Princess Cruises announced today that Chef Rudi Sodamin is to become the cruise line’s first head of culinary arts. In this position, Sodamin will help develop and innovate the line’s menus, as well as motivate and inspire the culinary teams aboard Princess Cruises’ vessels.
Bringing Excellence to Princess Dining
Princess Cruises is already known for its carefully curated menus and exceptional dining experiences. By naming Sodamin as head of culinary arts, the line will harness this chef’s amazing experience and abilities to further elevate onboard dining.
“Chef Rudi is a hands-on leader with proven ability to motivate teams to achieve new levels of creativity and inspiration,” said Jan Swartz, group president serving Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O Cruises Australia brands. “We are bringing in Chef Rudi to build the kind of excitement and dining experiences that will impress our guests. He is the perfect person to bring an entirely new level of excellence and innovation to our culinary product.”
Sodamin is equally enthusiastic about this new opportunity. “I see food as the way to our guests’ hearts, and the individuals on the Princess Cruise culinary team bring great heart to what they do and take tremendous pride in their work,” Sodamin said.
“My goal is to grow that pride and lead the culinary workforce to new performance heights through innovative approaches to teamwork and creativity, collaboratively creating new signature interactive dining experiences, and motivating this talented team to new levels of culinary artistry.”
Sodamin Brings a Lifetime of Experience to Cruise Lines
An internationally-respected food authority and author of 14 cookbooks, Sodamin is the most highly-decorated chef working on the world’s oceans today and is widely considered one of the most innovative, energetic, and influential chefs in the hospitality industry.
Sodamin’s culinary experience began at age 8, when he first started assisting his mother – herself a professional cook and Sodamin’s first cooking instructor – in the kitchen shortly after his father died.
At 14, Sodamin began a kitchen apprenticeship in Kurhotel Heilbrunn in Bad Mitterndorf, Austria, and by 23, he was appointed Chef de Cuisine on the luxury liner Vistafjord with Norwegian American Cruise Line – he was the youngest chef in the cruise line world to have such responsibility.
By age 26, Sodamin was named corporate executive chef onboard the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2, once more the youngest chef at sea to attain such stature. Under his stewardship, the food served by the historic Cunard Line was widely acclaimed as the best in the world as Sodamin oversaw dining on 7 luxury vessels across 15 restaurants. During that time he traveled the world as Cunard’s Culinary Ambassador, cooking for royalty and heads of state aboard Cunard’s vessels.
After serving at Cunard Line as vice president of food and beverage and corporate executive chef, Sodamin joined Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 1998 as director of corporate food and beverage operations and culinary spokesperson. During his tenure, he built an international culinary team from across 50 nations and launched the brand’s first test kitchen.
Sodamin has continued his culinary innovations with Holland America Line, instituting the line’s first Culinary Council as well as spearheading the Holland America Line Culinary Art Center.
Additionally, Sodamin championed professional development of all Holland America Line culinary staff and led the development and launch of a residential Culinary Training Center in Manila, the Philippines, working with the Culinary Institute of America to develop curriculum.
Today, Sodamin remains the master chef for Holland America Line, and he will retain that position even as as he takes on his new role as head of culinary arts for Princess Cruises.
John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises, particularly appreciates Sodamin’s extensive track record for engaging with culinary crews to provide the best possible guest experiences.
“A food experience is about human passion, energy, excitement, and expertise all channeled together to create an emotional, multisensory experience with a true human connection,” said Padgett. “Chef Rudi is one of the few who truly understands this and how to consistently create culinary magic for guests, and we are fortunate to be able to tap his extensive know-how and leadership to further elevate the Princess on-board dining experience and inspire our culinary teammates throughout the fleet.”
Among Sodamin’s other recent accomplishments has been the highly successful launch of Rudi’s Sel de Mer restaurant onboard Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, with a limited menu also available on select evenings at the Pinnacle Grill on other vessels.
Carnival Cruise Line was so impressed by the intimate seafood brasserie concept that the line invited Sodamin to create Rudi’s Seagrill for its new fleet flagship, Mardi Gras.