Food & Drink

Next Year You Can Cruise With These James Beard Foundation-Recognized Chefs

Windstar Cruises has three food-focused sailings next year, continuing its long-standing partnership with the James Beard Foundation.

Windstar Cruise Chef Lineup: Windstar Cruises at Moorea

Windstar Cruises at Moorea. Courtesy of Windstar Cruises

By Paul Brady

Oct 18, 2022

ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST small-ship ocean cruise lines, as voted by Travel + Leisure readers, just announced a trio of trips that should thrill restaurant lovers, from the Pacific, to the Adriatic to the Caribbean. Windstar Cruises will host three big-time chefs in 2023 as part of the line’s continuing partnership with the James Beard Foundation. Joining for exclusive trips will be Tracy Chang of Pagu in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Jerome Grant of Sweet Home Café in Washington, D.C.; and Ayesha Nurdjaja of Shuka and Shukette in New York City. All three are James Beard Award nominees or past semifinalists.

Windstar Cruise Chef Lineup: From Left to Right: New York’s Ayesha Nurdjaja; Boston’s Tracy Chang; and D.C.’s Jerome Grant.
FROM LEFT: New York’s Ayesha Nurdjaja, courtesy of Shukette; Boston’s Tracy Chang, photo by Collin Raney; and D.C.’s Jerome Grant, courtesy of Jerome Grant.

If you’re a foodie whose 2023 cruising calendar is set to include Japan-Korea, Panama-Colombia-Aruba, or Italy-Croatia-Montenegro-Greece, we suggest you get booking. Each guest chef will join passengers and crew on a culinary-focused sailing, leading market tours in ports, serving a multi-course meal aboard, sharing recipes during cooking demos, and generally hanging out, swapping stories.

“It doesn’t get any better than sailing with a James Beard Foundation guest chef on a special culinary cruise,” Windstar president Christopher Prelog said in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure. “Not only will you get to eat their food — you’ll get to know them. You may even learn a few tips and tricks for being a better cook yourself.”

Windstar Cruise Chef Lineup: Cold-smoked salmon from Jerome Grant
Cold-smoked salmon with tomato marmalade and young heirlooms from chef Jerome Grant. Courtesy of Jerome Grant

First up on the Windstar calendar will be a March trip from Panama to Aruba, aboard the Star Legend with Jerome Grant, 2019 James Beard nominee for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic USA. The chef, who also helms the kitchen at Jackie and the forthcoming Mahal, both in D.C., will be along for the ride to destinations including Panama’s San Blas Islands and Cartagena, Colombia. 

Windstar Cruise Chef Lineup: Shuka
Courtesy of Shuka

A trip with Ayesha Nurdjaja follows in June, aboard the Wind Surf as it travels from Venice to Athens. The 342-passenger ship, the world’s largest sailing yacht, will call at ports such as Dubrovnik and Hvar, both in Croatia, as well as Corfu, Greece.

Rounding out the 2023 lineup is a trip with Tracy Chang, who will join the Star Breeze as it sails in Japan in September. The Tokyo to Osaka itinerary will also include a few ports in the southern island of Kyushu, as well as a visit to Busan, South Korea.

Windstar Cruise Chef Lineup: Pork Belly Bao Kit from Pagu
Pork Belly Bao Kit from Pagu. Courtesy of Pagu

The itineraries are just the latest in a long string of food-focused journeys on Windstar, which has had an exclusive partnership with the James Beard Foundation since 2017. The line, which has a fleet of six small ships, is a T+L World’s Best Awards Hall of Fame honoree.

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