The popularity of Holland America Line’s Culinary Cruise program has prompted the line to extend the special-events sailings into 2023. The line announced on February 7 that five celebrity chefs will each sail aboard one of the cruise line’s 11 ships on itineraries around the globe.
The foodie-focused voyages will enable cruise guests to interact with the chefs, learn their cooking secrets, and enjoy specially-prepared menus in the ships’ dining venues.
Five Chefs on Five Holland America Ships
Holland America Line will again bring celebrated chefs onboard five of its ships this year in an extension of the Culinary Cruise program that debuted in 2022. All of the participating chefs from last year will return in 2023, and all are members of the line’s elite Culinary Council.
They include famous Chef Rudi Sodamin, who serves as Master Chef for Holland America Line and last year was named Head of Culinary Arts for sister line Princess Cruises. Both lines are Carnival Corporation brands.
Holland America Line Vice President of Food, Beverage and Guest Services Michael Stendebach said, “Our Culinary Cruises have proven to be popular with our guests who appreciate having access to these amazing chefs, and we’re excited to have our Culinary Council members back on board in 2023. We strive to cultivate unique experiences for our guests, and to learn from a renowned chocolatier or the world’s foremost sushi master is something we hope they will always remember.”
Guests sailing on Culinary Cruises can watch cooking demonstrations by the chef featured on their ship and are invited to take home recipes from the demos. They also can meet the chef at a “coffee chat,” and enjoy special, reservation-only dinners at specialty restaurants Pinnacle Grill, Rudi’s See de Mer, and Nami Sushi.
Signature dishes by each chef will be featured in various restaurants during the cruises, and one dinner in the main Dining Room on every cruise will offer a collection of dishes from the Culinary Council members. All of the culinary-related events are free to guests except for the reservation-only specialty restaurant dinners.
Meet the Chefs
The elite group of chefs returning to Holland America Line ships this year include:
Ethan Stowell will sail aboard the 2,650-guest Koningsdam during a 35-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas cruise from February 18 to March 25, roundtrip from San Diego.
Stowell is known for his creative use of flavors from the Pacific Northwest in recipes featuring sustainably sourced Alaska seafood. His dishes also are featured at New York Pizza and Lido Market across the Holland America fleet. Stowell is founder and CEO of ESR (Ethan Stowell Restaurants), which operates multiple restaurants in Washington State and in New York City.
Andy Matsuda will sail on the 2,106-guest Nieuw Amsterdam during her 14-day Great Alaskan Explorer May 7 to 21, operating roundtrip from Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Japanese-born chef oversees the sushi offerings at Holland America Line’s Nami Sushi, Tamarind, and Lido Market venues. The chef also runs the Matsuda’s Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles.
David Burke will join the 2,104-guest Eurodam for her 20-day Panama Canal cruise from April 9 to 29, cruising from Fort Lauderdale to Seattle. According to the line, he will enhance the menu at Pinnacle Grill with contemporary flavors and signature recipes.
Burke, who has been featured on “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters,” has five restaurants. His #FeedtheHeroes program prepared 100,000 meals to frontline workers and charities during the pandemic.
Jacques Torres will bring his expertise to the 1,432-guest Zaandam on her 11-day Atlantic Coast cruise from April 18 to 29, sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Montreal, Canada.
The French-trained artisan chocolatier and master chef specializes in chocolate desserts and will guide the onboard Chocolate Surprise parade. The former executive pastry chef at Le Cirque, in New York, has a chocolate factory and several retail outlets in the city. He is a James Beard Award winner.
Rudi Sodamin, who created Holland America Linen’s Culinary Council and is in charge of shipboard dining across the fleet, will join the 2,666-guest Nieuw Statendam on her 14-Day Northern Isles cruise from June 18 to July 2, sailing roundtrip from Copenhagen.
Sodamin, who hails from Austria, has written several cookbooks. His most recent is an art table book titled “Food Faces.” Each chef will be aboard their designated “Culinary Cruise” for four to 14 days, the line said.