Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 117
Holland America Line
destination expert to really verify what we're doing is authentic," he says.
Holland America Line's competitors often overlook these
details, van der Werff says. "These are what the guests are
looking for," he says. "It's all about these unexpected surprises that pop out of the cruise once we head to Cuba from
Key West, [Fla.]"
Holland America Line also keeps its offerings strong with
the help of its Culinary Council, which consists of six worldclass celebrity chefs. These include David Burke, who has
been featured on "Iron Chef America" and "Top Chef Masters," and Elizabeth Falkner, who is a frequent judge and
competitor on the Food Network.
"We have Jacques Torres as the chocolatier to help us
with our sweet spots," van der Werff adds. The team also
includes Jonnie Boer, who has earned a three-star Michelin
rating annually since 2004, and is led by Holland America
Line's Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, the creator of Rudi's Sel
The Council also includes Andy Matsuda of the Sushi Institute of America, who manages the company's sushi program in its Tamarind restaurants and its buffet operations.
Holland America Line will announce a new member this
January who will focus on the company's ships sailing in the
"These chefs are involved in our menu planning and provide guidance to our culinary team on an ongoing basis," van
der Werff says, adding that the council also requires new associates to train in its restaurants to understand its concepts.
"It's one thing to do that through a concept guide or concept brief," he says. "Then there is the way of actually experiencing it, living it and breathing it in the restaurants itself."
at what our Australian sister brands are offering in terms of
trends and bring it on board."
Holland America Line is proud of its team, which includes
many who have worked on the food and beverage side for
40 years. "We've got fathers and sons, and uncles and nephews," van der Werff says. "In this business, when you've got
an average tenure of 10 years-plus, that's pretty good. We
pride ourselves on that.
"We have a very loyal staff that is just very pleased with
the work environment we provide to them," he adds. "It
makes them very comfortable."
Holland America Line's future has the potential to be
strong, van der Werff says. "If there aren't any economic
downturns or geopolitical concerns, then the cruise industry
has a very bright future ahead of us," he says. "With that
comes a very bright future where we are continuously able
to push the envelope and create new experiences that are
unmatched in the industry, but still keep that traditional heritage in there. We're going to have fun doing it."
Holland America Line strives for innovation on the beverage
side. As part of that effort, the company has formed a partnership with renowned mixologist and author Dale DeGroff, who
curates the company's cocktail program, van der Werff says.
Although some guests may prefer traditional drinks like
piña coladas and margaritas, "We really have unique craft
cocktails available," he says, noting that the company works
closely with DeGroff on these beverages.
For example, the B.B. King's Blues Clubs serve exclusive
drinks on their menu such as the Lucille, Rock Me Baby and
"When we go into Cuba, we will get Cuban inspired," van
der Werff predicts. "When we sail into Australia, we look
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