Word to the wise: if Chef Curtis Stone invites you to a top secret private dinner, say yes. Pursuitist received a mysterious invitation to join the award-winning restaurateur for a VIP dinner at Millwick in downtown Los Angeles this week, where he would announce his exclusive new partnership.

Following cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres, the New York Times bestselling cookbook author announced that Princess Cruises has named him their new culinary star, assigned with the creation of an elevated menu for the new “Crafted by Curtis” dining program to be served in the main dining rooms of Princess Cruises ships beginning this fall, rolling out fleet-wide by the end of this year. Moreover, Curtis Stone’s Chef’s Table experience will debut in early 2016, and SHARE by Curtis Stone will be his first restaurant at sea. SHARE offers an exclusive specialty dining experience for guests with a menu of signature dishes imagined for sharing (naturally enough), in an environment designed for conversing and creating memories. SHARE will debut aboard Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess this December.

Then dinner was served, giving Pursuitist and other guests the first taste of Curtis’ uniquely curated new SHARE dining experience. And boy, did it get the party started! The shared plates we were served quickly encouraged connecting with tablemates by offering intriguing dishes served family style. Chef Stone’s menu features dishes such as a Charcuterie starter course; Butter Roasted Lobster with Caramelized Endive and Endive Foam; Twice Cooked Duck Leg with Fennel, Bacon jus and Parmesan Crumb; Tagliatelle with Roasted Alaskan Crab, Chili and Parsley; and Dark Chocolate Cremeux with Toasted Hazelnut Feuilletine and Burnt Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

On board the Princess ships, hospitality designer Jeffrey Beers International has developed a comfortable and homey dining ambiance that reflects Chef Stone’s creative vision and stems from his childhood mealtime experiences, which were about food, family, community and connection. A signature feature of SHARE is a communal table designed to encourage the sharing of a freshly prepared meal in the company of friends and family. Hand blown glass pendants etched with some of Chef Stone’s favorite recipes cast an intimate glow. Elements not often seen in cruise ship restaurant interiors add to the friendly atmosphere – low-backed banquettes, upholstered in luxe Chesterfield tufted leather and decorative curios from Chef Stone’s own collection including photographs and travel souvenirs make guests feel even more at home.

“It’s only natural that my first restaurant at sea is named SHARE, as sharing food family-style with family and good friends is the most enjoyable way to eat,” said Chef Stone. “I love the process of passing plates amongst each other and creating meaningful connections through the food and conversation. I’ve worked feverishly to create elegant, tasty dishes that I’m really proud to serve in a beautiful and relaxed environment, and I’m excited that SHARE is set to become a special part of people’s holiday memories and experience at sea.”

Following the debut of SHARE aboard Ruby Princess sailing from Los Angeles on cruises to Hawaii and Mexico and Emerald Princess sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean this December, the rollout will continue aboard Coral Princess cruising the Panama Canal in January 2016 and then Sun Princess in April 2016, which will bring Chef Stone’s restaurant to his home country, Australia.