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Ritz-Carlton's Ilma unveils dining by stars Fabio Trabocchi, Michael Mina

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MINA Group's Michael Mina with The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's Jim Murren, top left, test kitchen treats previewing Ilma dining and, bottom right, Murren, RCYC's Jens Gorka and Mark Lockwood and Marriott International's Tim Grisius applaud the food
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's Ilma will feature two new restaurants by acclaimed chefs Fabio Trabocchi and Michael Mina.

Trabocchi's Seta su Ilma is a modern Italian fine-dining venue, and the Beach House an open-air eatery featuring a Pan-Latin and Caribbean menu in collaboration with Mina.

Trabocchi is known for multiple award-winning establishments including Fiola Miami and Fiola, his Washington, DC flagship restaurant, which earned its sixth consecutive Michelin star in 2023. And the James Beard Award-winning Mina runs the MINA Group, which manages more than 30 concepts across the US.

It is the first seagoing venture for both.

Seta su Ilma

Drawing inspiration from Trabocchi’s Italian heritage and expertise in Italian cuisine, Seta su Ilma — named after the Italian word for silk — is inspired by the chef's love for the sea. Seasonal tasting menus will feature a contemporary interpretation of Italian cuisine, nodding to regional flavors. Dishes will range from fresh seafood to homemade pasta, all paired with fine wines.

A deep cellar of Italian whites and reds will form the core of the wine list. Seta su Ilma will offer a seven-course tasting menu in the evenings and, on select afternoons, lunch with a five-course tasting menu. There will be additional fee, with an optional wine pairing available.

The Beach House

At the Beach House, Mina's pan-Latin menu is inspired by the bold, fire-born flavors of South and Central America while highlighting ingredients from the Caribbean with light, refreshing shareable bites such as grilled meats, seafood and ceviche.

'I have always been fascinated with the powerful flavors and vibrant energy of the countries that make up Latin America and the Caribbean, and I have dreamed of bringing an array of their ingredients together one day,' Mina said.

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The Beach House, with its airy interiors, will flow into an expansive outdoor pool deck and features Michael Mina's pan-Latin and Caribbean dishes

The bright, airy interiors of the Beach House will flow into an expansive outdoor pool deck, creating a relaxed yet upscale atmosphere that in addition to dining will offer craft beers, bold wines and an elevated tequila selection.

Mina's menu will be featured at lunch, dinner and signature brunch events, enhanced by lively programming in a blend of spaces, including an outdoor splash pool furnished with sun loungers, pool chairs, lounge seating and dining areas. As night falls, the Beach House will evolve into an evening retreat with Latin-inspired live music, percussionists and sunset rituals.

The Beach House and Seta su Ilma are among five dining venues aboard Ilma, which also will offer a refreshed in-suite dining program, seven bars and a signature wine vault.

Marriott International test kitchen

Capitalizing on the vast resources of Marriott International, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and some of its chefs recently took over the sophisticated test kitchen at Marriott headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland to preview some of the new dishes and cocktails with Trabocchi, Mina and other luminaries. 

Over two days, it was like a Michelin-star pop-up restaurant with a flurry of dazzling chefs, creative small plate samplers with eye-popping presentation and dazzling drinks.

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The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's Jens Gorka, SVP shipboard operations, at center, and Chief Product Officer Mark Lockwood confer with Chef Michael Mina, left

Jim Murren, executive chairman and CEO, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, was there with members of his management team including Mark Lockwood and Jens Gorka, along with Marriott International brass including Tim Grisius, global officer, M&A, business development and real estate, and Marius von Tangen-Jordan, VP luxury yacht operations.

'No one's spent more effort, time and resources' 

'To my knowledge, no one's spent more effort, more time and marshaled more diverse resources globally to provide the kind of food we're going to provide to guests than The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection,' Murren told Seatrade Cruise News.

'Even though we're a relatively small company — certainly small in the cruise space and we're an independent company — we have the resources of Marriott International behind us. With this test kitchen, we can test new ideas, bring in new chefs. It's one of the many attributes that makes this relationship with Marriott International so beneficial to our guests.'

The result is an experience superior to that of any private yacht, Murren said. No matter how spectacular they are, private yachts are 'limited in terms of galleys, storage, their supply chain and infrastructure and limited to the creativity of a handful of men and women that are cooking food for charter guests.

'Here, we have legions of people,' he continued. 'What hustand and wife team on a private yacht could compete against the resources we're bringing to bear to provide a yachting customer with the experience we offer?

Raising the bar with Ilma

'We're at a point where we've proven ourselves with Evrima,' Murren said. 'Our guest satisfaction scores are incredibly high, some of the highest Marriott's ever seen in any resort around the world. We continue to raise the bar and we're continuing to do that with Ilma.'

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Memori — Pan-Asian cuisine in a sleek environment anchored by an open 12-seat sushi bar

Ilma's returning venues

Besides Seta su Ilma and the Beach House, the new yacht will also sport returning concepts from Evrima, including Memorī, with a modern spin on pan-Asian cuisine in a sleek environment anchored by an open 12-seat sushi bar. At lunch and dinner, Memorī will offer plates with bold flavors and creative ingredients, from Japanese bar snacks, sashimi and tempura to dumplings and wagyu cuts, all within a sophisticated setting with indoor and outdoor seating.

A selection of sake, Champagne, Japanese whiskeys and plum wines will be available.

Mistral for Mediterranean fare and views

Located steps from the main pool on Deck 10, Mistral will serve Mediterranean fare with traditional breakfast dishes, followed by handmade pastas and pizzas, salads and fresh seafood, along with grilled steaks and chops complemented by an extensive wine list.

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Mistral — a picturesque perch for a casual lunch, romantic dinner or cocktail overlooking the water

A picturesque perch for a casual lunch, romantic dinner or cocktail overlooking the water, this indoor/outdoor venue will offer some of the best views on the yacht.

Tides for destination-inspired dining

Tidesseasonal menus are inspired by destinations Ilma visits. For the inaugural Mediterranean season, dishes will capture elements of Greek, Italian and Spanish regional cuisines. In the Caribbean, the menu will transform to feature elements of the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the southern Caribbean islands.

Nestled behind Tides and Seta su Ilma, Dining Privée will provide an intimate enclave for celebratory dinners and other special events, which can be arranged for an additional fee.

The Living Room

At the heart of Ilma, The Living Room will serve freshly roasted coffee and pastries at the espresso counter each morning. As the day progresses, The Living Room Bar will pour specialty cocktails, fine wines and Champagne, accompanied by a live pianist.

In the evening, the venue will transform to serve canapés and aperitifs before dinner followed by late-night entertainment.

Ilma will also offer in-suite dining with menus that encompass breakfast, all-day and evening selections offering classics from the onboard restaurants.

The yacht's Monte Carlo to Civitavecchia (Rome) maiden voyage is scheduled to sail Sept. 2.

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