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Crown Cruise Vacations | May 29, 2022

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Rudi Sodamin named head of culinary arts for Princess Cruises

Rudi Sodamin named head of culinary arts for Princess Cruises
Jackie Sheckler Finch

Talented chef Rudi Sodamin has been named the first head of culinary arts for Princess Cruises. Currently master chef for Holland America Line, Sodamin will retain that position as he takes on his new role for 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,” Swartz said in a news release. “We are bringing in Chef Rudi to build the kind of excitement and dining experiences that will impress our guests.”

An internationally respected food authority, Sodamin has been the driving force behind revolutionizing culinary practices and elevating the perception of fine dining in the cruise industry. He is the most highly-decorated chef working on the world’s oceans and is widely considered one of the most innovative, energetic and influential chefs in the hospitality industry.

“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,” Sodamin said in a news release.

“My goal is to grow that pride and lead the culinary workforce to new performance heights through innovative approaches and creativity, collaboratively creating new signature interactive dining experiences, and motivating this talented team to new levels of culinary artistry,” Sodamin said.

Among his most recent accomplishments has been the highly successful launch of Rudi’s Sel de Mer restaurant onboard three Holland America Line’s ships. Carnival Cruise Line was so impressed by the restaurant concept that leadership commissioned Sodamin to create Rudi’s Seagrill for its new Excel class Mardi Gras, which had its inaugural cruise in August 2021.

Sodamin began his career at the age of 14 with a kitchen apprenticeship in Kurhotel Heilbrunn in Bad Mitterndorf, Austria. By 23, Sodamin was appointed Chef de Cuisine on the luxury line Vistafijord with Norwegian American Cruise Line. He was the youngest chef in the cruise line world to have responsibility on that scale.

By 26, he was named corporate executive chef onboard the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2 – again, the youngest chef at sea to attain such a title. Under his stewardship in the 1990s, the food served by the historic Cunard Line was widely acclaimed as the best in the world.

Princess Cruises Names Chef Rudi Sodamin Head of Culinary Arts

After a dozen years at Cunard Line as vice president 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.

“A food experience is about human passion, energy, excitement and expertise all channeled together to create an emotional, multisensory experience with a true human connection,” John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises, said in a news release.

“Chef Rudi is one of the few who truly understands this and how to consistently create culinary magic for guests, and we are fortunate to be able to tap his extensive know-how and leadership to further elevate the Princess onboard dining experience and inspire our culinary teammates throughout the fleet,” Padgett said.

Sodamin’s many accolades include a rate 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.

Sodamin also has authored 14 cookbooks, the most recent of which is “Rudi’s Sel de Mer: For the Love of Seafood” in 2021.

“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,” Swartz said.

Photos courtesy of Princess Cruises


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