Gourmet food travel - Celebrity chefs ‘Cruise for Mates’

Six celebrity chefs, two luxury European River Cruises, one unbreakable bond of friendship – in aid of burns survivor, Matt Golinski

As far as holidays go it it’s hard to think of anything more appealing than spending 18 days in luxury, cruising along the rivers of French cities such as Paris, Lyon and Monte Carlo or the European countries of Holland, Austria, and Budapest.

But what if you were accompanied by three of Australia’s most well-known celebrity chefs and knew that you were ‘cruising for a cause’ at the same time?

Two luxury European river ‘Cruise for Mates’ tours will take place in 2013, one through France with Manu Feildel, Alastair McLeod and Janelle Bloom on board and the other from Amsterdam to Budapest with George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Damian Heads joining holidaymakers.

Both cruises will help to help to raise funds for fellow chef Matt Golinski who tragically lost his wife and three daughters in a home fire on Boxing Day in 2011. Matt sustained third degree burns to over 40 percent of his body and spent several months in a medically induced coma. He is currently undergoing extensive rehabilitation.

Cruise for Mates is the brainchild of Brisbane based travel agent Hilary Weir from Harvey World Travel Garden City. Hilary was inspired by the successful national ‘Plates for Mates’ fundraising campaign first conceived by the six chefs to support Matt. Hilary thought Cruise for Mates could be a natural fundraising extension.

“I first met the six chefs as part of a Plates for Mates fundraising event and was so impressed by their genuine, ‘whatever it takes’ commitment to help their mate, Matt. They were so likeable, kind and generous – and loads of fun.

“Although the circumstances that brought them together were obviously tragic, I started to wonder how we could use the positive aspects of their true friendship to continue to support Matt. That’s when the idea for Cruise for Mates was born.”

“Because the chefs are donating their time, the starting cost of each luxurious, privately chartered cruise is under $10,000 which includes include return airfares from Australia, accommodation and cruising, daily shore excursions, transfers, beer and wine with dinner, all meals on board and the privilege of meeting and holidaying with these super-star chefs. Both cruises will be aboard the beautifully appointed Avalon Waterways ships, which are more like five-star floating hotels.

“With only 80 staterooms available to join the ‘Grand France’ or ‘Magnificent Europe’ Avalon Waterways cruises, the atmosphere on board will be very intimate. Each guest will have the chance to mingle with the chefs, swap foodie stories and explore some of the most beautiful places in the world.”

Hilary says there has already been keen interest in the trips. “The enquiries started before we had even finalized the itineraries, I don’t know how people heard about it but the feedback we’ve had so far has been amazing. With only a maximum of 80 rooms or 160 people on board each cruise, we expect both to sell out quickly. Who wouldn’t want the chance to dance through France with Manu or swap soufflé tips and jokes with two of the hosts of MasterChef? It’s a wonderful recipe for fun and friendship combined with fundraising.

Find out more about Cruise for Mates holidays at www.cruiseformates.com.au, visiting Harvey World Travel Garden City in Brisbane only or calling 1800 DREAMS (1800 373 267)

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  Just gourmet food travel dreams and supporting a great charity, nothing more.