New ‘Culinary Cruises’ Feature Celebrity Culinary Council Chefs

Foodies and culinary novices alike, who are ready for a gastronomic adventure can set sail on a Holland America Line “Culinary Cruise” in 2022 with a member from the line’s Culinary Council. The celebrity chefs will share their expertise and secrets on everything from the correct way to make a sushi roll and how to perfectly temper chocolate to preparing seafood and creating a delicious sauce.

During each “Culinary Cruise,” guests will have the opportunity to attend cooking demonstrations led by the chefs, bring home recipes from each presentation and join an intimate reservation-only dinner at Pinnacle Grill, Rudi’s Sel de Mer or Nami Sushi, depending on the chef. Culinary Council chef signature dishes will be highlighted when available on all restaurant menus during the cruises.

“Holland America Line’s culinary program is guided by some of the world’s foremost talents, and no other cruise line has this level of experience from such a team of experts,” said Michael Stendebach, vice president of food, beverage and guest services, Holland America Line. “It’s not every day you learn a recipe directly from the famous chef who created it and hear their secrets to success in the kitchen. We have been eager to reengage our talented Culinary Council chefs to come back on board and offer guests this exclusive level of access.”

Holland America Line’s Culinary Council comprises a collection of elite chefs who bring global influence to the dining experience across the fleet. In addition to their featured recipes in the various on-board venues, one evening in the Dining Room on every cruise a special menu offers a collection of dishes from the Culinary Council members.


Ethan Stowell cooking demo

Ethan Stowell
• Westerdam, 7-Day Alaskan Explorer, Sept. 11-18, 2022, roundtrip from Seattle, Washington.

Stowell incorporates the flavors of the Pacific Northwest on ships sailing in that region, using fresh, sustainably sourced Alaska seafood. His fare also is featured at New York Pizza and Lido Market across the fleet. Stowell is founder and CEO of ESR with an impressive roster of highly acclaimed restaurants. He was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine magazine and one of the Best New Chef All-Stars.

Jacques Torres
• Zaandam, 9-Day The Atlantic Coast, Oct. 1-10, 2022, from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A French-trained master chef and artisan chocolatier, Torres guides chocolate desserts as well as the Chocolate Surprise Dessert Parade on board. After rising to executive pastry chef at New York’s legendary Le Cirque, he opened a chocolate factory and retail stores throughout New York. The James Beard Award winner is co-host and head judge on the Netflix culinary show “Nailed It” with Nicole Byer.

Jacques Torres kitchen

Rudi Sodamin
• Koningsdam, 7-Day Mexican Riviera, Nov. 12-19, 2022, roundtrip from San Diego, California.

As Holland America Line’s master chef and Culinary Council chairman, Austrian-born Sodamin oversees all aspects of shipboard dining. Rudi’s Sel de Mer is his namesake French seafood brasserie on board. His latest culinary masterpiece is an art table book called “Food Faces” that features more than 150 images of edible creations.

David Burke
• Nieuw Amsterdam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Dec. 4-11, 2022, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

Burke enhances the menu at Pinnacle Grill, adding contemporary flavors and signature recipes. He recently opened five new restaurants, including Orchard Park by David Burke. During the pandemic, Burke’s #FeedtheHeroes program cooked and delivered 100,000 meals to frontline workers and charities. He has been featured on “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters.”

Andy Matsuda
• Nieuw Statendam, 10-Day Southern Caribbean Seafarer, Dec. 17-27, 2022, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

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

All events are complimentary excluding the specialty dinner. Each chef will be aboard their designated “Culinary Cruise” for four to 10 days.


Join the Discussion


  1. Kenneth Dick May 9, 2023 at 11:44 am - Reply

    In earlier reply to comment HAL advised that no Culinary Council cruises planned for 2023/2024. But, per Facebook posts it looks like David Burke conducted one in April. Are there now Culinary Council cruises planned? If so, when? Any decision on resuming Cellarmaster Dinners?

  2. Kenneth Dick March 14, 2023 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Has HAL considered culinary experiences for those of us unable to take one of these limited cruises? America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) – gone. Special dining experiences (ie Cellarmaster Dinner, similar) – gone; at least per the Cellarmaster on the Westerdam in January. Same from Pinnacle staff on our current cruise and in June. In the case of ATK it can’t be due to lack of passenger interest; standing room only every previous cruise. And, before ATK when the ship’s Culinary staff put on demonstrations.

    • Kenneth Dick March 22, 2023 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Following-up: Per current Cellarmaster, now limiting Cellarmaster’s Dinner to longer cruises – WHY? Per him HAL has also discontinued the remaining specialty “pop-up” dinners, once again – WHY (when other cruise lines are expanding their specialty dining options. As for onboard experiences onboard during sea days – fewer and fewer. If my 19-day Sydney-to-Singapore cruise is any indication, I’d be bored on one of the longer cruises HAL is offering, unless you’re expanding activities from things like “Coloring for Adults” or shopping “opportunities”. So: (1) what (if anything) is HAL planning for future culinary experiences (dining, classes, tastings), and (2) is HAL expanding onboard Sea Day activities?

    • Kenneth Dick April 8, 2023 at 12:56 am - Reply

      Per HAL Guest Services/Reservations = no Culinary cruises currently planned for 2023/2024. Disappointing. Also, apparently not planning any culinary classes; also disappointing.

  3. Donald Scott September 18, 2022 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Love this idea. Was already booked on Koningsdam for November 12-19. Reserved for the ‘Aficionado Dinner with Rudi Sodamin’ the moment I saw it. Excited for the cruise and this curated meal is a great bonus!

  4. Kenneth Dick September 1, 2022 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Is this the first announcement of these cruises? If so, why announce only a few days or months before the cruises? It makes it almost impossible to plan and book – if this is the specialty cruise that interests you. And, I would have been interested (I attended every America’s Test Kitchen session offered when I cruised). Do you know the 2023 and 2024 Culinary Cruises are or will be scheduled?

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