Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 116
Holland America Line
>> Vice President of Food and Beverage Frits van der Werff
looks for ways to push the envelope in Holland America
Line's operations. Its new Rudi's Sel de Mer (left) offers
French seafood with a twist.
mission statement of "Refining Food
and Beverage Experiences," he says.
"Refining implies elegance and that we
are on the journey from good to great.
It implies we already do lots of things
very well now and are focused on getting it as great as we can."
Experiences, he notes, encompass
everything in the food and beverage
program, ranging from food quality to
service to creativity in the menu. "In
the end, we are selling experiences," he
says. "So our mission is to continuously
deliver high-value experiences for all of
the stakeholders: guests, crew and Carnival Corp. shareholders."
Refining the Vision
Recently, Holland America Line took
its 38 chefs to a conference in Puerto
Vallarta, Mexico, with the goal of refining its culinary vision. Although its food
and beverage program is recognized as
industry leading, "There is still so much
more we can do," van der Werff says.
"We're focused on getting it as great
as we can," he states. "We ask, 'Is this
new experience we're developing making it better?' If it isn't, we're not doing
it.' These questions come up in everything we're doing in refining our food
and beverage experiences."
van der Werff also looks for ways
to push the envelope, including hiring
food and beverage talent from outside
the cruise industry. "[That helps] us get
out of our comfort zone and helps us
push our boundaries to wow and surprise guests," he says. "That is really
the key going forward."
Holland America Line recently wowed
guests with its new Rudi's Sel de Mer,
a seafood brasserie that offers French
seafood with a contemporary twist.
The concept debuted on the company's ms Koningsdam vessel, with a
menu featuring fresh oysters, seafood
chowders, salt-crusted whole fish,
scallops and bouillabaisse.
"It was really popular and well re-
food & drink international * winter 2017 volume 2 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com
ceived by our guests," van der Werff
recalls, adding that the company
looked at ways to bring it to its other ships without having to build new
Holland America Line ultimately
decided on opening Rudi's Sel de Mer
pop-ups in the Pinnacle Grill restaurants on all its ships. "None of the other
cruise lines operate a specialty pop-up
experience," he says, noting that the
pop-ups transform their space with the
use of plateware, uniforms, music and
"This is a French seafood brasserie,
and whenever we do something food
and beverage-wise, it has to be authentic," van der Werff says, noting that this
philosophy is carried over into its other
vessels, as well as its upcoming cruises
to Cuba, which will start in December.
Its staff will wear Cuban fashions,
including guayaberas, while the company's team of chefs has created a
Latin and Caribbean-inspired menu.
"We've [had that] vetted by a Cuban