Meet The Crew: Executive Chef Andrew Capone

Mariposa Cruises Executive Chef Andrew Capone

Executive Chef Andrew Capone in the kitchen.

Mariposa Cruises is delighted to welcome Andrew Capone as our new Executive Chef. Having previously been part of our culinary team on the Mariposa Belle, Andrew has accumulated an impressive culinary background. We are excited to see how his talent and passion will elevate our food offerings this season. As Executive Chef, Andrew will manage our hospitality cruise operation, leading two (floating) kitchens on The Northern Spirit and The Captain Matthew Flinders to cater for a fleet of six vessels. During the peak summer period, he could prepare up to 3000 meals a day, a logistical and strategic challenge for any Chef.

Chef Andrew knew from a young age that a culinary career was his path. He credits his European upbringing and fondness of the Food Network as the influencers that led him to enroll in night school for culinary arts. He landed his first kitchen job at the Drake Hotel, where he learned for three years from great Chefs and mentors. He moved on to work at Thuet’s Bistro, where he was trained in French Cooking, picking up artisan bread making and traditional sauce-making techniques.

Chef Andrew decided to switch scenes to banquet halls, working at Grand Bacchus. “Moving from the restaurant scene to a banquet hall prepares you for a different type of food service where you’re cooking for 200 to 1500 people a night.” Other venues include The Harbord Room, Fantasy Farms where he worked his way up to Head Chef, and JW Muskoka Resort, before making the move to Banff in 2016. Eager to gain hotel experience, he started out as a General Chef de Cuisine at The Rimrock Hotel and was quickly promoted to Sous Chef after only a month.  There he had the opportunity to cater to an international audience and broaden his culinary training to fine dining, assisting at The Eden Restaurant, the Rimrock’s high-end establishment.

After returning to Toronto this year, Chef Andrew was offered and accepted the position of Executive Chef at Mariposa Cruises, where his training and expertise have been welcomed with enthusiasm.Working with fairly established menus for the season, Chef Andrew plans to revamp and elevate our menu by adding his own personal touches, sourcing out new, quality food suppliers, introducing new cured meats, fresh cheeses, premium breads & dips and handmade hors d’oeuvres to our offerings.  “I see myself putting my experience to work in the preparation techniques, in the quality of products and ingredients we use and in the presentation of our dishes.  This season our Public Menu offering will feature a fresh daily seafood option and a Chef’s Selection, which gives us the flexibility to get creative with local and seasonal products, serving up different salad selections and antipasto platters.”

Lunch buffet, Captain Matthew Flinders

Chef Andrew serves up lunch for Mariposa Crew on Orientation Day, featuring a fresh seafood offering and salad & taco stations.

The same applies with the Private Event Menus. He adds, “I am always willing to customize menus. I’ve prepared many types of cuisine from around the world, cooked for many cultures and a range of events. Our menu options offer enough variety to accommodate most dietary restrictions as well, whether vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. Our investment in new Rational ovens will also allow for better roasting techniques and the ability to prepare, roast and vacuum seal food items for better storage and service. We will be able to serve our guests dishes we never could before, like roasted porchetta, made in the traditional way with the crispy outer skin and prepared with a rosemary and thyme salt rub.”

Most importantly, Chef Andrew will bring to us his invaluable expertise in the kitchen: “You need strong leaderships skills to run a kitchen, especially in a complex operation like Mariposa Cruses. Training is key and I’m excited to lead Mariposa’s culinary team in bringing our guests a great dining experience this season.”

Asked what he likes to cook for himself on his spare time, Chef Andrew replies, “I’m really random, whatever happens to be in the fridge. I love to make breakfast for dinner, but it’s never a regular breakfast. It’ll be something like pancakes and duck eggs. I like to go local butchers and places like the Farmers Market at Wychwood Barns in my neighborhood.  I’m not too picky when I eat at home…” and then adds, “ but I am picky when I dine out.“










What’s Cooking? The scoop on revamped menu offerings this season!

Andrew Vilhena, Director of Hospitality at Mariposa Cruises, talks about new onboard menu offerings this season. Our culinary team have developed a fresh take on our traditional buffet offerings.

Menu-wise, what can our guests anticipate in 2017?

We pay close attention to our customers’ requests, their preferences in menu selections, and the important feedback from post-cruise reviews and customer surveys. Buffets continue to be the most popular choice, however our Food Stations and cocktail style menus are becoming increasingly in demand.

Our 2017 menus consistently offer a vegetarian main, in addition to our traditional beef or chicken. We feature a variety of choices, different salads and sides for more vegetarian and vegan friendly options. Our delicious gluten-free tomato and edamame salad, or the cranberry and baby spinach stuffed tortilla (Gluten- Free & Vegetarian) with wild rice and butternut squash, are some examples.

Tell us about how Mariposa Cruises is revamping its cocktail-style menus:

We host a lot of cocktail style events for both our charter and scenic dining programs.  Our Sip & Sail Cruise program is a great alternative to a patio and a relaxed way to experience Toronto. We offer a variety of hors d’oeuvres, appetizers and platters on the menu. Guests can decompress from their work day, mingle, & take in the views and enjoy some food and cocktails.  (more…)

Ein Prosit! To a memorable Oktoberfest feast on Toronto’s Harbour

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Adam Jackson retells his experience aboard the Showboat for the Oktoberfest Dinner Cruise on the Toronto Harbour.

Oktoberfest cruise aboard the ShowboatWhen you think Oktoberfest your mind could either imagine a classy evening with a German-themed menu, or a beer hall full of drunk people swilling beer. Thankfully Mariposa’s Oktoberfest cruise was the former, although secretly I would have been happy with either.

Upon boarding the “Showboat” with my brother, we were shown to our seats and a waiter took our drink orders. This wasn’t going to be a beer-hall type evening, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to get into the Oktoberfest spirit and swig from a stein so I ordered 1L of beer. It was a good deal because I even got to keep the stein which now sits above my television.


How to plan a Luau Party the Mariposa way

Hot summer weather is often a short-and-sweet memory for Canadians. That’s why it is so important to make the most out of our summer months. One of the best ways to celebrate great summer weather is by throwing a luau party.

We’ve hosted a number of luau themed parties and cruises over the years. It’s a favourite theme among many of our charters, not to mention we throw a pretty good Luau themed dinner cruise every August.


Here are some helpful tips on how to create your own Luau themed party this summer. (more…)

Lobster lovers go East Coast on the Toronto Harbour

Alexander Keith's Lobster Galley Party CruiseToronto lobster lovers can rejoice this week. On Thursday, July 23rd, Toronto’s love for lobster will be celebrated down on the Toronto Harbor.

Alexander Keith’s & Mariposa Cruises are partnering up to bring a little East Coast flavor to the Toronto Harbour with the maiden voyage of the Alexander Keith’s Lobster Galley Party Cruise aboard Mariposa Cruises’ flagship the Captain Matthew Flinders. (more…)

Celebrate Mardi Gras in May on the Toronto Harbour

Mardi Gras Cruise party on the Showboat#LetTheGoodTimesRoll at the party of the summer: Mariposa’s Mardi Gras Cruise!

Who doesn’t love a night of eating, dancing and dressing up N’awlins style? Best of all you don’t need to spend a small fortune to fly to New Orleans to experience the flavours & party atmosphere of a Mardi Gras celebration. Ditch the mainland patio on Friday May 29 and come aboard Mariposa Cruise’s Mardi Gras Cruise with your friends for a night of good times.


Behind the Bar – Making a Merry Mariposa Holiday Cocktail

Merry-Mariposa Holiday CoctailTis the season for celebrating with friends and family and getting into the holiday spirit. Winter is here yet we’re still cruising at Mariposa Cruises and giving the gift of delicious holiday inspired cocktails behind our bars. Our feature drink this month is certain to become a holiday classic when you serve it up to your guests.

Our Featured drink is the Merry Mariposa Holiday Cocktail.


In the Galley: Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Quinoa Stuffing

If you are looking to serve up something a little different this Thanksgiving, Chef Gus has the perfect recipe for you in our second edition of In the Galley with Mariposa Cruises.

This Thanksgiving recipe is gluten free and can be used to stuff your turkey or acorn squash, or you can simply serve it as a side dish.

Without further ado, here is Chef Gus’ Thanksgiving quinoa with sweet potato and dried cranberry stuffing.

4-5 Servings