coffee with Monkey Bread, served with grade ‘A’ maple syrup and Snickers ice cream. Firstly the Monkey Bread – I had never tried this before but it was just out of this world. It was so yummy! If anyone has a recipe please send it to me.
The snickers ice cream though. OH MY GOD! I could have eaten the entire tub! In fact I should have taken it to my cabin and dug into it while watching TV as even after the meal I was still dreaming about it.
While everyone had coffees, James joined us at the table and told us stories about his life as a chef, time on Saturday Kitchen, his love for cars, his new TV series which he is currently filming in France, and his beloved dog. This is how close he was sitting to me! I know I sound like a crazy fan but I am 🙂
Everyone had a chance to speak to him informally and ask him questions and it was so lovely chatting to him and hearing all his stories and he was making everyone laugh.
All I can say is he is very tall so if all else fails I know I have a solid career as his arm rest 😛
It was the most wonderful evening, one I will never forget and will fondly have etched in my heart forever. A big thank you to Chef Nino and his team that evening (pictured below) and of course to the PR team at P&O Cruises for this fantastic opportunity.
James Martin is regularly on board some of Britannia’s journeys where he hosts cookery classes and intimate dinners. If you are planning to cruise with P&O make sure you book these well in advance as they are extremely popular.
Our meal was complimentary but all my opinions and photos and gushing about James Martin are my own.
For more information on P&O cruises go to: http://www.pocruises.com/cruise-destinations/
For more information on James Martin go to: http://www.jamesmartinchef.co.uk