Hancey serves up WA feasts

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Carly LadenBroome Advertiser
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Chef Don Hancey with his assistant Allan (left) and some of the executive chefs onboard Maasdam.
Camera IconChef Don Hancey with his assistant Allan (left) and some of the executive chefs onboard Maasdam. Credit: Carly Laden

Passengers onboard the Holland America Line cruise ship Maasdam got the chance to get a real taste of WA when the State’s food ambassador joined them as a guest chef.

Don Hancey boarded the cruise ship at Fremantle on Sunday, January 6 and accompanied passengers during stops at Geraldton and Exmouth before reaching Broome on Friday, January 11.

He was on-deck to showcase WA produce through cooking demonstrations, cooking classes and a five- course menu for The Pinnacle Restaurant, one of the ship’s several dining venues.

The cruise ship travelled up the WA coast as part of a 36-day Southern Ocean and East Indies itinerary, designed to visit multiple ports in a region and give guests the opportunity to explore and experience all aspects of the local culture.

Mr Hancey said the chance to board the Maasdam as a guest chef came about when he was approached by Tourism WA.

“I sort of jumped at the chance because I had never been on a cruise ship before and I took the opportunity to see what would come of it,” he said.

“It’s bloody hard work cooking for so many people on a cruise ship but it has certainly been a wonderful experience.

“I had only been on board for five or six days and I have seen some really good opportunities that I feel are not being fulfilled yet, like onboard food demonstrations and conversations.”

Stopping at various regional ports also allowed Mr Hancey to tell the passengers about the places they visited through guided tours as well as the cooking demonstrations.

“I used to come to Broome as a kid so I know the area pretty well, along with Geraldton and Exmouth, having visited those areas many times,” he said.

“Because I know these places intimately, I can help paint the picture for the guests onboard about WA and its produce.”

Mr Hancey said as WA’s food ambassdor, he saw a lot of opportunities to bring more and more WA produce on to cruise ships like the Maasdam.

“Because of the volume of people on cruise ships, they go through a lot more food than a restaurant would,” he said.

“If we’re travelling up the WA coast, I feel that cruise ships should use as much food from the area as possible to really give the passengers the true foodie experience.

“People travel the world looking for unique food experiences and if WA can lift its game more to be a destination for food/wine tourism, it will benefit everyone.”

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