‘Top Chef’ Winner Kristen Kish Joins Holland America Line’s Award-Winning Culinary Council

Holland America Line is adding “Top Chef” season 10 winner and acclaimed restaurateur Kristen Kish to its award-winning Culinary Council — a collection of elite, international celebrity chefs who bring global influence to dining experiences across the fleet.

Kish’s playful yet refined cuisine will be featured on the menus in the Dining Room, showcasing French and Italian traditions with a nod to her world travels and diverse upbringing. Kish’s dishes also will be featured exclusively at Pinnacle Gala, a new, luxurious pop-up dining experience in Pinnacle Grill for cruises of 10 days or longer. The Pinnacle Gala will deliver an exquisite experience for guests to delight in an exceptional, multi-course, dinner event where the ambiance and settings are as refined as the cuisine.

“Kristen is one of the most talented, authentic and genuinely respected personalities in the culinary world, and she is the perfect complement to Holland America Line’s Culinary Council,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “We set out to bring together a diverse group of renowned chefs to guide our menus and wow our guests in every dining venue on board. They each excel in their own specialty; so whether it’s appetizers, main courses, or dessert, our guests are going to have a memorable and elevated experience.”

Kish recently partnered with Sydell Group to launch her first restaurant, Arlo Grey, in Austin, Texas. The restaurant melds Kish’s precise technique and experience with a nostalgia for dishes from her upbringing, world travels and the bountiful ingredients of Central Texas.

Kristen Kish

Kish was born in South Korea and adopted into a family in Kentwood, Michigan. She showed an affinity for cooking at a young age and attended the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Chicago, Illinois.

Early in her career, Kish worked in many high-profile restaurants including Michelin-star Chef Guy Martin’s Sensing and Barbara Lynch’s Stir. Kish competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef” season 10, filmed in Seattle, where she won the coveted title, becoming the second female to win the prestigious competition. She went on to become chef de cuisine at Menton, a Relais & Chateaux restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, and left in 2014 to travel the world and write a cookbook.

Kish was co-host of “36 Hours,” a Travel Channel show that partnered with The New York Times to bring the hit newspaper column to television. She also toured with her first cookbook – “Kristen Kish Cooking” – which launched in 2017.

About Holland America Line’s Culinary Council
The Culinary Council is led by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, who is joined by international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Andy Matsuda, Ethan Stowell, Jacques Torres and now Kristen Kish. Holland America Line also collaborates with wine critic James Suckling to develop its wine lists and master mixologist Dale DeGroff on its cocktail program.

Sodamin oversees all aspects of onboard dining, in addition to Rudi’s Sel de Mer; Boer brings the flavors of his internationally acclaimed restaurant, De Librije, onboard select sailings through Taste of De Librije evenings in Pinnacle Grill; Burke enhances the menu at Pinnacle Grill, adding contemporary flavors and new signature recipes; Matsuda leads the sushi offerings in Lido Market, Tamarind and Nami Sushi; Stowell incorporates the flavors of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest on board ships sailing in that region, and several of his recipes are featured at New York Pizza and Lido Market on all ships; and Torres guides chocolate desserts as well as the Chocolate Surprise Dessert Parade.


Join the Discussion


  1. Mary Harrison March 22, 2023 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    I cruised on a B2B cruise in January, 2023. Cruise booking# XWWT9Q . Why didn’t we have a Pinnacle Gala? The entire cruise was 24 days. The Hawaii portion certainly qualified for the gala. Very disappointed.

  2. Mary December 28, 2019 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to this addition! When will be see Chef Kish’s dishes onboard? Which ship first?

  3. Bill December 18, 2019 at 12:23 am - Reply

    So basically the only place her dishes will be served will be at a (presumably) higher priced special dinner at Pinnacle Grill? And if we don’t want to pay that or don’t like that menu, no change to the current offerings? I will be on Koningsdam in a couple of weeks for a 10 night cruise but did not see this listed on my dining options.

  4. Louis Beaudry October 23, 2019 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Sorry. Did not mean to be pushy and thank you for your reply.

  5. Louis Beaudry October 18, 2019 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    So I guess I will not be getting a reply to my previous question, a totally valid question whether you like it or not. Why ask for comments if you only post the favourable ones?

    Louis Beaudry
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    October 15, 2019 at 4:21 pm
    Not for or against tattoos; that is a personal decision. But I have heard from several HAL employees that they have to be covered up while they are at work. Will she be asked to cover hers for demonstrations, etc?

  6. Louis Beaudry October 15, 2019 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Not for or against tattoos; that is a personal decision. But I have heard from several HAL employees that they have to be covered up while they are at work. Will she be asked to cover hers for demonstrations, etc?

  7. Elizabeth Lands October 15, 2019 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to trying these additions on our upcoming cruises. Love the cuisine on Holland America and this will enhance it further !

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