A Holland America Line Thanksgiving: Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Turkeys and Rudi Sodamin’s Gourmet Menu

This week is Thanksgiving in the United States. Households around the country will be filled with incredible aromas of holiday staples like turkey, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie. Guests on a Holland America Line ship also will be in for a culinary celebration as they indulge in gourmet dishes designed by our own Master Chef Rudi Sodamin. The tantalizing menu will feature an array of traditional and more contemporary specialties, including appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, desserts and Thanksgiving-themed cocktails.

But before Sodamin put together the festive menu, he and Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford visited fellow Culinary Council member chocolatier Jacques Torres at his chocolate factory. The two were quickly in the holiday spirit after seeing how Torres makes his own Thanksgiving specialty — you guessed it, chocolate turkeys! See the video below.

After the tour it was time for Sodamin to get back to work. He created the special menu with his own traditions in mind, having grown up in a large family in Austria where holiday meals were meaningful. After Sodamin moved to New York to work at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, he learned about Thanksgiving and all of the menu staples that come with it.

“Creating a spectacular Thanksgiving menu for my own family, and for every Holland American Line guest, is a project close to my heart,” said Sodamin. “Our guests chose to share this special holiday with us onboard, and I want to be sure that they have a memorable meal with classic favorites, as well as dishes with some modern twists.”

If you’re not going to be onboard and want to make one of Chef Rudi’s recipes at home, try one of the delicious dishes that add a gourmet touch to your Thanksgiving menu.


TIP: For a touch of elegance, top this creamy and flavorful carrot soup with some cooked, diced lobster meat.

4 to 6 servings

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups diced carrots
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
Pinch ground cumin
Pinch smoked paprika (optional)
4 cups low-sodium store-bought chicken broth or stock, or homemade
1/2 cup light cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent but not browned, about five minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and cook, stirring, for three minutes. Add the cumin, smoked paprika (if using) and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the carrots are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the soup to cool for 10 minutes.

2. Prepare a large bowl of ice water; set aside. Transfer the soup in two batches to a blender and puree until smooth, adding half the cream to each batch. (When pureeing hot soups, fill the container no more than halfway and release one corner of the lid to prevent a vacuum effect. Place a kitchen towel over the top of the machine while you pulse.) Immediately strain each batch through a fine sieve into a metal bowl. Season with salt and white pepper. Place the metal bowl into the bowl of ice water to chill the soup quickly, stirring every 15 minutes or so. When it is chilled, cover and refrigerate until it is completely cold, about one hour. (The soup can be kept this way for up to two days. If necessary, thin it with additional stock before serving.)

3. To serve, divide the cold soup among chilled soup bowls. Garnish with the parsley or cilantro sprigs and serve.

NOTE: When reheating, be sure to bring the soup up to a temperature of 165°F very quickly and then serve immediately. If serving cold, keep the temperature below 41°F.


Tip: This chutney is delicious with game birds and ham, and even when served with cheeses.

2 cups

6 mandarin oranges or tangerines
1 large red onion, chopped
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 ounces (3/4 cup) dried cranberries
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch ground allspice
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted and chopped


1. With a fine grater, zest the oranges and set the zest aside. With a sharp knife, trim the top and bottom from each orange. Stand them upright and cut downward to remove the inner rind and pith in thick strips. Discard the rind and pith. Working over a bowl, cut between the membranes of each orange to release the segments. Cut the largest segments in half crosswise. Cover the orange segments with plastic wrap and reserve.

2. In a large saucepan, combine the reserved orange zest and all the ingredients except for the reserved orange segments and almonds. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium-low; simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the reserved orange segments and their juice and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the chutney is thick, about 10 minutes. Mix in the almonds. Transfer the chutney to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold, about three hours. (The chutney will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week.)



No need to choose between pumpkin and pecan over the holidays — here’s a pie to please everyone who craves traditional desserts!

6 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled vegetable shortening

2 cups pureed pumpkin, canned or fresh made
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 (13-ounce) can evaporated milk

Crunchy Pecan and Walnut Topping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Pie Shell
1. In a cup, mix 6 tablespoons water with ice and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Using your fingertips, a pastry blender or two knives, work the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a food processor, using short pulses.)

2. With a fork, stir in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, using only as much as needed to gather the mixture into a soft ball. Pat the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to three days.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a round about 1/8 inch thick. Drape the dough over a rolling pin and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. Fold the edge under and crimp. Place the pie shell in the freezer for 20 minutes.

1. Heat the oven to 425°F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, spices, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat in the eggs and evaporated milk until thoroughly combined.

2. Pour the pumpkin filling into the prepared pie shell and jiggle the pan gently to level out the top. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted halfway between the center and edges comes out clean. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Crunchy Pecan and Walnut Topping
Heat the broiler. In a small bowl, combine all the topping ingredients. Mix with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the pie and place it under broiler about 5 inches from the heat source until the mixture begins to bubble, about one minute. Let the pie cool to room temperature before serving.

About the Culinary Council:
The Holland America Line Culinary Council is an innovative team of top-name chefs from around the world assembled to guide and enhance all aspects of the shipboard culinary experience. The Culinary Council enriches Holland America Line’s culinary initiatives and presents signature recipes that are featured in all dining venues on all 15 cruise ships.

Culinary Council members include Council Chairman and Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, along with renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres.

In addition to these sweet treats, Holland America Line is sweetening the 30 Days of Savings promotion with a special Thanksgiving offer with an up to $600 onboard credit! But this only runs through Nov. 30 so be sure to book your cruise before the savings are gone as quickly as Rudi’s pumpkin pie!

Are you going to make one of these recipes? If you do, be sure to snap a photo and send it into the blog at info@hollandamerica.com so we can feature it on social media! Happy Thanksgiving!


Join the Discussion


  1. Joseph Wakeman November 25, 2015 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    I would welcome the peacan/pumpkin pie receipe

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