Getting ready to set sail again!

A lot has happened since Focolare, and like they say, one door closes and another one opens. Most recently, I was hired as the Italian chef for the very prestigious Oceania Cruise Lines.

I spent the summer of 2009 deployed in the Mediterranean. It was a fantastic cruise with the bulk of the time being spent in Italy, France, Spain and the Greek Islands! We also toured Istanbul, Turkey, Israel and Egypt.

The culinary program of Oceania Cruise Lines is directed under the watchful eye of Master Chef Jacques Pepin!

I’ve been watching Mr. Pepin’s PBS cooking programs since I was a small child and was honored and excited to have the chance to personally cook for Chef Jacques and his entourage in the Toscana restaurant that I headed for Oceania last summer.

Chef Franco Lania with Jacques Pepin

I had the pleasure to meet and converse with Chef Jacques which for me was a real thrill!

Jacques recently announced the launch of his new restaurant that will be onboard the new Oceania cruise ship “Marina” which is set to launch in  early 2011.

The announcement was made on the rooftop terrace of Lou Hammond Associates public relations company by Pepin himself along with Oceania Cruises’ president Bob Binder and founder Frank Del Rio. Oceania Cruises recently ranked third in the large cruise line category in Travel + Leisure’s 2009 World’s Best Awards.

“I’ve been cooking 18 years in many very high-profile places…where movie stars, politicians, (for me two Presidents.Reagan and Clinton) and super models are somehow always present. But as a chef, to cook for another chef or group of chefs that you admire and look up to is one of the most gratifying professional accomplishments of all!

I am very proud to be the first American – well I’m Italian-American, ever hired by Oceania to fill the position of Italian chef! During my first contract I surpassed the company’s expectations.

Chef Franco, Oceania Cruise Lines

I attribute some of this success to my personal experience, extensive travel and my deep devotion to the culinary field. Oceania customers are surveyed extensively for the quality of service they receive and I was favorably reviewed by guests from all around the world with some guests noting, “He has a captivating personality!” Very cool, because I love people!

Oceania cruise line has awarded me with a second contract, and I’ll be deployed in the next few weeks on the Baltic/Scandinavian route as Italian chef. Once again, I’m jazzed to have this opportunity! I’m ready to rock!

Hope to see you on your next cruise! I’d love to cook for you! For more information about  Oceania or to book passage, visit Oceania

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  • Nona Shinagawa Myers

    Good for you!! Love to be on board your future sailings.