Windstar-James Beard partnership satisfies a higher craving

Star chefs - Anthony Sasso, left, of New York's La Sirena, with Windstar corporate executive chef Graeme Cockburn. During a James Beard Foundation culinary-themed cruise to Spain, they bought a 400-pound tuna at a local market to prepare on board Star chefs - Anthony Sasso, left, of New York's La Sirena, with Windstar corporate executive chef Graeme Cockburn. During a James Beard Foundation culinary-themed cruise to Spain, they bought a 400-pound tuna at a local market to prepare on board PHOTO: Anne Kalosh

Windstar Cruises showed off its James Beard Foundation partnership during a rare vessel call at the foodie mecca of Manhattan on Tuesday.

James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach indicated the partnership, now in its third year, goes beyond attracting star chefs to contribute signature recipes to Windstar menus and host James Beard Foundation culinary-themed cruises.

'Good food is for good'

'Good food means a better food world,' Reichenbach said. 'At the James Beard Foundation, good food is for good.' She called chefs 'powerful change agents' and said the foundation supports women leaders, sustainable seafood and proteins and reducing food waste.

The Windstar partnership aligns with the foundation's Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change that teaches established chefs policy and advocacy skills for creating food system change. The goal is sourcing the most delicious, local, fresh and nutritious food.

On Windstar's James Beard Foundation culinary-themed cruises, all the chefs are Boot Camp alumni, and a great number of women chefs will be featured during 2019.

'Food is in our DNA,' Windstar president John Delaney said, adding that food sustainability is a personal passion. (At home in Seattle, he's served on the board of Pike Place Market Foundation, whose many community programs include a healthy food bank.)

A taste of James Beard Signature Recipes

During Star Pride's call at Manhattan's Pier 88, Windstar corporate executive chef Graeme Cockburn and his team prepared canapes, giving a taste of the James Beard Foundation Signature Recipes served nightly in AmphorA, the main dining room on each of the line's ships.

On hand was Anthony Sasso, executive chef at New York City's La Sirena, who hosted a James Beard Foundation culinary-themed cruise to Spain, where he used to live.

Windstar 'did a really great job of procuring amazing ingredients we able to cook around the Mediterranean, which meant a lot to me,' Sasso told Seatrade Cruise News.

One big tuna

One highlight was buying a whole tuna—which he estimates weighed 400 pounds—at a market in Málaga, where Cockburn took him to taste clams, oysters and other bounty from the sea. It was hard to find a taxi driver willing to transport the giant fish to the ship. On board, Sasso grilled tuna steaks for dinner that night and prepared tartare of the remaining fresh fish.

For noted travel journalist Wendy Perrin, one of the 40 media at the Star Pride event, Windstar's James Beard partnership means 'good food. It means gourmet that you can count on being excellent. If I were choosing between cruise lines and one was associated with James Beard, to me, it's meaningful, and certainly for the right people, that's a stamp of approval,' she said.

Posted 23 October 2018

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review