THE LUX LIFE (RELAIS & CHATEAUX)

Healthy and sustainable gastronomy on Origin & Theory

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

In anticipation of taking to the seas once more, head Chef Estuardo Vilela and his team have recently released updated menus. And in the meantime, try our signature ceviche dish at home – scroll down for the recipe!

Our luxury expedition yachts, Origin & Theory, are the only Relais & Chateaux vessels in the Galapagos – an accolade we at Ecoventura take great pride in. Relais & Chateaux is the watchword not only for luxury accommodation and second-to-none service, but mouth-watering cuisine.

Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, so rather than resting on our laurels after our hugely popular culinary departure in October 2019, we decided to up the ante.

Enter, stage left, Estuardo Vilela, head chef of Ecoventura’s fleet of luxury yachts, Origin and Theory (to be joined in 2021 by sister ship Evolve). Estuardo is responsible for curating menus and feeding 20 passengers three exquisite meals a day, seven days a week (not forgetting the endless amuse bouches and snacks offered up between excursions), as well as the yachts’ hardworking crew.

Estuardo and his team are continuously innovating and experimenting, introducing new ingredients and dishes to create sumptious menus that challenge and dazzle in equal measure.

In anticipation of taking to the seas once again, the team have recently released their updated menus, and we’re confident they won’t disappoint.

Dishes such as Grilled Octopus Basque-style and Crab croquettes served with kiwi chutney and lemon confit are expertly created in quite possibly one of the most compact kitchens on Relais & Chateaux’s prestigious books. But this in no way hampers Estuardo’s efforts…

“Cooking on a yacht that has a small kitchen is not a limitation, as long as there is a passion for cooking” Estuardo explains.

With three or four courses for dinner and a menu that changes every day, passengers are guaranteed never to tire of Estuardo’s offerings.

Given the location, and the fact that ingredients are sourced locally where possible – around 70% of ingredients come from the surrounding islands – seafood features heavily. The grilled prawns with cilantro gremolata, and langoustines in garlic aioli, are particularly divine!

But the menus are highly varied, with a host of dishes available to choose from each day, from various soups through to beef filet with tamarind chimichurri, and everything in between, as well as a host of desserts for those with a sweet tooth!

Travel Writer Sam Bradley had the pleasure of chatting with Estuardo about his cooking experiences in the Galapagos and he shares them in the well-known We Said Go Travel blog. It’s heartening to hear how rewarding it is for Estuardo to see happy smiling guests enjoying his food, and in some instances, sharing his kitchen too!

“Not long ago we had a charter group on board, and one of the guests had organised rare white truffles. I was very excited to be preparing these for the first time, and the client happened to also be a chef so together we prepared a delicious risotto” Estuardo tells Sam.

Whilst the main purpose of our passengers travelling to this unique corner of the globe is typically to admire the phenomenal flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands, our aim is to elevate their overall experience to the highest degree in terms of luxury, service and cuisine.

Drinks are on us!

Alongside Estuardo’s enticing menu for Origin & Theory, we are also very proud of our newly released selection of signature and classic cocktails – all of which are part of our open bar policy.

It’s hard to envisage a better way to reflect on a busy day exploring than relaxing early evening on deck sipping a refreshing Pisco Sour… or might that be a Kicker Rock? Hang on, what about a Rabida Spritz? Perhaps with such a tempting line up, it’s rather hard to imagine after all!

Best come and sample for yourselves, so please do not hesitate to contact the team who would be delighted to help organise your “Gourmet Galapagos” adventure.

To whet your appetite in the meantime, chef Estuardo and his team have shared the recipe for their signature shrimp ceviche dish, a fresh, tangy dish bursting with crisp, clean flavours and a bit of bite for you to try at home – perfect for a starter or light lunch:

Chef Estuardo’s Shrimp Ceviche – serves 10

Ingredients

  • 50 grams onions, finely sliced
  • 7 grams garlic, finely sliced
  • a pinch of cumin
  • a couple of pinches of salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 700 grams of raw, fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 125 grams red onion, finely sliced, washed with salt and rinsed
  • 200 grams tomato, half finely sliced, the remaining half blended
  • juice from 5 lemons and 2 oranges
  • 15 grams mustard
  • 60 grams ketchup
  • 10 ml olive oil
  • tabasco
  • 25 grams fresh coriander, chopped
  • pinch of salt and ground pepper to season

Method

  1. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, salt and bay leaves to a pot of water and bring to the boil.
  2. When boiling, add the raw shrimp. Once cooked, remove the shrimp and cool with ice. Retain the boiled water.
  3. In a bowl, add the red onions, tomatoes, lemon and orange juice, mustard, ketchup, olive oil and a few drops of tabasco and mix.
  4. Add the liquid used to cook the shrimps, removing the bay leaves, then add the cooked shrimps, coriander, salt and ground pepper and mix.
  5. Serve with green plantain chips for an authentic Galapagos touch – also goes well with fresh bread!