NEW YORK CITY — North American travel media, senior staff and cruise industry veterans gathered at the prestigious Institute of Culinary Education in Lower Manhattan for the announcement of Holland America Line’s new culinary enrichment partnership with the PBS cooking show ‘America’s Test Kitchen’, the most popular how-to-cook show on TV.
“We are excited to continue our bold new food story with America’s Test Kitchen,” stated HAL President, Orlando Ashford. “Holland America Line provides guests with tremendously immersive and authentic experiences to enrich their travel, and America’s Test Kitchen’s commitment to delivering a quality culinary experience with a focus on learning is a perfect match.”
This new partnership is part of the many fun and exciting innovations that Holland America, a division of Carnival Corporation, has been adding to its product line. Over the past couple of years, the 143-year old cruise ship company has formed a number of new partnerships, invested over US$300 million dollars in its fleet and changed its company logo and tagline from ‘Signature of Excellence’ to ‘Savour the Journey’ to reflect the new direction HAL is taking. America’s Test Kitchen is part of enriching that journey.
Ashford noted that surveys have shown that Holland America’s guests “love cooking, entertaining and learning about food.” The new collaboration with the 17-year running hit series will bring a dynamic new ‘hands-on’ approach to dining at sea by offering passengers cooking demonstrations and small group workshops led by HAL chefs trained by America’s Test Kitchen culinary experts.
“This is an incredible opportunity for fans of America’s Test Kitchen, and food lovers in general, to immerse themselves in the Test Kitchen experience,” said David Nussbaum, CEO of America’s Test Kitchen.
The classes will feature foolproof recipes made with accessible ingredients so that passengers can enjoy the recipes long after the voyage has ended. According to Nussbaum, “America’s Test Kitchen is the only test kitchen that tests each recipe 40 to 60 times and spends an average of $10,000 on each recipe.” The brand extends beyond the TV series and includes two magazines, ‘Cooks Illustrated’ and ‘Cook’s Science’, as well as one of the top digital sites for recipes with paid subscription.
The curriculum will mimic the best parts of the television experience and will be designed specifically for the cruise line. “America’s Test Kitchen will bring a new take on cooking classes at sea that spans not only recipes, but also the science of the cooking process,” said Ashford.
Each sailing will have eight different 45-minute demo courses that will feature a mix of video content, live instruction, taste tests and recipe samples. Courses under development include Asian Dumplings, Salad for Two, We Love Chocolate, Everything Salmon, Getting to Know Chiles, Flavors of the Mediterranean, Meatless Monday Meals and New Italian Favorites followed by taste testing.
There will also be four hands-on, 90-minute workshops focused on teaching a specific skill, including pasta- and pie-making, cake decorating, plus an egg class (to learn how to make meringues, for example). Guests will also learn useful ‘how to’ skills like choosing the perfect knife.
The onboard Culinary Arts Center will be transformed to reflect the America’s Test Kitchen Brand. Demo courses and workshops for the new program will begin aboard the Westerdam’s Oct. 18 sailing in Mexico and will be followed by Nieuw Amsterdam on Nov. 13 for its Caribbean season. Fleet-wide rollout is expected by June 2017. In addition, episodes of America’s Test Kitchen will be available to watch in staterooms.
Ashford went on to outline the enriching culinary experiences aboard HAL, including a variety of restaurants, influence from a number of world renowned chefs, regionally inspired menus that reflect destinations, a number of onboard culinary activities and experiences, culinary journeys ashore, an extensive variety of wine and spirits, and the flexibility for guests to dine as they wish.
America’s Test Kitchen joins Holland America’s elite list of food and beverage collaborators who are the leading authorities in their fields. The line’s Culinary Council is led by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, who is joined by international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres. The line also has exclusive partnerships with Sushi Chef Andy Matsuda and Master Mixologist Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff.
After the announcement, Ashford joined teachers Julia Collin Davidson, host of America’s Test Kitchen, and HAL cooking instructor Barbara Mills Schuchard in a quick demo making shumai, small Asian dumplings that guests were able to sample along with an assortment of other offerings.
Holland America Line’s fleet of 14 ships offers more than 500 cruises to more than 400 ports in 98 countries, territories or dependencies around the world.