Our new partners for 2024 – Aqua Expeditions

Aqua Expeditions (Logo)Aqua Expeditions will be hosting exclusive chef-hosted departures in 2024 in the Peruvian Amazon and East Indonesia.

Renowned chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino will present his extraordinary Peruvian cuisine on board Aqua Nera while chef Benjamin Cross will showcase his East Indonesian dining experience – inspired by the Spice Route – on board Aqua Blu.

Explore more Chef Pedro and Chef Ben

Aboard the Aqua Nera, expect sumptuous and refined Peruvian cuisine orchestrated with native Amazonian ingredients. Curated by award-winning chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, the dining experience adds a multi-sensory dimension to your journey unlike any other cruise.

Pedro Miguel Schiaffino was the chef and previous owner of Malabar and ámaZ, which used to be two of Lima’s most cutting edge and innovative restaurants prior to their closure. He is also part of the Executive Committee of the CIA’s Latin Cuisines Advisory Council and founder of the catering company Schiaffino Gastronomika.

2007 marked the beginning of a longstanding partnership between Pedro Miguel Schiaffino and Aqua Expeditions as he joined the team as Consulting Chef on the Aria Amazon. Today he’s responsible for the culinary experiences on three of our vessels: Aqua Nera, Aria Amazon, and Aqua Mare.

Schiaffino’s cuisine fuses Peruvian ingredients with traditional techniques, and his ability to transform unusual ingredients into authentic delectable dishes is echoed in both Aria Amazon and Aqua Nera’s culinary offerings. Schiaffino focuses on using fresh and locally sourced produce, with 70 percent of all ingredients used onboard sourced within Amazonia.

Aqua Expeditions’ partnership with Pedro Miguel Schiaffino transcends the unique culinary proposal offered onboard our expeditions, with meaningful collaborations for conservations projects, such as the protection and rehabilitation of native paiche fish population, as well as our work with local river communities to foster sustainably sourced produce in the Amazon taking center stage.

Aboard the Aqua Blu, each meal is an adventure of its own. With remarkable cuisine curated by renowned chef Benjamin Cross, the dining experience promises inspiring food, drawing inspiration from Indonesian, European and Mediterranean palettes. For our expeditions, Chef Cross has crafted over 160 recipes, incorporating a variety of Indonesia’s spices and flavors, and allowing diners to go on a culinary journey of the region.

Hailing from a small village from Australia, Chef Benjamin Cross began his career over 20 years ago at the award-winning Byron Bay boutique hotel and restaurant Rae’s on Watego’s. He honed his craft under some of the top icons of Australian cuisine: Janni Kyritsis from the former MG Garage, and Neil Perry as part of the re-opening team of XO. Later, Cross went on to become a Sous Chef for Rockpool in Sydney.

Over the years, Cross has also made his presence felt in the USA and Spain at Tom Colicchio’s Craft in New York, Seamus Mullen’s Tertullia New York, and Santi Santamaria’s three-Michelin star restaurant Can Fabes in Sant Celoni, Catalonia.

In May 2008, Chef Cross relocated to Bali after a spontaneous holiday on the way to Barcelona left him mesmerized by the people, culture, and food. He first brought his brand of magic to the legendary Ku de Ta, then set up Mejekawi, a fine-dining concept under the same brand in 2013. Five years later, Ben ventured out on his own to open Hank’s Pizza & Liquor, Fishbone Local, Mason, and The Back Room with BHG (Brett Hospitality Group) as Co-Owner and Executive Chef.

His restaurants frequently top the list of the island’s best restaurants, which has become considered a food mecca. Cross attributes this to his food ethos, which is unpretentious and simple, based on top-quality produce and the ability to let the ingredients speak for themselves.

Aboard the Aqua Blu, Chef Cross will present highlights including the 48-hour beef short rib rendang, Balinese suckling pig with bumbu Bali (Balinese spices), organic Javanese prawns marinated in fragrant oil and lime, and his personal favorite, freshly handline-caught fish grilled with Balinese sambal.

Chef Cross has also curated an exclusive vegan menu for Aqua Blu, ensuring that everyone can partake in Aqua’s world-class dining experience. The menu is purely founded on natural ingredients, steering clear of synthetic and processed vegan alternatives.

(Our new partners for 2024 – Aqua Expeditions)