Dalila's role will entail close collaboration with our talented chefs on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity; she will infuse her scientific expertise into their culinary creations to develop balanced menus that can cater to a variety of dietary preferences and requirements—an enticing complement to Crystal's reimagined wellness programs.
It was a pleasure to catch up with Dalila recently, so we took the opportunity to ask her a few questions.
Hi Dalila, could you tell us how your interest started with wellness and nutrition specifically?
I quickly realized the importance of nutrition in optimizing my performance as a young competing athlete. Yes, technique, strategy, and athletic skills are important, but food and nutrition play such an important role too. So, while my friends were reading fashion magazines, I was engrossed in wellness and cooking books!
I decided to pursue my studies in this direction and graduating in the Science of Nutrition, the biological science of how the food we eat impacts our bodies.
That's certainly an impressive start! How did you end up collaborating with chefs as a culinary nutritionist?
As I delved deeper into the science of nutrition, I realized I missed the convivial and authentic aspects of Italian cuisine. Food, for me, is not only nourishment for the body but a way to experience cultures and explore traditions through recipes and local ingredients. Combining my scientific knowledge as a nutritionist with my love for food and cooking became my dream, and working with chefs allowed me to do just that, learning from their vast experience in the kitchen.
That sounds amazing. So, how will you be working with Crystal?
Working with Crystal allows me to share my passion for culinary nutrition with guests and chefs worldwide. These cultural exchanges fuel my continual desire to learn about this amazing science. Using my scientific knowledge and incorporating it into their culinary creations together, we can craft well-balanced menus that can cater to a variety of dietary preferences and requirements.
I will also have the privilege and pleasure of meeting some of Crystal's guests and sharing my expertise while learning from their diverse experiences.
That sounds like a great match. How do you develop your nutritional programs?
In my daily activity as a Clinical Nutritionist, I learned that every person has a unique story; for this reason, there is no nutritional program that fits all. I believe in personalized nutrition, and I always involve my patients in a wellness journey where they learn to enjoy nourishing their well-being and discovering what works best for them.
Thanks. So, how can Crystal guests use your services?
During my previous experience as an onboard Culinary Nutritionist, I saw the power of using real food to communicate healthy eating habits. I shared meals with guests, explained the menu design process, and discussed the stories behind each dish. It was amazing to see how they took that knowledge home and implemented it in their daily lives. I also love to create fun and interactive workshops where learning about nutrition and cooking is part of the pleasure of the cruising experience. We are definitely going to have a lot of fun together!
Can you tell us a little about the philosophy behind the menus at Osteria d’Ovidio?
Osteria d’Ovidio’s fine-dining proposal has been thought out and designed with the idea that guests can travel not only on this great cruise, but on a wonderful Italian culinary journey while traveling to all these incredible places around the world.
Fine dining in Italy takes tradition to evolution. Italian cuisine is strongly influenced by regional tradition. Each region has its own ingredients, cooking method and recipes that makes that region special and different from all the others.
For this reason, every dish of the menus created for Osteria d’Ovidio has its own regional identity. Ingredients, pairing tastes and cooking methods make these regional flavors identifiable. The tasting menus will allow guests to connect different dishes and tastes to either the north or south of Italy, and understand the influences of regional ingredients.
What can guests expect to taste?
The menu is composed of an à la carte menu, two different tasting menus and a vegetarian menu. We are offering choices that will raise Osteria d’Ovidio’s menus to that of a Michelin star restaurant. Depending on what guests want, they can order from the standard menu, or take a deep dive with one of the two tasting menus. These tasting menus reflect the distinctive flavours of the north and the south of Italy. To emphasise the culinary experience, as in all Michelin star restaurants, we are offering an Italian wine pairing for both the two “menu degustazione” that pairs perfectly with each dish. We will only offer the pairing menu for the whole table, which will allow guests to to interact and share their culinary experience during dinner, which is typical of the conviviality of Italian mealtimes!
I am a vegetarian, will I still be able to enjoy options at Osteria d’Ovidio?
Yes, of course! I have created a special vegetarian menu that reflects how elite chefs are approaching a more sustainable attitude to culinary research. I also did not want to exclude vegetarians from the culinary philosophy of Osteria d’Ovidio. A vegan menu will be provided too.
Dalila will be onboard Crystal Symphony on the October 9, 2023 voyage from Athens to Dubai, and the March 12, 2024 sailing from Singapore to Mumbai. Join her for a chance to learn all about her exceptional approach to wellness, nutrition, and gastronomy.