Holland America Culinary Council Puts a New Spin on Cruise Food

Holland America Culinary Council

Cruising and food. Synonymous, right? To keep ahead of pack, Holland America has expanded its Culinary Council. In addition, there are new, exciting and interactive Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises are planned for 2018.

Recently in Fort Lauderdale, the cruise line announced its new nine-member Holland America Line Culinary Council. In total, there are seven celebrity master chefs, one mixologist and a wine curator. The new Holland America Culinary Council will have an effect on dining across all of Holland America Line’s ships.

Led by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, he is joined by international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner, Andy Matsuda, Ethan Stowell and Jacques Torres.

Acclaimed wine critic James Suckling is responsible for the new wine program. Master mixologist Dale DeGroff is revamping the cruise line’s  cocktail program.

Here’s the current list of Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises

Rudi Sodamin, Holland America Culinary Council Chairman:

Sodamin was born in Austria and trained in France. From humble beginnings at sea as a 22-year old sous chef aboard the Vistafjord, within one year, he became the youngest executive chef at sea. His innovative approach to cuisine has made him the most decorated chef on the world’s oceans.

  • Koningsdam, 7-Day Norse Legends, July 1, 2018, roundtrip Amsterdam, Netherlands

David Burke:

Burke is a restaurateur, cookbook author, inventor and consultant at ESquared Hospitality, which owns and operates the BLT restaurant brand. He has been featured on “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters.” He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked with legendary chefs in France and New York.

  • Zuiderdam, 10-Day Colors of Canada & New England, Sept. 13, 2018, New York City to Quebec, Canada

Andy Matsuda:

The Japanese-born Matsuda is at the forefront of sushi trends and techniques. At Matsuda’s Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles, California, he teaches aspiring chefs and professionals about sushi and Japanese cuisine.

  • Nieuw Amsterdam, 7-Day Western Caribbean, March 17, 2018, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Koningsdam, 7-Day Norse Legends, June 3, 2018, roundtrip Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ethan Stowell:

With an impressive roster of highly acclaimed restaurants, Stowell has helped to change the face of the Seattle food scene. He was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine magazine in 2008 and chosen as one of the Best New Chef All-Stars in 2013.

  • Eurodam, 7-Day Alaskan Explorer, May 26, 2018, roundtrip Seattle, WA
  • Amsterdam, 7-Day Alaskan Explorer, Sept. 16, 2018, roundtrip Seattle, WA

Holland America Culinary Councel Jacques Torres

Jacques Torres:

A French-trained Master Chef and artisan chocolatier, Torres is a James Beard award winner. After rising to executive pastry chef at New York’s legendary Le Cirque, he opened a chocolate factory and stores throughout New York.

  • Westerdam, 7-Day Glacier Discovery, June 24, 2018, Vancouver, Canada, to Seward, AK
  • Veendam, 14-Day Summer Cuba, Aug. 4, 2018, roundtrip Boston, MA

Dale DeGroff:

DeGroff received the James Beard Award for Wine & Spirits, was inducted into the prestigious James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America in 2015 and is author of “The Essential Cocktail” and “The Craft of the Cocktail.”

  • Zuiderdam, 18-Day Azores and Normandy, April 22, 2018, Fort Lauderdale, FL, to Copenhagen, Denmark (DeGroff on board through Bermuda call on April 25)
  • Oosterdam, 7-Day Tropical Caribbean, Nov. 10, 2018, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, FL

Special wine cruises aboard Koningsdam throughout 2018

On each of these unique cruises, a different Chateau Ste. Michelle expert will join the onboard vinologist for three, one-hour sessions each day at BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle. They’ll also be present for the ship’s special Cellar Master’s Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center, where the accent will be on perfect wine and food pairings. There is a modest fee for this dinner.

Read about: Rudi Sodamin’s Sel de Mer dining aboard Koningsdam


the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea — has a tasting table that accommodates 10 guests who can create their own blend from a selection of five barrels of single-vineyard red wine. In addition to participating in the blending process, guests also will learn about wine from each wine expert. BLEND has a small fee.

Leah Adint:

Adint holds a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from Washington State University and a Master of Science in enology from the University of Adelaide. After working at wineries in Australia, Burgundy, central England and Scotland, she joined Chateau Ste. Michelle in 2015.

  • Koningsdam, 12-day European Splendour, May 1, 2018, Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy to Amsterdam, Netherlands

David Rosenthal:

In 2007, Rosenthal rejoined Chateau Ste. Michelle as white wine enologist and was later promoted to assistant winemaker in 2011. Rosenthal continued to excel and was promoted to white winemaker in 2015, where he currently manages day-to-day operations at the winery’s white wine cellar in Woodinville, Washington.

  • Koningsdam, 7-day Norse Legends, June 3, 2018, roundtrip Amsterdam, Netherlands

Kara Koh:

Koh is assistant winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and has been with the winery for more than 20 years working in most aspects of the business. Koh regularly shares her knowledge and experience at tastings and wine-pairing meals.

  • Koningsdam, 7-day Norse Legends, July 1, 2018, roundtrip Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tracey Keller:

President and winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Keller oversees the winery operations and collaborates with his winemaking team to develop blends and tastes for the acclaimed winery.

  • Koningsdam, 7-day Viking Sagas, July 22, 2018, roundtrip Amsterdam, Netherlands

During every Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruise, guests can attend cooking, cocktail or wine demonstrations. There will be meet and greet opportunities as well as a chance for photos. Guests can also choose to reserve a table for an intimate reservation-only dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. All events are complimentary excluding the Pinnacle Grill dinner.

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