Culinary Focus – Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin

With the cruise line industry taking some bad hits lately, becoming late-night TV fodder, and prominently featured in joke line-ups; maybe it’s time to focus on the positive and ask: “ What’s cooking onboard?”
By Michelle M. Winner

Culinary Focus - Holland America Line's Master Chef Rudi Sodamin

Well plenty, at least at Holland America.

Master Chef  Rudi Sodamin, Holland America Line’s Culinary Consultant  has  won many  awards including the coveted “ Best Cruise Line Chef” by Porthole Cruise Magazine. Anyone that has enjoyed his Master Chef’s Dinner in the Pinnacle Grill, another  Porthole aware-winner  as  “Best Culinary Secret Afloat,” understands the culinary acumen and attention to  detail Chef Sodamin instills in his kitchens and the quality of the wine program aboard.

The Master Chef’s Dinner is held in the ships’ Pinnacle  Grill restaurants. They began   aboard the  ms. Nieuw Amsterdam and this is quite the extravaganza. The  seven-course meal for up to 18 guests is an intensely intimate experience in the best possible way.  Each course is served by a member of the dining staff functioning as your  host.  Courses are delectably described and  prepared with ingredients flow-in fresh  and loaded dockside  or  are picked or harvested fresh and loaded on in the  various ports. The ship’s sommelier  has  selected  the wine pairings  and  the elegant table is set with  Holland America signature Versace china and fresh flowers.  It is truly a-not-to-miss experience for one night on board , but you must make reservations well in advance of your sailing. The cost is minimal to the quality, as you have food already included with your cabin fee, but this is well beyond your expectation, so worth the extra.

Chef Sodamin is  an  internationally recognized  food authority and innovator of cruise offerings. Another of his  beautiful restaurant concepts is the award-winning Tamarind, an eclectic southeast and pan-Asia  restaurant featured on several of the ships. Perfect for a change-up in your dining.

If you are able, sign up for Chef Rudi’s  culinary-arts program on board.  It might be hosted by the on-board executive chef,  or even a noted  visiting French Master Chef  like Hervé Laurent. No matter who is teaching and demonstrating live, you will leave with a new skill, a recipe in hand and an appreciation for what distinguished chefs do.

Sodamin is the author of numerous internationally published cookbooks, including “Seduction & Spice” (Rizzoli, 2000) and Holland America Line’s “A Taste of Excellence” (Rizzoli, 2007), “A Taste of Elegance” (Rizzoli, 2009) and “A Taste of Celebration” (Rizzoli, 2010). Not surprisingly Chef Rudi Sodamin belongs to the Academy Culinaire de France, Master Chef Society and Club de Chefs des Chefs.

Sail on!

Note: to celebrate Spring Chef Rudi shares his Chilled Pea Soup  with Chives in the recipe section here at Honest .

Michelle M. Winner

Michelle was born with a fork in her hand. As a culinary travel writer and confirmed foodophile she delights in the world-wide discovery of new flavor profiles, spices, salts and herbs. Based in one of the world's foodie meccas; Portland, Oregon, not far from "Pinot Noir Heaven" Michelle shares food news and chef's recipes. Her photography has appeared in Saveur Magazine and she has contributed culinary travel articles to Forbes online, WSJ online, Business Insider, Condé Nast Digital Media, Islands magazine and many others. A confirmed globetrotter, she still keeps her bags packed and fork in hand (well . . . except through airport security.)

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