Holland America Line has opened a new Culinary Training Program, designed in cooperation with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), at its training center in Manila, the Philippines, to train shipboard culinary staff for its expanding fleet of premium cruise ships. Trainees will live at the facility while completing a three-week immersion culinary course.
“Holland America Line is renowned for its culinary expertise and extraordinary food presentations in the dining rooms and many specialty restaurants,” said Richard D. Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Our new culinary training program in Manila will ensure that our culinary and beverage staff continues to raise the bar as we provide outstanding meals and service to our guests.”
The curriculum was designed by the CIA under the direction of a Holland America Line Culinary Operations team lead by Steve Kirsch, director of culinary operations, and Rudi Sodamin, master chef. CIA Master Chef Almir Da Fonseca launched the initial training course in Manila this past fall.
“Those attending the school will receive culinary training as well as specific coursework that covers our upscale Pinnacle Grill restaurants, main dining rooms, renowned Lido Restaurants, specialty lounges and the Tamarind and Canaletto restaurants found currently on our new Signature-class ship, ms Eurodam,” said Meadows. “The CIA curriculum is thorough and means that graduates will arrive on the ships with even greater culinary skills.”
The residential training center located on a hill overlooking Manila also functions as a school for front desk personnel and beverage staff, and has space to conduct leadership and other training classes for crew and officers. A former hotel manager aboard the line’s ships, Brian McNeil serves as director of training at the facility and manages all training programs. Holland America Line corporate trainers facilitate the three-week culinary classes comprised of 20 candidates.
“The residential facility gives us the ability to fully immerse students in their coursework,” Meadows continued. “We were able to design the training areas to give the students a realistic experience that replicates many of the conditions they will encounter when they are assigned to our ships.”
Holland America Line operates a similar residential program in Indonesia at the ms Nieuw Jakarta facility where dining room waiters, housekeeping stewards, clerks and other staff receive training.