I was on board Holland America’s “ms Amsterdam” recently, which was in Sydney for an overnight stay as part of her world cruise. A special announcement was to be made of who was going to be Holland America Line’s first Australian Culinary Council Member.
Over cocktails, I tasted some of the best canapés I have had the pleasure to eat, absolutely delicious. Beetroot macaroons filled with fois gras were a stand out.
In the Culinary Arts Centre, Joe Slattery, Holland America Line’s Vice President of International Sales & Marketing, kept us in suspense before raising the curtain to reveal Chef Mark Best of Marque Restaurant, who he announced was to be the first Australian member of Holland America’s Culinary Council.
Following the announcement, dinner was served in the Pinnacle Grill where we enjoyed a four course menu with matching wines, prepared by Mark. The first course of Smoked Eel was absolutely wonderful and had me looking forward to the Bass Grouper with Potato Paper. I was amazed to see that potato could be served as a flat transparent sheet – sensational. The next course of Red Gate Farm Quail with Carrots and Miso showed off Mark’s blend of unconventional flavours. Dessert of Mango Mustard and Coconut had everyone talking about this unique combination of ingredients, which was actually very enjoyable.
At age 25, Mark Best changed careers as an electrician in the Western Australian goldfields to commence his culinary career with an apprenticeship at Sydney’s Macleay Street Bistro. After opening his own restaurant in 1995 he decided to further his study of French cuisine, working at several restaurants in Paris and at Raymond Blanc’s UK restaurant. After returning to Australia, Mark opened “Marque” in 1999. Among his many awards are Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.
Cruisers world wide are the beneficiaries now Chef Mark Best has joined Holland America Line’s Culinary Council.
Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond