Princess Cruises has announced that Chef Rudi Sodamin will become its first head of culinary arts, effective immediately. Currently, Sodamin is master chef for sister line Holland America, which is a position he will retain as he takes on his new role for Princess.
An internationally-respected food authority, Sodamin is the most highly-decorated chef at sea, and is widely considered one of the most innovative, energetic, and influential chefs in the hospitality industry.
Among his most recent accomplishments was the launch of Rudi’s Sel de Mer restaurant on three Holland America ships. He also launched Rudi’s Seagrill last year aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras — another sister line to Princess.
“Chef Rudi is a hands-on leader with proven ability to motivate teams to achieve new levels of creativity and inspiration,” said Jan Swartz, group president serving Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O Cruises Australia brands. “Princess is already well-known for its strong culinary culture. We are bringing in Chef Rudi to build the kind of excitement and dining experiences that will impress our guests. He is the perfect person to bring an entirely new level of excellence and innovation to our culinary product, environmental dining experience, and service delivery.”
Sodamin began his career at 14 with a kitchen apprenticeship in Kurhotel Heilbrunn in Bad Mittendorf, Austria. By 23, he was appointed Chef de Cuisine on the luxury cruise liner Vistafjord with Norwegian American Cruise Line — he was the youngest chef in the cruise line world to have responsibility on that scale.
By 26, Sodamin was named corporate executive chef on Queen Elizabeth 2 — and was again the youngest chef at sea to have such a title. Under his stewardship in the 1990s, the food served by Cunard was widely acclaimed as the best in the world.
After 12 years with Cunard as VP of food and beverage and corporate executive chef, Sodamin joined Royal Caribbean Cruise Line as director of corporate food and beverage operations and culinary spokesperson. During his tenure there, he built an international culinary team from across 50 countries, and launched the brand’s first test kitchen.
Sodamin has continued his innovation with Holland America Line, instituting its first Culinary Council, as well as spearheading the Holland America Line Culinary Arts Center.
He has also led the development and launch of a residential Culinary Training Center in Manilla, the Philippines, working with the Culinary Institute of America to develop curriculum.
“I see food as the way to our guests’ hearts, and the individuals on the Princess Cruise culinary team bring great heart to what they do and take tremendous pride in their work,” said Sodamin. “My goal is to grow that pride and lead the culinary workforce to new performance heights through innovative approaches to teamwork and creativity, collaboratively creating new signature interactive dining experiences, and motivating this talented team to new levels of culinary artistry.”
Chef Rudi’s accolades include a rating of 17 (out of 20) and Three Toques from the prestigious Gault-Millau Guide — the first for an onboard restaurant and the only such award presented at sea. He has also authored 14 cookbooks, with the most recent being Rudi’s Sel de Mer: For the Love of Seafood.