Holland America Line partners with America’s Test Kitchen

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From left, HAL president Orlando Ashford, HAL cooking instructor Barbara Mills Schuchardt and America's Test Kitchen host Julia Collin Davison preparing dumplings at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York on Tuesday.
From left, HAL president Orlando Ashford, HAL cooking instructor Barbara Mills Schuchardt and America's Test Kitchen host Julia Collin Davison preparing dumplings at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

NEW YORK — Holland America Line will partner with the popular public TV cooking show “America’s Test Kitchen” to provide cooking demonstrations and lessons on its ships.

The two announced their collaboration at a news briefing at the Institute of Culinary Education in lower Manhattan.

Culinary courses will begin on the Westerdam on Oct. 18  and on the Nieuw Amsterdam on Nov. 13. The program will be on all ships by June 2017, said HAL entertainment director Bill Prince.

America’s Test Kitchen is seen primarily on PBS stations and is “by far” the top-rated cooking show on public television, America’s Test Kitchen chief creative officer Jack Bishop said.

America’s Test Kitchen also has a second show, “Cook’s Country,” and publishes magazines under the Cook’s Country name and Cook’s Illustrated. A website with recipes and product tests has 400,000 paid subscribers.

America’s Test Kitchen’s hallmark is a scientific approach to recipes. “People pay for our recipes because we do test them to the nth degree,” Bishop said. He said each published recipe is tested between 40 and 60 times at an average cost of $10,000.

He said readily available ingredients are another hallmark of the show. “We want to present dishes the home cook can make whether they are in Sheboygan or here in New York City,” Bishop said.

For HAL, America’s Test Kitchen will offer two styles of classes — a large demonstration class for up to 200 people at a time, and small classes of a half-dozen or so guests who will learn hands-on to perfect cake decorating or to make fresh pasta.

America’s Test Kitchen will train a group of instructors for the programs on Holland America Line ships, Bishop said. Cooks and personalities from the TV show will make appearances on select cruises. TV shows will not be broadcast from the ships.

HAL will remodel areas on all of its ships to accommodate the new courses.

Prince said HAL is retaining its partnership with Food & Wine magazine, but that it will be modified, with details to come soon.  The recently completed Culinary Arts Center on the new Koningsdam will be tweaked slightly to reflect the America’s Test Kitchen brand but be largely the same, Prince said.

Late last year, America’s Test Kitchen lost its founder and best-known personality, Christopher Kimball, after a contract dispute.

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