Cruise Line Culinary Council Likes Veggies, Loves Variety

veggies Holland America Line continues to be an industry leader in culinary initiatives that include an evolving menu featuring vegetarian dishes, recent development of its Culinary Council and exclusive partnership with the famed Le Cirque restaurant.

Let’s take a look at some recent key developments:

The Holland America Line Culinary Council is composed of celebrated chefs from around the world that meet and discuss the direction of the premium line’s culinary initiatives.  The group also provides signature recipes served on the ships. The Culinary Council members include Council Chairman and Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, along with renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Marcus Samuelsson, Jacques Torres and Charlie Trotter.

An Evening at Le Cirque takes place in the Pinnacle Grill one evening on each cruise. Working with Le Cirque’s Executive Chef Craig Hopson, the line re-created the legendary eatery’s whimsical ambiance and award-winning dining experience on board — from serving the cuisine on fanciful orange Le Cirque china to featuring the restaurant’s famous crème brûlée. Menus, wine selections, table decorations and the restaurant setting reflect an authentic Le Cirque dining experience.

Continuing an industry-wide focus on a healthy lifestyle, Holland America Line has introduced a new alternative, vegetarian-only menu, designed by Holland America Line’s award-winning Master Chef Rudi Sodamin.  The extensive 50+ choice menu is extensive but just one part of what they are doing at Holland America.

“Many more people are choosing a vegetarian culinary experience, yet the options can be limited,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and guest programs. “By offering a complete vegetarian-only menu and the largest vegetarian selection at sea, we are ensuring that all guests can take part in an exceptional dining experience while cruising with Holland America Line.”

Chef Sodamin has 22 different dishes on the vegetarian and vegan menu.  Highlighting vegetables and other naturally healthy ingredients in vibrant, flavorful culinary selections, the alternative menu includes a full range of appetizers, salads, soups and main entrees, and is available upon request at no extra cost for lunch and dinner.

Dishes on the new vegetarian-only menu include Portobello Mushroom and Chipotle Quesadillas, Vietnamese Vegetable Spring Rolls, Curried Vegetable Empanadas, Spicy Lentil and Garbanzo Salad, Sweet and Sour Vegetable Tempura, Vegetable Jambalaya, Grilled Vegetable and Tofu Kebobs, and Baked Cheese Polenta with Mushrooms and Artichoke Hearts.

In addition to the new vegetarian-only menu, 30 new vegetarian dishes will be added to the main dining room menu.  Featured as a second vegetarian option on the buffet during lunch and as a selection on every dinner menu.

Some vegetarian selections on the main dining room menu include Corn and Zucchini Pancakes served with Southwest-style cous cous salad, Asparagus and Zucchini Torte with wild rice and sun-dried tomato coulees, Carrot and Parmesan Risotto topped with a lemony arugula salad and crispy carrot ribbons, and Grilled Eggplant and Bell Pepper Masala braised in yogurt with Indian spices and served with coconut-pistachio basmati rice.

Chris Owen is a travel writer from Orlando Florida charged with sharing frank, inside information on cruise vacations with travelers. Certified a Master Cruise Counselor by the Cruise Lines International Association, Chris can be found via the popular travel blog, and on the long-running cruise information website,

Photo Credit: Chris_J via Compfight

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