Taking chefs from kitchens and restaurants all around the country and placing them aboard Holland America Line ships, the line’s Culinary Arts Center program continues to flourish.  Since its inception four years ago, the program has nearly doubled with more than 70 culinary experts participating in the ongoing 2008 season including cookbook authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, on Holland America Line’s new ms Eurodam.

“The Culinary Arts Center is a guest favorite,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs.  “We will continue to expand the program and provide our guests with the culinary experiences that have made it such a success.”

Holland America Line launched its innovative culinary program in 2005 with the installation of state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Centers aboard each of its premium ships offering culinary demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes.  The line expanded the program by partnering with Food & Wine magazine to provide guests on select cruises the opportunity to experience demonstrations and seminars conducted by a wide diversity of culinary experts.

A new addition to the 2008 season is Eric Villegas, host of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series, Fork in the Road, who is scheduled to sail aboard the ms Veendam June 13-20th.

The Culinary Arts Program includes cookbook authors as well as wine and spirits experts such as master mixologists Christy Pope and Chad Solomon. Other participating chefs and experts in the continuing 2008 season include:
·    Sally Bernstein, Restaurant Critic and Culinary Educator (San Francisco) sailing on ms Zaandam June 8 -15.
·    Chef Gustav Mauler from Amsterdam-Dover sailing on ms Prinsendam July 3 -17.
·    Pichet Ongvasit of Copenhagen sailing on ms Rotterdam July 16 -28.
·    Johnny Iuzzini, Executive Pastry Chef, Jean Georges (NY) aboard ms Noordam July 26 - August 5.
·    Max McCalman of Artisanal Cheese (NY) sailing on ms Noordam August 5 -15.
·    Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of the “Ultimate” cookbook series sailing on ms Eurodam August 14 - 29.
·    Mark Frasier and Clark Gaier from Mediterranean (Venice) sail on ms Zuiderdam September 17 - 29.
·    James Mazzio, Executive Chef, Via (Denver, CO) and Food and Wine’s Best New Chef 1999 sailing on ms Amsterdam September 19 - October 22.
·    Harold Dieterle, Perilla (NY) and Top Chef Season 1 Winner will be aboard ms Amsterdam October 22 - November 4.

In addition to partnering with Food & Wine to secure top experts, Holland America Line showcases its own culinary stars on more than 500 annual cruises with demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes given by the ships’ executive chefs and culinary staff. The line’s cookbook A Taste of Excellence, written by Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, offers guests preparation techniques for some of Holland America’s most delectable dishes and lavish libations as part of the Culinary Arts Center experience.

A state-of-the-art “show kitchen at sea,” the Culinary Arts Centers resemble the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs.  Each facility features a theater-style venue, with two large video screens to display overhead and close-up video views of food preparation, and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn from the masters.  Culinary demonstrations also are filmed and aired on in-stateroom televisions.  Holland America Line invested more than $13 million to create and install the Culinary Arts Center facilities on each of its ships as part of the Signature of Excellence initiative and has invested more than $425 million to date in product and service enhancements.

The newest ship to join the fleet, the 2,104-guest ms Eurodam, launches in July 2008 and will feature three new dining venues: Tamarind, the Asian restaurant; Canaletto, the Italian restaurant and Slice, an all-day pizza outlet.