Eat, pray, sail? Windstar pairs James Beard chefs with upcoming cruises

James Beard chefs – Most cruise lines have a celebrity chef or two to brag about: They’re well-known culinary experts who help cruise companies deliver gourmet cuisine to passengers.

But Windstar Yachts, with just six ships in its fleet, has bragging rights to eight celebrity chefs, plus a partnership with the James Beard Foundation.

Six upcoming Windstar sailings will feature James Beard award-winning and nominated chefs who will serve up nightly signature items in AmphorA, the main dining room on each yacht.

With fewer than 300 passengers on board the line’s ships, guests have an opportunity to interact with the chefs, who will also be doing culinary demonstrations during the sailings.

In addition, a food- and wine-themed cruise sets sail Aug. 15. The James Beard Foundation Epicurean Explorations of France, Spain & Portugal will feature Hugh Acheson, chef, author and restaurateur. This cruise is nearly sold out.

Other upcoming trips include, Lands of the Midnight Sun, which sets sail Aug. 4 with Paul Berglund of Minneapolis. Berglund celebrates Minnesota’s Scandinavian food heritage at his restaurant, the Bachelor Farmer, and is a James Beard Foundation award-winner for best chef Midwest. The cruise sails from Reykvaik, Iceland, to Dublin, Ireland.

Gaelic Explorers will sail from Edinburgh, Scotland, on Sept. 2 to Dublin and will feature Renee Erickson, chef of the Seattle restaurants Whale Wins, Walrus & the Carpenter, Barnacle, Bar Melusine, Bateau and General Porpoise.

Erickson’s innovative approach to seafood is often described as European country cooking. She and cruise guests will search ports in Scotland and Ireland for the best coffee, whiskey and scotch. Erickson is a James Beard Foundation award-winner for best chef Northwest.

On Oct. 18, Amy Brandwein, chef of Centrolina in Washington, D.C., will be on board for the Islands of the West Med voyage, which will explore regions from Barcelona, Spain, to Rome. Brandwein focuses on seasonal Italian fare at Centrolina and is a 2017 James Beard Foundation award finalist for best chef mid-Atlantic.

Chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant in Wilmington, N.C., will be on board Nov. 10 for Jewels of the Windward Islands, a Caribbean cruise that begins and ends in Bridgetown, Barbados. Rhodes was on the TV show “Top Chef” and is a James Beard Foundation award semifinalist for best chef Southeast.

The last two cruises in the series, sailing on Dec. 9 in the Caribbean and Jan. 20 in Southeast Asia, have the most availability, with a variety of cabin options remaining.

The Dec. 9 sailing, San Juan & the Virgin Islands, will feature Mario Pagán, who heads three San Juan restaurants and is involved in the James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. He also was featured on the show “Next Iron Chef.”

The Jan. 20 cruise, Icons of Southeast Asia, will feature chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Café in Honolulu. Wong was a “Top Chef” contestant and is the author of “Dumplings All Day Wong: A Cookbook of Delights From a Top Chef.” Wong will join guests on a cruise from Hong Kong to Bangkok.

Info: Windstar Cruises, (877) 713-3911 or contact a travel agent

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