HAL Culinary Council gets major boost

Premium cruise line Holland America is ramping up its foodie credentials with a new member of it’s acclaimed International Culinary Council and a new wine curator. In addition, these food and wine experts will now play an even bigger role in designing the onboard dining experience too.

Holland America’s new wine curator is World-renowned wine critic James Suckling. His brief is to curate an extensive new wine list which will be featured across the Holland America Line fleet.

James Suckling has been appointed HAL wine curator.

James Suckling has been appointed HAL wine curator.

Suckling, who estimates that he’s tasted close to 200,000 wines in his career, aims to reshape the Holland America cellar. It currently includes some 300 different labels from 30 countries.

When his new wine list is complete a large majority of the selection will have an impressive rating of 90 points or higher – based on Suckling’s own 100-point scale.

Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, proudly welcomed Suckling’s appointment as wine curator. “It is an honour to welcome James Suckling as our wine curator, and we know he’s going to create an unrivalled list”, he said.

Joining the HAL Culinary Council is master sushi chef Andy Matsuda. He’s no stranger to Holland America Line, indeed he’s been sharing his knowledge with the onboard chefs since 2016.

Andy Matsuda, part of the HAL Culinary Council.

Andy Matsuda, part of the HAL Culinary Council.

Now he’ll have a more hands on role, overseeing the award-winning Asian-fusion cuisine in the line’s Tamarind restaurant. Matsuda will also establish a separate sushi bar called Nami Sushi on the yet to be launch Nieuw Statendam.

The Culinary Council is led by Holland America Line’s master chef Rudi Sodamin. He is now joined by Matsuda as well as international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner, Ethan Stowell and Jacques Torres.

Together they have been charged with creating elevated onboard dining experiences, and each has been given a particular area of focus.

New dining highlights are sure to include Jonnie Boer’s special “Taste of De Librije” evenings in the Pinnacle Grill (on select voyages). The master chef will showcase the flavours of his internationally acclaimed restaurant, De Librije.

Langoustine as served in De Librije. (Image: De Librije)

Langoustine as served in De Librije. (Image: De Librije)

Guests are also sure to appreciate Elizabeth Falkner’s fresh new variety of lighter fare which will be introduced to dining venues across the fleet.

“Having seven world-class chefs enables us to cover our entire dining program and utilise their collective passion and creativity so all guests can enjoy their cuisine”, said Orlando Ashford.

Holland America Line guests will notice the dining enhancements as they are rolled out across the fleet in 2018. Visit the HAL website for more information.

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