Cruise line Holland America is well known for their high quality service and interesting ports of call worldwide. As many ships are trying to impress passengers with non-stop activities, one thing is a sure bet, the meals onboard a Holland America ship just keeps getting better.

Caribbean Jerk Chicken

Elizabeth Falkner has taken the helm as the line’s first female associate of the cruise line’s esteemed Culinary Council. She comes with strong credentials as a celebrity chef by jump starting her culinary career with pastries and excelling all the way to gourmet cuisine. Falkner has served as both a contestant and judge on “Next Iron Chef” and has appeared on many other TV ‘foodie’ shows.

Nominated for the highly prestigious James Beard Award as “Pastry Chef of the Year” in 2005, she has penned some her favourite dishes with “Demolition Desserts”. Inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012, she is part of a new restaurant, Corvo Bianco, in New York. Chef Elizabeth Falkner has spiced up Holland America’s menu with passengers giving rave reviews for her touch of Cajun influenced dishes aboard the cruise line’s fleet of fifteen ships.

Elizabeth Falkner

Many of the ships’ exquisite menus are inspired by not only Falkner, but the likes of the “Best Cruise Line Chef” as named by Porthole Cruise Magazine, Master Chef Rudi Sodamin.  Completing the well renowned members of the Culinary Council are Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Jacques Torres and Charlie Trotter, with each supplying their signature dishes to the carte du jour.

But that’s not all when it comes to food aboard a Holland America ship. An enrichment program of the Culinary Arts Centre, presented by Food & Wine magazine is available on all ships.

This exciting event has been specifically designed to resemble a “world class show kitchen at sea” and it is used for many purposes including cooking shows, wine tastings, hands-on cooking classes and wine and beverages presentations. Famous celebrity chefs, wine experts and leading cookbook authors are onboard to teach guests the tools of the trade and also offer private classes.

Culinary Council

All in all, there were over 60 celebrated chefs and wine experts that have sailed since the program began.  These are just some on the ones who made an appearance.

Kaushik Chowdhury: Kaushik certainly knows his way around a baking environment as he was executive pastry chef at the luxurious JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa for many years. His skills have been shown by the numerous awards he has won for his baked goods, such as first place in the Food Network’s Sugar Showdown competition.

Sean Connolly: Hailing from Yorkshire in the UK, Connolly is a celebrity chef that famously earned his chef’s hat after leading his team to glory in Star City’s Astral. He held the position for 5 years, from 2007 to 2011. He successfully transformed the restaurant into one of Sydney’s top fine-dining venues.

Catherine Ann “Cat” Cora: Perhaps best known for her appearance on reality shows such as “Iron Chef” and “Around the World in 80 Plates”, Cora certainly brings top-shelf flair to the program. In the culinary world, Cora is the proud owner/chef of Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora, which is located in the S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore.

With the culinary focused agenda being such a success, Holland America has expanded its program for the younger generation.  A Youth Culinary Arts Centre activity program, like its adult equivalent, teaches both children and teenagers how to cook all different varieties of recipes in 45 minute classes.

The Holland America Line’s Culinary Council member’s selections for dining and the Culinary Arts Centre for learning from the best are rivalling 5-star ultra luxury cruise holidays.

Images courtesy of Holland America

Written by Veronica Shine