Culinary Themed Cruises


Sail with a Chef and Sommelier
Imagine going on a grocery trip with your favorite chef to pick out ingredients for dinner at a local market and then learning techniques that they use to create a perfectly seasoned dish, where the flavors sing in harmony and notes of spices spark off your tongue. Imagine tasting wine from a storied vineyard you’ll visit tomorrow with a sommelier and comparing it to others in the region in a tasting. Listen to their stories and ask for their recommendations on their favorite restaurants and cocktails.

It’s not just about the food and wine, but also getting to know these epicurean experts on a personal level. This is Windstar’s James Beard Foundation Culinary Themed Cruise experience, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to taste dishes from some of the most sought-after James Beard Foundation chefs and sommeliers/beverage experts.


Each themed cruise features:

  • •Hosted dinner with a James Beard Foundation chef and beverage expert, including wine pairings
  • •Demos by the chef of some of their recipes
  • •Shopping at the local market with the chef
  • •Wine, spirits, or beer tastings
  • •Shopping and tours with the sommelier/beverage expert (based on availability)

June 27, 2018 | Spanish Symphony
Chef Anthony Sasso
Growing up in Glasco, New York, Anthony was always surrounded by art, music, and creativity. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, Sasso’s culinary career began with stints at Union Pacific and Bobby Flay’s Bolo. Then on to Andy Nusser’s Casa Mono. Sasso moved to the Costa Brava to work at the renowned coastal marisqueria “El Hogar Gallego.”  When Sasso returned to the States, he was promoted to head chef at Casa Mono, and later began an apprenticeship at Fleisher’s Butcher Shop. In 2008, Sasso became one of the youngest chefs to be recognized by the Michelin Guide, obtaining his first of eight consecutive Michelin stars for Casa Mono. He joined La Sirena in January 2017 as executive chef. 
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June 27, 2018 | Spanish Symphony
Beverage Expert Ashley Santoro
Wine director/sommelier Ashley Santoro had a humble introduction to the industry, bussing tables at the age of 15. Now, Santoro, the former wine director of Casa Mono and Bar Jamón, is the wine director at The Standard East Village, The Standard Café, and Narcissa. In addition to her work at The Standard, she also devotes time to traveling and teaching wine courses. Santoro has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times and Wine & Spirits Magazine.
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August 7, 2018 | Gems of the Adriatic Sea
Chef Sarah Grueneberg
Originally from Houston, Grueneberg moved to Chicago in 2005 to join the team at the award-winning Spiaggia under the leadership of Tony Mantuano where she rose to Executive Chef in 2010. During her tenure as Executive Chef, Spiaggia was awarded one Michelin Star for three consecutive years. In 2017, Grueneberg received her first James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Great Lakes.” Grueneberg has been a competitor and finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Texas” and Food Network’s “Iron Chef Gauntlet.” Grueneberg premiered the new WTTW – PBS Chicago show “Dishalicious,” where she serves as host in front of a live studio audience. Grueneberg is currently Chef/Partner of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio in Chicago’s West Loop, which she opened in November 2015 and which has won numerous awards.
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August 7, 2018 | Gems of the Adriatic Sea
Sommelier Jon McDaniel
Jon McDaniel is the corporate beverage director and sommelier for Gage Hospitality Group  which includes Acanto, Beacon Tavern, Coda di Volpe, The Dawson and The Gage.  Under Jon, Gage Hospitality Group was awarded 2 glasses, 12 stars and 4 jury prizes in 2017 wine awards making Gage Hospitality the most awarded restaurant group under one wine director in the world.  Jon was recently named a 2018 “Somm of the Year” by Food+Wine as well as a “40 Under 40 Tastemaker” by Wine Spectator.  Jon regularly appears at the Aspen, Pebble Beach and South Beach Food & Wine Festivals, Grand Cru at Chicago Gourmet, and was a judge at the Wine & Spirits Wholesales of America convention.  He is also the founder of Second City Soil, a website dedicated to the Chicago wine industry and winemaker and owner of Amos Cellars, a critically acclaimed California winery.
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August 17, 2018 | Norwegian Splendors
Chef Evan Hanczor
Evan Hanczor is the chef at Egg, a farm-to-table breakfast-focused restaurant in Brooklyn with an outpost in Tokyo and a farm in the Catskills. He is the co-author -- with George Weld, Egg's founder -- of Breakfast: Recipes to Wake Up For and also the creator and curator of Tables of Contents, an edible reading series hosted monthly at Egg. When not scrambling eggs, he works on food policy with the James Beard Foundation’s Chef Action Network, collaborates with multi-disciplinary artists on culinary/artistic experiences, and partners with several food-focused nonprofits on both local and global issues
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August 17, 2018 | Norwegian Splendors
Sommelier Katie Bell
Katie Bell spent a childhood of significant travel that taught her the language of food as a way to experience and connect. From the age of 15, Katie spent time in nearly every position in the restaurant. Katie moved to New York City to work for Chef Thomas Keller at Per Se, followed by a role as service director for Chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill in Manhattan. During her tenure, the restaurant was recognized as Outstanding Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation and nominated for Outstanding Service. In 2016, Katie opened Agern Restaurant in Grand Central Terminal as the general manager along with Chef Gunnar Gislasen and Restauranteur Claus Meyer, of Noma. Within its first year, Agern received three stars from the New York Times, one Michelin star, and numerous accolades for its all-American wine list.

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November 26, 2018 | Tahiti & the Tuamotu Islands
Chef Emily Luchetti
With six cookbooks to her credit and numerous awards, Emily Luchetti has helped to define what great pastry in America means. As chief pastry officer for Big Night Restaurant Group, she oversees the pastry operations for The Cavalier, Marlowe, Petit Marlowe, Leo’s Oyster Bar, and Park Tavern Restaurant. She was awarded the 2004 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef and was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. With a passion for vanilla, she can’t wait to bake treats made with vanilla fresh from the islands and plans to escort guests on excursions to local vanilla farms.
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November 26, 2018 | Tahiti & the Tuamotu Islands
Beverage Expert Shelley Lindgren
Owner and Wine Director Shelley Lindgren of A16 and SPQR in San Francisco, was honored by the James Beard Foundation in 2015 with the Outstanding Wine Program award for her work at A16. Her reputation for seeking out Italian wines made with lesser-known grapes has earned her recognition as a wine pioneer. She continues to search for evocative wines from around the world and plans to serve interesting pairings aboard Wind Spirit in Tahiti.
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December 15, 2018 | Windward Islands Surf & Sunsets
Chef Jose Mendin
Chef/restaurateur José Mendin co-founded and created the Pubbelly Boys restaurant group and the Comma Hospitality Group (FCHG), with notable Miami restaurants such as Habitat, Pubbelly Noodle Bar, Pubbelly Sushi, Baja Bao, and PB Ysla in Mendin’s hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Mendin will be returning home on this cruise, which is a roundtrip journey from San Juan, bringing his ability to revitalize and re-imagine ancient and traditional recipes by maintaining the integrity of a dish’s roots while infusing it with modern touches. He earned James Beard Foundation nominations for “Best Chef: South” from 2012 to 2016. He looks forward to showcasing his love for big flavors aboard Windstar and sharing his favorite restaurants and flavors with guests in San Juan.
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