Executive Chef Nathan (Shijunath Swamynathan)
Hailing from "God’s own country" — beautiful Kerala, India — Chef Nathan is an avid foodie with a passion for fresh ingredients, vegetable gardening, his family, and outdoor exploration. A stickler for quality and technique, he expresses his culinary creativity on board with his love of international flavors and simple dishes inspired by Chef Alain Ducasse’s Cuisine of Naturalness.
Q: Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in India, in the state of Kerala, also known as God's own country.
Q: Tell us about your family and how you spend your free time at home.
I have a wife and a beautiful daughter. I do a lot of outdoor activities such as vegetable gardening and exploring new areas with all my cousins that live nearby.
Q: When did you join Azamara?
I joined Azamara back in April 2007.
Q: What are your personal favorite wine pairings (food/wine)?
The lobster crusted beef tenderloin paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is a must-have.
Q: What’s your go-to comfort meal?
Chicken Tikka pie is truly a favorite of mine and puts me in my comfort zone whenever I have it.
Q: What’s your most memorable restaurant meal?
My most memorable meal is all the tapas I enjoyed at Le Petit Paris in Barcelona.
Q: If there was one famous chef you would love to collaborate with, who would it be?
I would love to collaborate with Alain Ducasse. He represents the naturalness of cuisine, which I love.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working with Azamara?
The friendliness and professionalism of the crew and the chef’s freedom to express their culinary creativity.
Q: What do you consider to be the most important elements in creating a dish?
The ingredients are very important along with technique to bring out the desired flavor in each recipe.
Q: Would you be able to share with us one of your favorite easy recipes?
Coconut Lemongrass Crab Bisque:
- Fresh crab - 200gm
- Tomato - 1pc, medium size
- Jalapeño - 4pcs
- Red Onion - 1pc, medium size
- Garlic - 1pc, 4 cloves
- Celery - 1 stalk
- Leeks - 1/2 stalk
- Carrot - 1pc
- Lemongrass - 1 stalk
- Coconut milk - 10ml
- Fish stock - 500ml
- Cilantro - chopped for garnish
In a Dutch pot, add little oil and sauté the garlic and onion. Once the onion turns golden brown, add in celery, carrot, leeks, and lemongrass. Sauté together and add crab and diced tomatoes. Stir until the crab is broken, then add fish stock and simmer slowly for around 40 minutes and strain in a china cap. Put the pot back on the stove and let it simmer. Once simmering, add coconut milk — making sure to not bring to a boil again. Lastly, garnish with cilantro and serve hot. Enjoy!