Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express’ Revamped Culinary Experiences

Ahead of next year’s 130th anniversary, Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express is upping its game as it offers a new culinary experience of the senses. Collaborating with local suppliers is a vital part of the company’s food concept, Norway’s Coastal Kitchen, and they have now partnered with two extraordinary chefs with close links to the Norwegian coast, to elevate the onboard gastronomy offerings.

The two award-winning chefs, Astrid Regine Nasslander and Halvar Ellingsen, not only share the same values as Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express, they both also hail from Northern Norway—where they live and work—which is where Hurtigruten was established in 1893. They both rely on local suppliers and organic ingredients to create exceptional gastronomic experiences, a perfect fit for the onboard Coastal Kitchen concept.

“We always look for ways to connect with the local food traditions and the food culture along the Norwegian coast. Astrid and Halvar share our food philosophy, and both have the same unique connection with Northern Norway that Hurtigruten has. With them on board, we can use their deep local knowledge to develop and enhance our menus even more and inspire the next generation of Norway’s Coastal Kitchen chefs,” said Hedda Felin, CEO of Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express, in a press statement.

Local Chefs from the Norwegian Coast

Astrid Regine Nasslander.

Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express supports fisheries, farms, butchers, and other small businesses along the Norwegian coast. The fresh farm-and-fjord-to-table flavors are an essential part of the journey, where guests will feel like a true traveler, not a tourist.

Astrid and Halvar will continue this culinary tradition and develop locally inspired, sustainably sourced, seasonal dishes served on board all seven ships in the fleet. They will train and inspire kitchen staff, and through a dedicated trainee program foster a new wave of talented Hurtigruten chefs.

Local Produce and Know-How
“What drives me is the urge to show people what we have around us, and that it’s possible to source food differently than just going to the supermarket. It’s old-fashioned common sense to get milk from a dairy farmer or meat from a moose hunter,” said Astrid Nasslander.

Nasslander lives on the small island of Steigen opposite Lofoten in Northern Norway. This is the area where the 30-year-old award-winning freelance chef and small-scale sustainable meat producer sources all the ingredients she needs or wants.

“Hurtigruten and I share the same food philosophy. The Coastal Express is in many ways the true essence of Norway, and the food served on board represents the places where the ships sail,” she continues.

Highlighting Local Ingredients
Halvar Ellingsen, a former member of Norway’s national cooking team, is now head chef at the restaurant Kvitnes in Vesteralen. After 10 years of living and cooking in Norway’s capital Oslo, Halvar decided to move back home to his family’s farm “to get in touch with the ingredients again.”

“I wanted to prove what short-traveled, sustainable food really is in practice,” said Ellingsen, in press materials.

Kvitnes is virtually self-sufficient in vegetables, meat, herbs, and berries, sourcing almost all its ingredients from the nearby surroundings.

Halvar Ellingsen.

“As a young boy, I would hear the whistle of The Norwegian Coastal Express ships every day. It was a natural part of growing up on the coast. Even now, we have goods delivered to our restaurant from the ships every week,” Ellingsen added.

“I’m really looking forward to giving guests on the Norwegian Coastal Express food, which both tastes great and highlights the ingredients of the areas they travel to.”

Astrid Nasslander’s and Halvar Ellingsen’s summer season menus will be available on board the Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express fleet in April and will change with the different seasons. The line’s Culinary Ambassadors will develop six dishes per season for the fine dining restaurant, one menu per year in the main restaurant, and two dishes for the bistro. They will also participate in workshops with the kitchen staff. In addition, Nasslander will deliver products to the ships, among them her famous moose sausages.

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New Culinary Experience at Paradisus by Melia—The Epicure

Paradisus by Melia announced a new dining guest experience, The Epicure.

Throughout 2022, Mexico’s top culinary minds will collaborate with the resort’s executive chefs to create an exclusive dining experience at Paradisus CancunParadisus Playa del CarmenParadisus La Perla and Paradisus Los Cabos. The Epicure will be hosted at the resort’s premier restaurants, Sal Steak Cave at Paradisus Cancun, Paradisus Playa del Carmen and Paradisus La Perla and Le Petit Chef at Paradisus Los Cabos 

Starting on April 22, 2022, and taking place several times each month, the dinners will rotate between Paradisus Cancun, Paradisus Playa del Carmen, Paradisus La Perla and Paradisus Los Cabos. Featured Mexican chefs include Irving Cano of Casa 1810, Fernando Martinez Zavala of Migrant, Michelin Star Chef Vicente Torres, Sergio Camacho of popular Mexican television series El Gourmet, among six others that will rotate throughout the three resorts during the year.

Each Epicure dining experience will be curated around a one-of-a-kind culinary theme, where chefs will educate guests on various topics in the industry, as well as their specific culinary specialties, while interacting with diners prior to serving their unique dishes. Themes include Oaxacan cuisine, sustainability, rare Mexican seafood and more. The 8-course fixed menu starts at $140 pp and limited seating is available. Visitors to Mexico not staying at Paradisus are also welcomed to book The Epicure.

Guests of Paradisus’ upgraded guest experience, The Reserve, who book The Epicure will also be able to participate in a private masterclass with the guest chef. In this class, they will learn more about the chef’s culinary techniques and learn how to prepare one of the chef’s most famous dishes.

This new programming complements a variety of new guest experiences that recently debuted at Paradisus by Melia resorts in Mexico, including the debut of SUDA, a new unique holistic training program that specializes in designing innovative and exclusive wellbeing experiences

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Brightline’s New Enhancements will Delight Foodies

Brightline, the only provider of intercity rail in America, introduced its newest enhancements to the rider experience, which will delight foodies. New to the Brightline experience are its signature bar, Mary Mary; an innovative autonomous market called MRKT; and Citizens culinary market helmed by Sam Nazarian’s C3 (Creating Culinary Communities).

Named for two wives of Henry Flager, founder of Florida East Coast Railway, Mary Lily Kenan and Mary Harkness Flagler, Mary Mary is Brightline’s new sit-down bar serving all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner. MRKT, the first fully-autonomous market in South Florida, makes picking up snacks and other conveniences easier. Mary Mary and MRKT will serve riders at all three Brightline stations—Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach—starting when service resumes on November 8. The launch of these food and beverage concepts follow Brightline’s unveiling of Brightline+, a new door-to-door service powered by its app and supported by a fleet of Brightline branded vehicles.

Mary Mary’s beverage menu includes a selection of craft cocktails, a selection of local and imported beer, wine by the glass and bottle provided by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, as well as various hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages, including coffee, juices, teas and Pepsi beverages. The food offerings at Mary Mary include bakery items, handheld sandwiches, empanadas from Sergio’s Restaurant, and more including an assortment of appetizers, flatbreads, salads and sweet treats. Food at Mary Mary will soon be available for pre-order via the Brightline app for to-go pickup at the counter. Mary Mary is located after each train station’s check-in safety and security area.

Brightline partnered with local food vendors and breweries as part of its mission to support local, small businesses. The list of local partners includes Lavazza Coffee, Cerveceria la Tropical, Biscayne Bay Brewing, Concrete Beach Brewing, Deliver Lean, Holistik Granola Bags, Protano’s Bakery and Joy Wallace.

“At Brightline, it is our priority to provide our travelers a complete hospitality experience from the moment they open our app to the moment they reach their final destination,” said Patrick Goddard, president at Brightline.

Brightline is also debuting the first fully-autonomous market in Florida which will be located at its three open South Florida stations. MRKT is Brightline’s new checkout-free retail market powered by Zippin’, a checkout-free platform for frictionless shopping and autonomous retail. This new seamless shopping experience enables guests to simply insert their credit card to access and depart with their favorite items charged automatically to their payment method of choice as shoppers exit. MRKT will offer travelers a large selection of Brightline swag, healthy snacks and prepared foods, beverages, small electronics such as chargers and headphones, and toiletries. This touchless environment is in-line with the station’s COVID safety and sanitation enhancements.

“MRKT brings autonomous shopping technology to Florida for the first time, continuing to show Brightline’s commitment to the integration of technology and to bringing a seamless and completely mobile travel experience to our guests,” said Goddard.

Later this year, Brightline will be rolling out its mobile ordering options where travelers will have access to a selection of food and beverage options via a seat designated QR code menu. While inside the station, each seat within the lounge area will be paired with a unique QR code menu where guests can place food orders to be delivered directly to their location. Within the Brightline trains, QR codes will be placed at each seat for onboard mobile ordering.

Brightline will be offering a new Premium service that will be offered onboard, previously known as Select, and will be a first-class experience with added amenities. This is the same elevated first-class service that was offered before and includes cold refreshment towels, individual sanitation wipes, an onboard snack basket, complimentary alcoholic beverages at the Premium lounge and complimentary alcoholic beverages per segment on board. This Premium service will also include morning and evening in-station food snacks and small bites, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, and a reduced priced menu for purchases. All our trains will also offer a Smart class selection, a comfortable business-class option with an array of food and beverages available for purchase. Additional features guests will have access to while riding with Brighltine include: enhanced ADA accessibility, bike and carry-on storage, checked luggage options, pet friendly travel options, free charging points and free, high-speed Wi-Fi for the duration of the ride and while at the stations.

Opening on Nov. 8 is Citizens Miami, the new 26,000 sq. ft., 16-stall food hall atMiamiCentral operated by C3 (Creating Culinary Communities). C3’s popular culinary brands, including EllaMia, Umami Burger, Sam’s Crispy Chicken, Krispy Rice, El Pollo Verde, Cicci di Carne, Sa’Moto and Cindy Lou’s Cookies, will occupy 11 of the 16 food vendor kiosks with redesigned spaces. With plans for expansion, C3 restaurant brands featured in the culinary market feature menu’s from celebrity chef partners Dani Garcia, Katsuya Uechi. “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto, Alvin Cailan and Dario Cecchini. Several brands in the original food hall footprint will remain, including Rosetta Bakery, Patagonia, KUENKO, and Art de Vivre.

For more information, visit

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New Gourmet Walking Food Tour at Resorts World Las Vegas

Lip Smacking Foodie Tours is now offering a new walking food tour at Resorts World Las Vegas.

The 2.5-hour primetime evening tour takes guests to three restaurants in one smooth, convenient outing at the expansive upscale property that opened this summer.

Guests of Lip Smacking Foodie Tours never have to hassle with waits for tables at the restaurants. Instead, they are seated immediately with VIP service to enjoy a carefully curated menu of three to four signature dishes at each establishment, including dessert at the final stop.

Available nightly, the walking food tour can accommodate individuals, as well as private groups of up to 100 guests. The tour includes stops at three restaurants, with the exact lineup dependent upon the particular night of the week. All of the restaurants are located an easy stroll from one another:

  • Fuhu: This high-energy, contemporary Asian restaurant serves up vibe dining that takes influence from a range of Asian regions, as well as the use of a host of luxury ingredients.
  • ¡VIVA!: Created in collaboration with Esquire Magazine’s “Chef of the Year,” ¡VIVA! celebrates Chef Ray Garcia’s culinary perspective and fresh take on Latin cooking. The menu highlights the bright and bold flavors synonymous with Mexican food, and spotlights regional dishes and seasonal ingredients designed as small plates, appetizers and shareable entrees.
  • Kusa Nori: This lively, modern Japanese bistro is complete with a sushi bar and teppanyaki grills, serving classic and innovative dishes from Japan including yakitori and teppanyaki creations, plus an extensive selection of sake.
  • Carversteak: Opening in December, this 13,500-sq.-ft. upscale steakhouse spotlights luxury ingredients, including premium beef sourced from around the world. At the helm is Chef Daniel Ontiveros, formerly of Michelin three-starred Joel Robuchon Restaurant, Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, Michael Mina’s Nobhill Tavern and Scotch 80 Prime.

A professional tour guide leads the tour, providing facts and lore about the sights along the way. Price is $199 pp, inclusive of gratuities. A $60 optional beverage package is available that provides one pre-selected signature cocktail at each venue. For the ultimate experience, a $100 pp Maverick Helicopter ride over the lights of the city at night makes for a memorable optional add-on.

For more information, visit

Don’t miss Las Vegas’ new attraction.

Cultural & Foodie Experiences in Cartagena

The historic Sofitel Legend Santa Clara in the old walled city of Cartagena opened a sister property on the island of Baru, the LEED-certified Sofitel Barú Calablanca Beach Resort in December 2021. Due to this LEED-certified hotel opening, guests can experience the best of Cartagena, combining a mix of both island and culture. Now, getting to Baru is more seamless with the hotel’s yacht transfer that takes guests to the island in just 40 minutes.

Now your clients can experience Cartagena with two travel packages including.

  • Caribbean Flavors of Colombia: Cartagena & Barú (two nights in the old city; two nights in the islands) priced at $2,480.00. Guests who book this package will enjoy dinners at onsite restaurants, take part in a cocktail-making class, enjoy a rum tasting experience, as well as a coffee tasting experience, and a cooking class with Chef Guaus, plus go on a food tour. They’ll also spend two nights at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara and two nights at Sofitel Baru Calablanca Beach Resort in a superior single or double room. This offer is valid through Oct.31, 2022.
  • The Alchemy of Colombia: Cartagena & Barú (two nights in the old city; two nights in the islands) priced at $ 2,200.00. This package includes dinner for two at Restaurant 1621 and at Restaurant Humo. Guests will spend two nights at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara and two nights at Sofitel Baru Calablanca Beach Resort in a superior single or double room. This offer is valid through Oct. 31, 2022.

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