Catch Up With the Crew: Meet Pam, Executive Pastry Chef

Holland America Line pastry crew in uniform with executive pastry chef.

Sugar and spice make everything nice, especially when you’re the fleet executive pastry chef for Holland America Line. Though Pam joined our cruise family in 2010, she’s been baking up joy in the kitchen since she was 12.

“Both my grandmothers were great cooks, so I would always see them preparing special dishes. We also used to sell pastries using our family recipes, so that definitely was one of my major influences.” Born in the Philippines and growing up in the U.S., Pam has had recipes from generations passed down to her. Those are some of her greatest treasures.

Image of Holland America Line executive pastry chef in black top.

“Most Filipinos love to cook. One of the first things we ask when people visit our homes is ‘Kumain ka na ba?’ That means “Have you eaten?”

Delicious dishes became her passion, and she soon discovered her sweet spot: pastries. When she’s not designing recipes, cooking up tasty treats on board or training culinary crew members at the Holland America Line Training Center in Antipolo, she’s baking in her own kitchen. Music, cute cookware, amazing aprons and pretty packaging for goodie storage are must-haves in her house.

One of her favorite desserts is Sans Rival Cake, a recipe from the Philippines that layers buttercream, meringue and chopped cashews. She put it on the menu for guests to enjoy during Cake Me Away, a new Lido Market dessert celebration on cruises that are seven or more days in duration. Though you can find tasty five-layer cakes featuring 12 decadent flavors, the Sans Rival Cake has special meaning to her.

“It’s one of the first cakes I learned how to make because it was my mom’s favorite. She passed away in 2016, and making it always reminds me of her.” The kitchen was a place of happiness for Pam and her mom, and she continues to share that happiness everywhere she bakes. “What I love most about being a pastry chef is seeing the joy on other people’s faces when they try our desserts.”

View of Holland America Line cakes at Lido Market.
These are just some of the beautifully decorated cakes at the “Cake Me Away” event in the Lido Market.

She also loves working with her culinary and pastry crew, watching them excel in their careers. They’re not just colleagues – they’re family. Together, they have delighted guests around the world. Though she has traveled the globe, her favorite destinations to visit with Holland America Line are Italy, Turkey, Japan and South Africa. She loves trying new dishes when exploring the ports.

Recognizing how much she has sailed the seas, we asked her to share some cruise tips for our guests. Her recommendations include booking a great shore excursion, trying local cuisine, getting a keepsake to remember the journey, and of course, relishing onboard pastries.

Now for a Quick Cruise Q&A:

Favorite Dining Venue On Board: “Eating at Tamarind is always a favorite of mine.”

Favorite Place for Lunch: “Lido Market and Dive In.”

Favorite Onboard Activity: “Cooking demos!”

Thank you for sharing your Holland America Line story with us, Pam. We wish you a safe and pastry-pleasant journey to your next destination.


Join the Discussion

One Comment

  1. Patrice Pallone December 13, 2023 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    My husband & I had the pleasure of chatting with Pam on the Nieuw Statendam, recently, when she & some of her colleagues were visiting/working on several Hal ships. She told us about some of the exciting plans for new desserts on HAL ships. What an impressive & friendly ambassador for HAL!

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