Australian chef Mark Best adds to Holland America menu

Australian chef Mark Best has been recruited to join the Holland America Culinary Council, giving cruisers the chance to enjoy his French-inspired signature dishes at sea.

The announcement was made at a media event on board ms Amsterdam in Sydney last night, where the chef confessed he’s accepted the role, though he is “the opposite to a sea ferry man”.

“I’m already feeling a bit queasy,” he said as he greeted media.

“I’m not much of a sailor… we’ll see how I go with the sea legs.”

He is the first Australian to join the Council and replaces Chef Charlie Trotter as the sixth member of the Council. Charlie died in November last year after suffering a stroke.

Other Council members are Master Chef and Council chairman, Rudi Sodamin; Dutch 3-Michelin star chef, Jonnie Boer; the owner of nine restaurants in New York City, David Burke; one of the world’s most respected chocolatier, Jacques Torres; and San Francisco’s famous chef, Elizabeth Falkner.

As the newest member, he will work with the line to recreate around ten of his dishes for Holland America’s signature restaurant, The Pinnacle Grill.

He showcased four of his dishes at the event last night including a Smoked Eel with parmesan gnocchi and pumpkin; Bass Grouper with fish milk, green tomato and potato paper; Red Gate Farm Quail with carrots and miso; and a Mango Mustard and Coconut dessert which he created two days ago.

Mark said he was excited to join the Council but says the biggest challenge will be finding local ingredients in other parts of the world.

“I can’t do anything too technically, because we have a different proposition here and serving for a larger number of diners,” he explained.

“I’ve been working with the chef on board [the Amsterdam], we’ve been looking at my menus and choosing which dishes are best to reproduce.

“Obviously my recipes are very ingredient based and se we have to work around that aspect of it.

“We have to source the best ingredients around the world.”

Holland America Line vice president of international sales and marketing Joe Slattery added that the decision to invite an Australian chef onto the council was partly due to Australia being one of the line’s largest markets.

In 2012, Australia was the third largest country market for Holland America, behind the US and Canada. Now, Australia is the second largest, sitting closely behind the US.

“We appreciate the support here in Australia, all of us at Holland America really respect and acknowledge the support we have received.”

Mark is the owner of Pei Modern in Melbourne as well as the world-renowned Marque Restaurant.

Marque made the ‘World’s 50 Best’ in UK Restaurant Magazine and also ranked among the San Pellegrino World Top 100 Restaurants.

ms Amsterdam was docked in Sydney overnight as part of her 113-day world cruise round trip from Fort Lauderdale.

She’s halfway through her journey, and is heading to Asia following her visit in Australia.

Towards the end of her world journey she will visit South Africa, where Archbishop Desmond Tutu will board as a headline speaker.