Windstar Cruises and the James Beard Foundation Announce Super-Star Chef Lineup for New Culinary Cruise Collection

Windstar Cruises Corporate Executive Chef Graeme Cockburn sets up at The Beard House, NY to celebrate Windstar Cruises | James Beard Foundation Culinary Partnership. This photo was taken by Chris Gray Faust.

Today at a celebration of Windstar Cruises as the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation at the famed Beard House in New York City, the two organizations unveiled the full lineup for their James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection. Offered on eight sailings in Windstar’s diverse portfolio of cruise destinations – including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean – cruise guests will have a chance to interact and taste creations from James Beard Foundation-selected chefs.

Windstar’s Corporate Executive Chef Graeme Cockburn joined an exclusive club of chefs to have the honor of cooking at the James Beard House, serving up dishes like Fois Gras Cromesquis with cured golden raisins and Marinated Cucumber and Burrata with sweet heirloom tomatoes at the epicurean extravaganza. Guests at the event were the first to hear the list of renowned North American chefs that Chef Cockburn’s team will partner with to offer authentic culinary opportunities on sailings to small ports around the globe.

“Other cruise lines have one celebrity chef, but thanks to our partnership with the James Beard Foundation, we have an array of incredible culinary superstars in our ranks,” said Windstar President John Delaney.

Guest chefs on the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection will host an intimate cooking demonstration of a signature recipe that will be served on that cruise, as well as added to the rotating menu repertoire in AmphorA, Windstar’s principle dining room. The small size of Windstar ships allows guests plenty of personal interaction with the chefs. Culinary demonstrations, special menu items, unique culinary shore excursions, and local market tours will charm guests aboard these captivating and varied itineraries, giving Windstar guests opportunities to indulge in memorable meals prepared with locally-sourced ingredients by some of the most recognized culinary talent in the world.

Throughout 2017, Windstar Cruises’ and the James Beard Foundation’s unique travel-culinary alliance, which began in 2016, aims to elevate genuine local culinary encounters for cruise travelers. It also introduces travel enthusiasts to the important work of the formidable James Beard Foundation, including focusing on sustainable food advocacy and identifying the vital influence that leading chefs and restaurateurs have in their communities.

Windstar’s James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection

jennifer_jasinskiMay 6, 2017 — Islands of the West Med
Chef Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja, Euclid Hall, Bistro Vendome, and Stoic & Genuine in Denver, CO
Denver restaurant powerhouse Chef Jen Jasinski is a natural fit to host this cruise from Rome to Barcelona, as her new restaurant Ultreia will focus on Spanish cuisine. Jasinski’s first and still wildly popular restaurant Rioja boasts Mediterranean fare, so who better to guide guests through the region’s delicious islands? Fans of Top Chef Masters will recognize Jasinski, a James Beard Foundation award-winner for Best Chef Southwest.

annieJune 16, 2017 — Cuisines & Cultures of Spain, Portugal, and France
Chef Annie Pettry of Decca in Louisville, KY
Annie Pettry uses classic French techniques on Southern and Midwestern ingredients at her lauded Louisville restaurant Decca, where her wood-fired cooking program is a hot attraction. Inspired by locally farmed and small production ingredients, she’ll guide cruise guests through bountiful Portugal, Spain, and France. Fans of Top Chef will recognize Pettry from season 14. She is also an alumna of the James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change.

paul_berglundAug. 4, 2017 — Lands of the Midnight Sun
Chef Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis Chef Paul Berglund celebrates Minneapolis’ Scandinavian food heritage at his restaurant The Bachelor Farmer, with fresh and simple dishes that change daily, making him the ideal fit for the journey from Iceland to Norway, and finally to Ireland. And as a former officer in the U.S. Navy, Berglund will be no stranger to sailing! Berglund is a James Beard Foundation award-winner for Best Chef Midwest.

reneeericksonSept. 2, 2017 — Gaelic Explorers
Chef Renee Erickson of The Whale Wins, The Walrus & the Carpenter, Barnacle, Bar Melusine, Bateau, and General Porpoise in Seattle, WA
It’s been said that Renee Erickson’s restaurants are “the reason Seattle is one of the country’s most exciting places.” Chef/Author Erickson hallmark is an innovative approach to seafood and often described as European country cooking. Cruise guests will sail with her to Ireland and Scotland in search of the best coffee, whiskey, and scotch in port. Erickson is a James Beard Foundation award-winner for Best Chef Northwest.

Oct. 18, 2017 — Islands of the West Med
Chef Amy Brandwein of Centrolina in Washington, D.C.
D.C. Chef Amy Brandwein embraces seasonal Italian fare at Centrolina, which has her well prepared for to sail this attractive itinerary visiting Alghero, Portovenere, Portoferraio, and Rome, Italy She relies heavily on fresh market selections, so guests should expect local delicacies hand-selected by Brandwein, like fresh branzino, mushrooms, or prosciutto. Brandwein is a 2017 James Beard Foundation award finalist for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.

keith_rhodes_headshotNov. 10, 2017 — Jewels of the Windward Islands
Chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant in Wilmington, NC
Wilmington Chef Keith Rhodes passion for seafood is the cornerstone of his restaurant Catch. Every ingredient in his delicious cuisine is consciously sourced from organic growers and local fisheries that support sustainable practices. He’s a fantastic fit to navigate the seafood options on this Caribbean sailing. Rhodes is recognizable from his time on Top Chef and is a James Beard Foundation award semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast.

Dec. 9, 2017 — San Juan & the Virgin Islands
Chef Mario Pagán of MARIO PAGAN Restaurant, SAGE Steak Loft, Dorado Beach & Golf Resort, San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico’s (arguably) best Chef Mario Pagán has been preparing meals rooted in Caribbean cuisine since his mother taught him in their family kitchen. Now his three San Juan restaurants fulfill a mission to “bring Puerto Rican food to the world” which his involvement in the James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change and multiple media appearances including the 3rd season of Next Iron Chef has furthered.

Jlee_anne_wongan. 20, 2018 — Icons of Southeast Asia
Chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Café in Honolulu, HI
Honolulu Chef Lee Anne Wong’s career has been a quest to explore global flavors, often cooking her fusion creations at New York’s James Beard House. She frequents kitchens in Asia and around the globe to discover new, exciting flavors and techniques. A Top Chef original contestant, Wong boasts a notable media career as television chef and author of “Dumplings All Day Wong: A Cookbook of Delights from a Top Chef.” Wong will lead guests from Hong Kong to Bangkok, tempting guests to try “not so familiar” foods whenever possible.

More About the Windstar/James Beard Foundation Partnership

The James Beard Foundation Culinary Collection is in addition to a marquee food- and wine-themed cruise in August with acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and author Hugh Acheson. The itinerary sails to the famed wine region of Bordeaux for an overnight stay and wine valley visit, as well as visiting the storied oyster beds of Northern France aboard the James Beard Foundation Epicurean Explorations of France, Spain, and Portugal voyage. Acheson’s longtime colleague Sommelier Steven Grubbs will co-host the cruise, leading four wine tastings, and pairing varietals and vintages to complement Acheson’s three chef demonstrations.


On each sailing starting this summer, Windstar guests will enjoy a James Beard Foundation recognized chef’s Signature Recipe on the dinner menu, created with local market ingredients whenever possible.

Foodies also will get their creative juices flowing during Culinary Demos Powered by the James Beard Foundation. Director of Hotel Operations Peter Tobler and Corporate Executive Chef Graeme Cockburn, will guide Windstar’s talented chef teams to prepare the recipes during an interactive cooking demonstration. Designed to impart tips from the culinary pros that have sailed in the region and been inspired by the ports they are visiting. Windstar fans will be able to try out the recipes at home from articles featured on the Windstar blog that will showcase the most recent recipes from the celebrated chefs on the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection of sailings.

In addition and as part of the partnership, as the exclusive cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, Windstar is a sponsor of the acclaimed James Beard Awards; JBF’s Taste America® tour – a two-day affair in 10 different cities around the U.S. including fundraising dinners and complimentary culinary tastings; the JBF Celebrity Chef Tour – a dinner series in more than 20 cities; and Chefs & Champagne® – the James Beard Foundation’s annual trendy summer tasting party in the Hamptons.

Throughout the flourishing partnership, Windstar and the James Beard Foundation are immersing guests in epicurean adventures both ashore and while cruising to each intriguing port of call, bringing together the best of travel and cuisine around the globe for foodies everywhere.

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

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