You won't find any wow-factor features
like a bowling alley on Holland America ships, but the line is
betting that passengers will be wowed by its culinary program.
The $13 million
HAL spent on installing Culinary Arts Centers on each of its 13
ships might not be much of a gamble. A recent study by the Travel
Industry Association said that an increasing number of travelers
are focusing their vacations on food and wine.
million travelers, or 17% of U.S. leisure travelers, specifically
sought culinary and wine-related activities while
jumped on the chuck wagon a while ago, but HAL has made it a
centerpiece of its onboard experience.
partnership with Food and Wine magazine, HAL designed its Culinary
Arts Program, which will bring 52 "celebrated chefs, wine experts
and cookbook authors" onto its ships to offer culinary
demonstrations, cooking classes and programs.
The chefs will
offer hour-long culinary demonstrations during sea days that will
be broadcast in all staterooms throughout the cruise.
with a maximum of 12 people per class go for $29 per person. HAL
said the classes sell out fast. Each chef crafts a different
culinary experience. One might include a trip ashore to a regional
market to buy ingredients for a recipe. One might include an
excursion to a vineyard or restaurant.
At a culinary
demonstration last month in New York on the Noordam, it was clear
where HAL spent the bulk of its investment. The million-dollar
centers are made to look like television cooking show kitchens, and
The kitchen is on
a stage, equipped with a Wolf Range and Sub-Zero refrigerator. Two
large, plasma screens show close-ups of the counter where guest
chefs do their thing.
demonstration HAL brought mixologist Julie Reiner from New York's
Flatiron Lounge, who got things going by making a Juniper Breeze, a
concoction blending grapefruit juice, gin and some other splashes,
including elderberry cordial.
Reiner will be on
the Rotterdam's 16-day European Capitals cruise leaving May
Next up was one
of HAL's executive chefs, Raymond Southern, who put together some
complicated appetizers with ingredients like sambal oelek, a spicy
condiment used in Asian dishes, and five-spice powder, also used in
from New York might find these ingredients with ease, but elsewhere
in the country, it may require some online savvy.
The crowd was
intrigued by Southern's tea-smoked scallops napoleon with fiesta
salsa and espresso jelly -- yes, a jelly flavored with espresso --
and a Japanese-Peruvian spiced tuna ceviche with hot sesame leche
de tigre, or tiger's milk.
At a lunch
following the demo, guests were able to try his creations as part
of a menu at the Pinnacle Grill, one of the Noordam's onboard
restaurants. Southern said that it is common for the dishes from
the cooking demos and classes to show up on menus at the Pinnacle
Grill and the main dining rooms.
For a full lineup
of chefs, wine connoisseurs and cookbook authors who will be
sailing with HAL this season, go to www.hollandamerica.com/signatureofexcellence/culinaryartscenter.do.
To contact reporter Johanna Jainchill, send e-mail to [email protected].