It was karaoke night aboard Oceania Cruises’ M/S Regatta, midway through its spring sailing from Barcelona to Athens. Up on Deck 10 Forward, the French chef Jacques Pépin and his posse—lifelong pal and pastry wizard Jean-Claude Szurdak and Jean-Michel Gammariello, the general manager of New Haven, Connecticut’s Union League Café—were cracking each other up. In a delightful tenor, Pépin gamely crooned along to “My Way”—the American version of “Comme d’Habitude.”
“You should sing at the karaoke contest,” said a fan in the small crowd of onlookers.
“I would do ‘Autumn Leaves,’” Pépin replied. “That’s one of my wife’s favorite songs.”