Victoria Cruises Celebrates Revamped Culinary Offerings

NEW YORK (Aug. 24, 2006) – All seven ships in the Victoria Cruises’ fleet of vessels sailing China’s fabled Yangtze River now feature new menu items conceived by acclaimed chef Walter Staib and his company Concepts By Staib, Ltd.

Victoria Cruises had hired Concepts By Staib, Ltd. to expand its menus with more Western-style specialties to further appeal to the palate of its Western clientele, and this season, the cruise company introduced new menu items on all its ships, featuring savory appetizers, salads, entrees, sauces and desserts.

In celebration of its revamped menus and culinary enhancements, Victoria Cruises welcomed Chef Bill Sederman from renowned Concepts by Staib, Ltd. on the inaugural voyage of the Victoria Anna (April 25, 2006). Chef Sederman joined the inaugural festivities to ensure that everything was running smoothly in the kitchens as well as provide any necessary re-training of the chefs on recipe preparation, cooking techniques, etc.

“I was extremely impressed with the level of professionalism and the attention to detail exhibited by Victoria Cruises’ chefs,” said Chef Sederman. “Several months back, members of the Concepts By Staib team instructed Victoria Cruises’ chefs and kitchen staff on how to prepare a variety of Western-style dishes, and we’re quite pleased that they’ve kept to the recipes and are managing their kitchens in expert fashion.”

“In particular, the Victoria Anna is the first in the company’s fleet to feature a formal dining room and an a la carte restaurant, and the chefs are skillfully running both operations,” he added.

“Following the upgrades and enhancements to our fleet’s physical product, we knew the next step was to focus on expanding our culinary repertoire,” said Benson Wu, vice president of Victoria Cruises. “We contracted with Concepts By Staib, true gastronomic visionaries, and couldn’t be happier with the results. Food is an important part of any vacation experience, and we will continue to strive for perfection in the kitchen,” Wu noted.

The Culinary ‘Charge’

Concepts by Staib was charged with presenting a series of Western dishes that would complement the existing Chinese food as well as training the Victoria Cruises’ food and beverage staff in successfully implementing the recipes.

A selection of the new dining specialties that cruisers are able to enjoy on any of the seven ships in the Victoria Cruises’ fleet include: Barbecued Meatballs with Hong Kong-style Sauce, Vegetable Soup, Beef Stroganoff, Mushroom Chicken Rolls, Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce, Pasta Salad, Rice Pudding, Chocolate Mousse Cake and many other choices. Menus vary slightly per ship.

Introducing the new menus required intensive training of the chefs onboard Victoria Cruises’ vessels. The chefs are extremely well-trained with excellent skills and solid culinary experience but the majority of them haven’t had the opportunity to learn the basics of Western cuisine. To address this, internationally-acclaimed chef Walter Staib and Paul Bauer, his lead project manager, traveled to China earlier in the year to assess existing on-board cooking equipment (Western kitchens are set-up very differently from traditional Chinese kitchens), the availability of products and supplies, and the skill sets of the chefs.

With the assistance of translators, drawings and hand signals to overcome the language barrier, Staib conveyed the necessary skills and recipes, and Victoria Cruises’ six executive chefs and young, ambitious culinary teams took profuse notes and learned quickly how to prepare Western dishes (beyond the actual recipes, this included European-style butchering techniques and presentation). Additionally, Associate Corporate Pastry Chef Stephen Leffew spent a month with the chefs to improve the quality of breads, pastries, desserts and afternoon tea accompaniments.

Selected recipes were compiled in manuals that were translated into Chinese so all the chefs can follow the directions.

Walter Staib, President, Concepts By Staib, Ltd.

After a lengthy and impressive 30-year global culinary career, award-winning chef Walter Staib created Concepts By Staib, Ltd. in 1989. This hospitality consulting firm with an emphasis on turnkey restaurant concept development has worked with OMNI Hotels, Sandals/Beaches Resorts, Regent International Hotels, Radisson Hotels Worldwide, Outrigger Lodging Services, Holiday Inn Worldwide, Sandy Lane in Barbados and Don Shula’s Steakhouses, among many, many others seeking to tap into Staib’s culinary mastery and creativity.

Among Staib’s most recent honors are the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences 2004 Five Star Diamond Awards (Chef and Restaurant), Restaurants & Institutions 1999 Restaurateur of Distinction Ivy Award, Cheer’s magazine’s 1999 Award for Best Overall Beverage Program in the Americas, the Philadelphia Delaware Valley Restaurant Association’s 1999 Restaurateur of the Year Award and the FCSI Award for Excellence in Management Advisory Services, 1999. Staib has made several recent guest appearances on TV Food Network’s Cooking Live with Sara Moulton and CBS’ Chef on a Shoestring.

Victoria Cruises

Based in New York, Victoria Cruises established new standards of excellence for sailing China’s Yangtze River when its first ship edged out of port in 1994. Since that time, Victoria Cruises has achieved tremendous success by introducing the majesty of the Yangtze River to travelers worldwide. A true pioneer and innovator, Victoria Cruises delivers an unrivaled and unsurpassed Yangtze River experience. An American-managed company, Victoria Cruises operates the largest fleet of vessels with the coveted five-star rating from the China National Tourism Administration.

China’s magnificent Yangtze River continues to awe and inspire and Victoria Cruises continues to be the finest guide for the journey.

For more information and a free color brochure or copy of the expanded DVD, contact Victoria Cruises at 57-08 39th Avenue, Woodside, NY 11377; phone (800) 348-8084, (212) 818-1680; fax (212) 818-9889. Send e-mail to or visit the company in cyberspace at

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