Are cruise lines looking for a competitive edge by stepping up their on-board culinary offerings? If this week’s announcement from Holland American and Le Cirque is any indication, there could be some very interesting high-end dining on the high seas in the coming months.
New York’s famed Le Cirque restaurant has entered into an exclusive agreement with premium cruise company Holland America Line to offer “An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill” — an authentic Le Cirque–style dining experience aboard the line’s 15-ship fleet.
Le Cirque’s Executive Chef Craig Hopson is working with Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin to re-create the eatery’s whimsical ambiance and unique dining experience on board, from serving the cuisine on fanciful orange Le Cirque china to featuring the restaurant’s famous crème brûlée.
“To be able to introduce our culinary style to the guests on the beautiful cruise ships of Holland America Line is an exciting new adventure for Le Cirque,” said Sirio Maccioni, founder of Le Cirque. “When I sailed I was extremely impressed with everything I experienced, and I look forward to adding my touch to their culinary program.”
Offered on virtually every voyage, “An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill” will see the ships’ alternative restaurant transformed into a Le Cirque–like atmosphere with menu offerings, wine selections, table decorations and the restaurant setting tailored to mimic the Le Cirque experience.
“We are honored to partner with such an esteemed and world-renowned name as Le Cirque,” said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. “We pride ourselves on having one of the most innovative culinary programs in the cruise industry, and collaborating with Le Cirque takes us to a whole new level that our discerning guests are going to appreciate.”
Not only will guests have the opportunity to dine on mouth-watering Le Cirque dishes including Lobster Salad “Le Cirque,” Sweet Corn Soup and Côte de Boeuf, they also will be able to learn how to make a selection or two during special Le Cirque cooking demonstrations in the on-board Culinary Arts Center, a first-class “show kitchen at sea” that hosts demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes on every Holland America Line cruise.
Additional enhancements to the program include screenings of the HBO documentary “Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven” on in-stateroom television, as well as the opportunity to purchase a Le Cirque crème brûlée dish and Le Cirque founder Sirio Maccioni’s book, “Sirio: The Story of My Life and Le Cirque.”
A recipient of the coveted James Beard Award for restaurant of the year, Le Cirque has been ranked among the best in the world for decades by food experts, celebrities and high society. Le Cirque restaurants are located in New York, Las Vegas and the Dominican Republic, and Sirio Maccioni is one of the industry’s most respected restaurateurs.
While the restaurant attracts many celebrity customers, Le Cirque and Maccioni also have helped launch the careers of many illustrious chefs, including Daniel Boulud, Christophe Bellanca, Alain Sailhac, Rick Moonen and Holland America Line Culinary Council Member Jacques Torres.
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