But, of course, Windstar Cruises has the inside track there because they've partnered with the James Beard Foundation on an annual series of culinary-themed cruises. Because of the partnership, these cruises have itineraries designed to highlight interesting local cuisine and have enriching culinary programming aboard.
Below is the listing of this year's cruises in conjunction with the James Beard Foundation. The complete story appeared in the January 18 issue of Cruise News Daily.
Chef Jamilka Borges
JBF: Chef Boot Camp Alumna & 2015 Rising Star Chef Semifinalist
Restaurant: Independent Brewing Company & Hidden Harbor in Pittsburgh, PA.
Chef Jamilka Borges, born in Puerto Rico, has a genuine connection to the region and will guide guests on a gastronomic journey through exotic Costa Rica and the Panama Canal that combines incredible food experiences with amazing natural and man-made wonders. Highlights include learning about the area from a local on board Naturalist; making a Zodiac wet-landing directly on the beach for a guided nature walk; hiking through Manuel Antonio National Park in search of abundant animal life; ziplining high above the Quepos jungle floor past monkeys, sloths, and toucans; exploring Golfo Dulce’s intense rainforest landscape; and enjoying a narrated daylight transit through the massive Panama Canal, one of the world's most stunning feats of engineering, on a small ship that gets you close to it all.
March 16, 2019 – Pop Culture Kings of Asia, 11 days aboard Star Legend
Chef Judy Ni
JBF Chef Boot Camp Alumna
Restaurant: Baology in Philadelphia
Chef Judy Ni brings her experience of being raised by traditional Taiwanese parents (and grandparents), who passed on their culture and culinary traditions to her while growing up in the United States. Chef Ni will share her unique culinary and cultural perspective on this voyage of a lifetime through this crucial corner of Asia featuring Japan, China, and South Korea. Spend time in Kyoto, one of the most traditional cities in Japan, and admire the beautiful pottery of Karatsu. Overnight in Busan for more time to see the five UNESCO sites in the area. Cruise the Inland Sea, stopping for famed art pieces in Uno port, mixing equal parts pop culture and cultural heritage throughout the journey.
June 22, 2019 – Yachtsman’s Harbors of the Rivieras, 7 days aboard Wind Surf
Chef & Restaurateur Jamie Leeds
JBF Chef Boot Camp Alumna
JL Restaurant Group; Hank’s Oyster Bar, Pasta Bar, & Cocktail Bar, Washington, DC
Chef and Restaurateur Jamie Leeds, owner of JL Restaurant Group, will be seeking out the freshest French oysters as she sails the world’s premier yachting playgrounds from Rome to Barcelona aboard the world’s largest sailing ship. These stunning ports string together like perfect pearls each shining with its own individuality. Enjoy charming villages with chef-led visits to lively markets to gather produce, herbs, fish and more to showcase in cooking demonstrations and a gala evening meal. Sailing into secluded harbors to intimate beaches delivers the mystique and magic of the Rivieras that only small ship cruising reveals.
September 24, 2019 – West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza, 10 days aboard Star Legend
Chef Duskie Estes
JBF: Chef Boot Camp Alumna; Co-Awardee, 2009 Rising Star Chefs for Sustainability
Restaurants: Zazu Kitchen + Farm, Bovolo, and Black Pig Meat Co., Sonoma County
The West Coast of America is the birthplace to many important food movements, innovations, and chefs, ideal for expert-led expedition to the heart of diverse, regional food scenes. Award-winning Chef Duskie Estes is the perfect culinary guide as she was born in San Diego, raised in San Francisco, and spent eight years in Seattle working for JBF-awarded Restauranteur Tom Douglass before moving to Sonoma County, where she is celebrated as a chef and avid farmer/advocate for “snout to tail” cooking. Ten days fly by visiting cosmopolitan ports including two immersive days with an overnight call in Portland; a full day call to hip Seattle; coastal cruising down to San Francisco for a second overnight with the opportunity to visit the Napa Valley; followed by quaint Monterey; and wrapping up in San Diego. Join Chef Duskie to taste wine in Sonoma and Oregon’s Willamette Valley, indulge in local food truck scenes to fine dining, farmers’ markets to cooking classes that puts cruises at the heart of the action. This brand new cruise is for people who have a taste for life and a thirst for adventure.
October 14, 2019 – Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast, 8 days aboard Star Breeze
Chef Chris Pandel
JBF: Chef Boot Camp Alumnus
Restaurant: Swift & Sons, Cold Storage, and Dutch & Doc’s in Chicago
Chris Pandel has a love affair with Italy and Italian-American heritage, so who better to explore the shores of Italy, Croatia, and Montenegro, discovering the charm of Venice, the magnificence of Rome, and the vast beauty of the Dalmatian Coast? Wander down the ancient cobblestone streets of Taormina, travel up the sparkling fjord to Kotor, and bask in the allure of small ship cruising as the ship anchors in the heart of Old Town Dubrovnik while larger ships only pass by. From remarkable small ports such as Rovinj to timeless cities like Venice and Rome, discover the Mediterranean’s most charming and historic destinations in one incomparable voyage.