Are you a Foodie? Cruise with Culinary & Wine Experts

Are you a Foodie? Cruise with Culinary & Wine Experts

On every Holland America Line cruise, an array of activities are offered to entertain, enlighten and educate guests. From lectures by local historians, martini tastings and On Location events to “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” lessons and Digital Workshop powered by Windows classes, there’s something for everyone.

Guests who enjoy all-things food and wine will delight in the Culinary Arts Center. The theater-style venue and state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen is the ideal setting for hands-on cooking classes, winetasting and mixology lessons, and appearances by special guest chefs. Some of the world’s leading culinary experts join select cruises and perform live cooking shows, book signings and even have special menu offerings.

Ivan Szilak, executive chef of Collections Cafe at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, Wash., recently sailed on Noordam and gave several cooking demonstrations. Szilak’s food is inventive and vibrant, always with an eye on simplicity, seasonality, and a sustainable sensibility.

Chef Szilak during his cooking demonstration in the Culinary Arts Center.

Chef Szilak during his cooking demonstration in the Culinary Arts Center.

Chef Sean Connolly, one of Australia’s and New Zealand’s most well respected and recognized chefs, sailed on Oosterdam and created several of his specialty dishes for guests in the Culinary Arts Center. Here are a couple of his recipes so you can make his dishes at home.

Chef Sean Connolly makes some tasty dishes during his demonstrations.

Chef Sean Connolly makes some tasty dishes during his demonstrations.


400g Cloudy Bay clams
60g jambon ham or prosciutto
1 medium red chilli, finely sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil for sautéing
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 glass white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a pan to medium–high heat. Throw in clams, ham and chilli. Stir briefly then add garlic, parsley, wine, salt and pepper. Place a lid on the clams for a few minutes.

Once the clams are steamed open, place in a terra cotta pot and serve with crusty bread.



Spice Mix
200g plain flour
25g Cajun spice
15g dried dill
10g onion powder
25g cayenne pepper
10g freshly ground black pepper

75 chicken wings (approx. 5kg), meat pulled back over the bone
300ml buttermilk
oil for deep-frying

200ml kecap manis
200ml pomme granite molasses
1–2 tsp dried red chilli flakes (or to taste)

Combine all spice mix ingredients in a small bowl.

Pull the chicken meat and skin back over the bones to make ‘lollipops’. Steam wings until meat is cooked. Cool slightly. Dip chicken ‘lollipops’ into buttermilk and sprinkle with spice mix. Deep-fry until golden and crisp.

Combine kecap manis, molasses and dried red chilli flakes. Serve with chicken ‘lollipops.’

Would you like red or white wine with dinner?
The Culinary Arts Center hosts a variety of experts including wine connoisseurs. On a recent Noordam cruise, “Food and Wine” magazine Senior Wine Editor Megan Krigbaum hosted wine tastings for guests that were entertaining and fun. She encouraged guests to be their own sommelier during her laidback seminar and taught how to taste wine. She then explored the wine-pairing toolbox to figure out some great food matches that work every time.

“Food and Wine” magazine Senior Wine Editor Megan Krigbaum shared her expertise with guests during a tasting on Noordam.

“Food and Wine” magazine Senior Wine Editor Megan Krigbaum shared her expertise with guests during a tasting on Noordam.

Here are some of Megan’s suggestions for fine wine:

Chablis Domaine Laroche 2011
Premier Cru La Chantrerie
Burgundy, France
Food pairing: Salmon Ceviche (bright, tangy)

Eroica Riesling 2012
Chateau St. Michelle & Dr. Loosen
Columbia Valley Washington
Food pairing: Cube of Chicken Breast without skin spiced with curry, broiled (spicy)

Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2010
Dundee Hills Willamette Valley
Food pairing: Duck pate (game)

Col D’Orcia Brunello Di Montalcino 2005
Tuscany, Italy
Food pairing: Avocado (fat)

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut NV
Champagne, France
Food pairing: Cheese Grana Padana (salty)

If you’d like to sail with a notable chef or wine specialist this year, here are some culinary experts that will be onboard:

Sergeant First Class Brad Turner is the original grill sergeant and star of the show by the same name. “Grill Sergeants” airs every week on the Pentagon channel entertaining troops worldwide, and all of the chefs on the show are active-duty military. He will join the Culinary Arts Center in Alaska on ms Oosterdam May 18.

David Crews is the executive chef of Six Shooter Land and Timber. In Aug. 2013, he was crowned “King of American Seafood” when he won The Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans, La. He will be onboard ms Statendam’s seven-day Alaska cruise departing May 25.

Chef Jehangir Mehta.

Chef Jehangir Mehta.

Mumbai-born Jehangir Mehta is a protégé of Jean-Georges, and is the chef/owner of Graffiti in New York City. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Mehta gained national attention as a competitor on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef” followed by “The Next Iron Chef.” He will be joining ms Zaandam’s June 27 Alaska cruise.

Seis Kamimura is executive chef of CenturyLink Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks NFL team. He will be joining the Culinary Arts Center on ms Veendam’s Canada and New England voyage departing July 5.

Catherine Fallis, a.k.a. grape goddess, is an approachable and entertaining wine expert who brings wine down to earth. She is a master sommelier, author and spokesperson for the wine industry, as well as the founder and president of Planet Grape. Fallis will share her expertise in Alaska on ms Maasdam Aug. 9-16.

Chef Jeff Maxfield.

Chef Jeff Maxfield.

Jeff Maxfield will sail through Alaska on ms Westerdam for a seven-day voyage departing Sept. 6. Maxfield is known for creating impeccable local-inspired cuisine as the executive chef at the acclaimed SkyCity Restaurant, a revolving dining room atop the Space Needle in Seattle, Wash.

Kathy Guidi is a leader and innovator in the cheese industry. She holds the title Maitre Fromager, founded the Cheese Education Guild and is president of Artisan Cheese Marketing. Guidi will be on ms Eurodam cruising Canada and New England Sept. 14-24.

Tenney Flynn was called the fishmonger czar of the Gulf region by the Wall Street Journal. He is the chef/owner of GW Fins, a fine dining seafood restaurant in New Orleans. Guests can look for him on ms Amsterdam’s Grand Pacific and Far East Voyage departing Oct. 5.

Chef Alain Bosse. Photo by Christof.

Chef Alain Bosse. Photo by Christof.

Alain Bosse, “The Kilted Chef,” is past president of Taste of Nova Scotia and current president of Alain Bosse Consulting. He also is the food editor for Saltscape Magazine. Bosse will be on ms Maasdam’s Alaska cruise departing Oct. 18.

Bob Hart is the author of Heat and Smoke and founder of the Australian Barbecue Academy. He will be joining ms Oosterdam in his home-region of Australia and New Zealand Oct. 24.

Neil Fuentes, aka the “Singing Chef,” is a culinary educator and television personality. Recently he appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped” and is a regular contributor to Connecticut Style WTNH. He will sail on Nieuw Amsterdam’s eastern Caribbean cruise departing Dec. 7.

For a complete list of 2014 chefs, click HERE.

However, if a guest chef is not sailing on your cruise, don’t worry! Every Holland America Line voyage offers culinary demonstrations by one of our own expert chefs. You’ll learn the secrets to our dishes, as well as insight into how to create some of Le Cirques’ famous offerings.

What guest chef or wine expert would you like to sail with and learn their tips? Tell us in the comments below


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