Food Network’s Keegan Gerhard to Sail on Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw Amsterdam

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Seattle, Nov 10: Keegan Gerhard, current host of the top-rated Food Network Challenge series and owner of D Bar Desserts in Denver, Colo., is scheduled to sail as part of the guest-enrichment program on the Feb. 20, 2011 Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw Amsterdam. The 7-day cruise sails round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and calls at Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The ship also calls at the line’s private island of Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas before returning to Fort Lauderdale. During the Eastern Caribbean voyage, Gerhard will perform baking demonstrations for guests in the ship’s state-of-the-art show kitchen, conduct tastings of decadent desserts and participate in question-and-answer sessions.

Named as one of the nation’s top-10 pastry chefs, Gerhard began his career in the culinary industry to earn extra income and support his Olympic dreams of becoming a star cyclist. He discovered his true passion for baking while working as an assistant pastry chef for master pastry chef and founder of the French Pastry School in Chicago, Jacquy Pfeiffer. Prior to opening D Bar Desserts in Denver, the celebrated pâtissier held positions in many of America’s top kitchens including Charlie Trotter’s Restaurant, Waldorf Astoria, Ritz-Carlton Naples, Four Seasons Chicago, Dean and DeLuca, and the luxury resort Wynn Las Vegas.

In 2001 at the Pastry World Cup Gerhard served as technical advisor to Team USA, which brought home the gold medal. He also was recognized as a Distinguished Visiting Pastry Chef by Johnson & Wales University and has been twice named a top-10 pastry chef by “Pastry Art and Design” magazine. In addition to serving as host of the Food Network Challenge Series, Gerhard is a regularly featured guest on television programs including the Discovery Channel’s “Great Chefs of America,” the Travel Channel and CNN.

Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center
Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center is featured on each of the line’s 15 ships. A first-class “show kitchen at sea,” the Culinary Arts Centers presented by “Food & Wine“ magazine resembles the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs. The facilities are used for demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes during every Holland America Line sailing.

Each facility features a theater-style venue with two large plasma video screens and a large cooking display counter. In partnership with “Food & Wine” magazine, Holland America Line will schedule approximately 65 celebrated chefs and wine experts to sail in 2011. On cruises that do not have a celebrity chef on board, classes and demonstrations are conducted by Holland America Line’s own expert chefs.

Holland America Line also offers a youth Culinary Arts Center activity program to teach kids and teens how to cook. The program incorporates dishes from breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in complimentary 45-minute-long classes. Kids under 8 years old learn to make theme cookies, fruit roll-ups, ice cream sandwiches, salad people art and scones. Kids 8 and over make soft pretzels, granola bars, pita chips and hummus, and saltwater taffy. Teens also can attend adult culinary demonstrations.

The Culinary Arts Center and guest enrichment program are part of Holland America Line’s innovative and leading culinary initiatives, which also include a partnership with Le Cirque to present “An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill” and a Culinary Council comprised of renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Marcus Samuelsson, Jacques Torres, Charlie Trotter and the line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin.

For a full schedule of Holland America Line’s culinary guest program, visit hollandamerica.com/cruise-vacation-onboard/Enrichment.action and click on the Culinary Arts Center tab.For cruise brochures or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.