How One Cruise Company Is Spotlighting Inuit Culture and Cuisine on Arctic Expedition Sailings

Learn more about the region's surprising bounty — and the people who cook with it.

A chef finishes a plated dish of caribou, peas, and mushrooms
Dry-salted caribou with peas, morels, and pommes fondant, served on a Quark Expeditions sailing. Photo: Courtesy of Quark Expeditions

Beginning in August, Quark Expeditions will bring local Inuit chefs on board its new ship, the 199-passenger Ultramarine, for select sailings around Greenland and Arctic Canada.

Through Tundra to Table, a first-of-its-kind culinary program, passengers can book small-group four-course meals focusing on the region's Indigenous history and modern cuisine. Menus are based on what is fresh and available, with dishes including dry-salted caribou, beer-braised musk ox, and Greenland herring with pickled angelica and juniper cream. Fish will come from Inuit cooperatives, meat from local hunters. You may even have collected some of the ingredients yourself, since the chefs lead hikes to forage berries, mushrooms, and herbs.

Cruise guests in bright yellow jackets walk along a harbor in Canada
Quark guests hike along Dundas Harbour, in Nunavut, Canada. Sam Edmonds/Courtesy of Quark Expeditions

"We want people to feel they've gotten more than a dinner," says chef Salik Parbst Frederiksen, founder of a Greenlandic collective of chefs working with local hunters and food producers, who helped create the program. "The Indigenous peoples of the Arctic have been managing their resources for thousands of years, and that history is really something to learn from." Cultural commentary is also on the menu: for example, while seal won't be served on the ship, its role in the cuisine will be discussed.

Frederiksen says the best Greenlandic Inuit chefs work in mining camps or on fishing trawlers; for many, cooking on the ship will be their first appearance for a broader audience. Profits from the program go to grassroots, food-focused initiatives in Greenland and Nunavut.

A version of this story first appeared in the June 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "Taste the Tundra."

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