PHOTO: James Beard Foundation on Windstar Cruises. (Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises)
The company may showcase small ships, but Windstar Cruises just made it big in the culinary world as the official line of the James Beard Foundation (JBF). The exclusive 2017 partnership will extend to excellent cuisine for guests onboard and ashore.
“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,” said Windstar President John Delaney, in a press release. “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.”
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Plus, the collaboration will include Windstar sponsorship of the 2017 James Beard Awards, Taste America events, Celebrity Chef Tour and Chefs & Champagne – a collection of shoreside dinners and tastings. The partnership is an expansion that follows the line’s first James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection and its three theme voyages in 2016.
“The James Beard Foundation welcomes unique opportunities to celebrate the chefs, writers and restaurateurs who advance both American and international culinary arts,” said James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro, in a press release. “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.”
Of course, onboard will be a series of James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection sailings showcasing James Beard award winners and nominees, as well as JBF recipe demos and dishes served on all voyages. A very special food and wine theme cruise hosted by chef, restaurateur, and author Hugh Acheson is also scheduled in 2017. It’s all a part of elevating the line’s already stellar culinary reputation featuring local food sourcing and regional market shopping.
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Onboard programming is set to encompass nightly James Beard Foundation Signature Recipes on the menu such as Roasted Baby Beets with Tahini Vinaigrette from Chef Maria Hines or Seared Wild Striped Bass with Tomato Sage “Fondue” from Chef Michel Nischan, and culinary demonstrations and tastings will additionally occur on sea days.
As for the unique theme cruise, the James Beard Foundation Epicurean Explorations of France, Spain, and Portugal itinerary will be available aboard the Star Legend on August 15, 2017. Current “Top Chef” judge Chef Hugh Acheson and Sommelier Steven Grubbs will be along for the ride, crafting locally-sourced dishes and pairing fine wines, as well as featuring cooking demos, tastings and personal interactions. Meanwhile, the destination will highlight Bordeaux chateaus and vineyards and French appetizers.
Additional cruises to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean, Central America and Tahiti will host James Beard Foundation guest chefs for more interactions and tastings starting in May 2017 with one special sailing per month.