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Recipes from the Skys with Head Chef Darren Marchant

We are delighted that Darren Marchant, Head Chef for our Skys Fleet will be contributing a weekly recipe to Travel Post.

{MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}Darren has been employed as a Chef for over 30 years after initial training at Letchworth College.  He spent his early years afloat as a Chef de Partie and Sous Chef then Head Chef with Hebridean Island Cruises and his first ship, almost 20 years ago, was Hebridean Spirit which is now Caledonian Sky – a ship to which Darren was delighted to return as Head Chef last year.   Having left the sea in 2009, he was running the kitchens at a high class restaurant in Suffolk when the lure of the ocean became too much and he joined us on our Sky ships in early 2019, since when he has sailed as Head Chef in all three ships.  He delights in passing on his skills to the next generation and in meeting the fascinating travellers aboard our ships, where he enjoys nothing more than discussing the cuisine aboard after a long day of producing the highest quality fayre for our discerning guests.


 Pine Cured Gravalax & Pink Grapefruit Mayonnaise

It’s a pleasure to be donating recipes to the Noble Caledonia Travel Post from the Sky Ships. I will be publishing recipes that the guests most appreciate while on board. As a chef, my passion is having the luxury of being able to work with the raw ingredients to produce mouth watering dishes everyday.

In this episode of the Travel Post, as we have reached the time off the year when the long and dark nights are upon us it is time to try one of my favourite processes of cooking and a lovely, scented, cured gravadlax. This dish brings me back to being at sea and especially around the Baltic where I would enjoy going out on a little shopping tour around Bergen fish market to purchase the lovely sides of freshly caught laxs (salmon). To me this recipe just has the smell of the Baltic.

I know it has been a while since i have posted a recipe for Travel Post and after a hectic couple of months with the pop up restaurant, I'm pleased to be writing again for the Noble passengers and hope we are getting closer to setting sail again.  

Have a great weekend.  

Darren Marchant 

Head Chef – the Sky Fleet 




1 Cup of Rock Salt                                           

2 Cups of Light Brown Soft Sugar                              

2 Teaspoons Fennel Seeds                                            

2 Star Anise                                                       

1 Teaspoons Coriander Seeds                      

½ Teaspoons White Peppercorns                              

1 Cup Fresh Picked Pine Needles

1 Freshly Squeezed Pink Grapefruit                         

½ Cup of Good Quality Vodka                    

¼ Cup Tio Pepe Sherry                                                  

1 Lemon, Thinly Sliced                                                    

1/2 Cup of Fresh or Dried Dill                                     

2 Teaspoons of Dijon Mustard                                     

4-5lb Salmon Side, 1 Inch Thick Skin On                    

Cheesecloth or Muslin  


Pink Grapefruit Mayonnaise

2 Egg Yolks

2 Teaspoon Vinegar

Salt and Ground White Pepper

250ml Olive Oil

¼ Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 Freshly Squeezed Pink Grapefruit


Method curing process

1. Place the salmon on a cutting board skin side down and remove the pin bones with a pair of fish tweezers. Take care not to mark the salmon by pulling the pin bones in the direction of the bones and then discard the bones.

2. Turn the salmon over and remove the scales using a fish scaler or blade of a knife going from tail end up the body. Take your time with this. Then rinse under cold water and tap dry with kitchen towel or a clean jay cloth.

3. Take all the dry ingredients and place in a food blender. Blitz until all the ingredients are combined making sure that the pine needles are blended.

4. Lay a big enough piece of cheesecloth into a tray. Take the salt dry mix and add the liquid vodka, Tio pepe and pink grapefruit to make a paste.

5. Place the paste on top of the cheesecloth making a shape of the salmon.

6. Place the salmon on top of the paste and with the flesh side down  place lemon slices on top of the skin. Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the salmon completely wrapping the salmon.

7. Place in the fridge for up to 3 days until the salmon has a firm touch in the thickest part of the salmon. Remove from the fridge and then wash off the paste and pat dry.

8. Lay 2 layers of cling film on the work bench on top of each other big enough to cover the salmon and wrap it. Place the salmon on top of the cling film skin side down.

9. Lightly brush the skin with the Dijon mustard leaving no gaps and then sprinkle the dill on top. Wrap in cling film tightly and put in the fridge.

10. Remove the salmon from the fridge and carefully unwrap the cling film. Place the salmon on a chopping board and using a very sharp flexible knife cut the salmon from the thickest end at a 45 degrees angle. Slice thinly just like smoked salmon and then serve. 


Pink grapefruit mayonnaise

1. Wipe the bowl that you are going to use with a paper towel with a little vinegar on it as this will clean any grease residue in the bowl.

2. Place the egg yolks, vinegar and seasoning into the bowl and whisk vigorously until the egg yolks have doubled in size and you have a smooth egg mixture.

3. Gradually pour the olive oil in to the bowl whisking all the time. This process will take time. You should now have a silky smooth dressing.

4. Whisk in the pink grapefruit juices and the mustard which will help thin out the mayonnaise.




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