Last spring celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner became the newest — and first female — member of Holland America Line’s Culinary Council, a group of acclaimed chefs from around the world. Now, guests can sample Falkner’s menu additions aboard the Holland America Line ships.
The new dishes will be featured on the main dining room menu of the line’s 15 ships, continuing a tradition of culinary excellence. In addition to Falkner, Holland America Line’s Culinary Council members include Council Chairman and Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, along with renowned chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Jacques Torres and Charlie Trotter. From Torres’ chocolate desserts to Burke’s spice-crusted prime rib, each of the Culinary Council members has contributed signature dishes to Holland America Line’s menus.
“Day to day I’m working with Italian cuisine, which I love, but with Holland America Line’s Culinary Council I have the opportunity to continue to explore different flavors and to reach a broader audience,” said Falkner. “It’s an interesting process to adapt my recipes to the shipboard environment; I had a lot of fun with it.”
Among the flavors that Falkner is working with, guests can count on a little spice, whether it is from the Cajun-inspired Shrimp, Andouille and Grits served with braised okra and roasted poblano peppers, or the Asian influences in the Vegetable Curry with Forbidden Rice and Soft Shell Crab Pad Thai.
Not all of Falkner’s dishes have heat. A taste of Piedmont surfaces in Falkner’s Radicchio Salad with Warm Bagna Cauda, a play on the Italian regional dish served with toasted hazelnut and a warm dressing of anchovy, garlic and truffle oil.
“Chef Falkner has brought some phenomenal dishes to our menus, and we are fortunate to have her on the council,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “She has a great sensibility when it comes to both flavors and textures, and I think guests will enjoy her fresh approach.”
Characterized by her spiky blond hair, Falkner stepped into the national spotlight as a competitor on television shows like “Next Iron Chef” and “Top Chef Masters.” Currently she’s at the helm of Luis Gonzalez’s new Upper West Side restaurant, Corvo Bianco. Before delving into the savory side of the industry, she was a celebrated pastry chef based in San Francisco, Calif., with a James Beard nomination for pastry chef of the year in 2005 and a successful cookbook, “Demolition Desserts,” that was a finalist for the Julia Child Best First Cookbook award in 2008. In December 2012, she was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.