Windstar Cruises and the venerable James Beard Foundation are building an unprecedented travel-culinary partnership in 2017. The just-announced, exclusive partnership will result in scrumptious bites at sea for cruise guests and raise awareness of the epicurean delights to be discovered in ports around the world where the leading small ship line sails.
“Our partnership as the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation solidifies our goal to support culinary excellence and innovation, and be the world’s best small ship cruise line in everything that we do. We’re thrilled to offer our guests exclusive access to the Foundation’s diverse roster of award-winning chefs and cross-cultural culinary leaders who will help chart a course for extraordinary new menu offerings and dining experiences featured daily across our fleet wherever we sail in the world,” says Windstar President John Delaney.
Throughout 2017, the two organizations are expanding and elevating their relationship. As the exclusive cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, Windstar will be involved as a sponsor of the 2017 James Beard Awards in Chicago; JBF’s Taste America® events – a two-day affair in 10 different cities around the country including fundraising dinners and complimentary culinary tastings; the JBF Celebrity Chef Tour – a dinner series in more than 20 cities around the country; and Chefs & Champagne® — the James Beard Foundation’s annual summer tasting party in the Hamptons.
“The James Beard Foundation welcomes unique opportunities to celebrate the chefs, writers and restaurateurs who advance both American and international culinary arts,” says James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro. “This Windstar partnership’s emphasis on innovation, superior service, intimate ambiance and the unique style of small ship cruising offers distinctive epicurean experiences while enjoying the cultures of France, Spain and Portugal.”
A hallmark of the partnership is a special themed food and wine cruise hosted by acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and author Hugh Acheson. Other major components include the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection, a series of cruises throughout 2017 featuring James Beard award winners and nominees. Additionally, cruise guests on every single sailing enjoy culinary demonstrations by Windstar chefs of James Beard Award-winning chef recipes, and the addition of James Beard Foundation Signature Recipes aboard all Windstar sailings.
Windstar is known for many things on its iconic small ships, such as personalized service, Watersports Platforms where guests can enjoy the ocean, and access to small intimate ports larger ships can’t possibly enter. The line is also respected for its culinary programs – sourcing local food where possible, bringing guests to local markets to shop with the chef, baking all breads on board daily, preparing meals to order, serving regional specialties that vary by destination, and simply providing better quality ingredients.
Cruise guests can expect a variety of unique James Beard Foundation programming including:
- James Beard Foundation Signature Recipes. Each night aboard all Windstar sailings starting this summer, cruise guests will enjoy a James Beard Foundation recognized chef’s Signature Recipe on the menu. Possible menu items include Roasted Baby Beets with Tahini Vinaigrette from Chef Maria Hines or Seared Wild Striped Bass with Tomato Sage “Fondue” from Chef Michel Nischan.
- Culinary Demos Powered by the James Beard Foundation. Windstar’s talented chefs will prepare James Beard Foundation recognized chef-created recipes during days at sea, as part of an interactive cooking demonstration followed by the best part: tasting.
Marquee Food and Wine Themed Cruise –
James Beard Foundation Epicurean Explorations of France, Spain, and Portugal will take place on the 212-passenger, all-suite yacht Star Legend, setting sail August 15, 2017. Chef Hugh Acheson, winner of multiple James Beard awards and current “Top Chef” judge, will delight guests with dishes whipped up from local proteins and produce purchased at market, a hallmark of Windstar’s culinary program. Wines poured by Sommelier Steven Grubbs (who has worked with Acheson for almost 20 years) will be stars in their own right, while perfectly complementing the varied and delicious fare from Windstar’s chefs and Acheson. Guests will enjoy cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, featured dishes and wine pairings at dinner, as well as ample opportunities for one-on-one interaction.
An itinerary highlight for any wine or culture lover includes an overnight stay docked directly in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bordeaux, along with scenic cruising up and down the Garonne River glimpsing the chateaus and vineyards of the Médoc region. The cruise also includes a complimentary evening on the grounds of a private chateau in Bordeaux with the chance to wander through their cellars. Ample French appetizers (like plump local oysters) and, of course, fine local wines are all accompanied by the music of a string quartet.
A Series of Guest Chef Cruises – James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection
On several more sailings featuring Windstar’s diverse portfolio of destinations – including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean, Central America, and Tahiti – guests will have a chance to interact and taste creations from James Beard award winning and nominated chefs with the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection. Guest chefs will host an intimate cooking demonstration on board and will serve up a signature item in AmphorA, Windstar’s principal dining room. The intimate size of Windstar small ships allows for high touch interaction with guests and the culinary demonstrations and special menu items will charm guests on one sailing per month, beginning in May.
The expanded partnership builds upon the 2016 inaugural James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection that offered a series of three food- and wine-themed cruises hosted by JBF-celebrated guest Chefs Matt and Kate Jennings of Townsman in Boston, JBF 2016 Humanitarian of the Year Awardee Chef Michel Nischan, and Chef Maria Hines of Tilth and Agrodolce in Seattle. The epicurean themed cruises were applauded by Windstar’s guests, media and industry experts and as a result, the partnership is flourishing in 2017, bringing the best of travel and cuisine together for foodies everywhere to partake and enjoy.
For additional information on the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection and private yacht-style cruising with Windstar, contact a travel professional or Windstar Cruises by phone at 877-958-7718, or visit www.windstarcruises.com.