Food-loving cruise passengers are in for a treat as two lines announce partnerships with acclaimed chefs.
Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has revealed its line-up of guest chefs affiliated to the New York based culinary organisation, the James Beard Foundation, who will join three special sailings in 2024. Additionally, new luxury line Explora Journeys has announced its partnership with Emma Bengtsson who holds two Michelin stars at the New York based restaurant Aquavit.
Windstar is the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation and both champion talented chefs that use fresh, sustainable produce to create locally inspired dishes, coupled with efforts to reduce food waste. The trio of acclaimed visiting chefs – Omar Anani, Tanya Holland and Loryn Nalic – each bring their regional culinary expertise on board and will create menus reflecting the destinations being visited.
Windstar Cruises President Christopher Prelog said:
“I’m always blown away by the epicurean superstars, all selected by the esteemed James Beard Foundation, that make up our yearly roster of culinary themed cruises. 2024 is no different, including a first-ever Middle Eastern James Beard Foundation culinary cruise with Palestinian-Egyptian American restaurateur Chef Omar Anani. These cruises are not just about the food and wine, but also about getting to know the chefs on a personal level and seeing the destination through their eyes.”
All of the themed cruises include two on-board cooking demonstrations, as well as four dishes created by the visiting chef at a hosted dinner with wine pairings. Each chef will also lead a market tour, gathering fresh and local ingredients for dishes served on board. In addition, all three chefs will provide recipes that will be featured on Windstar menus across the fleet.
Chef Anani joins the 10-day Sparkling Sands & Cities of the Persian Gulf itinerary, aboard the 312-passenger Star Legend, departing on 1st February 2024. This sailing marks the first-ever themed culinary cruise for Windstar in the Middle East.
Chef Holland will be on Star Legend’s 10-day Cuisines & Cultures of Spain, Portugal and France cruise, which departs on 28th May. With an extensive background in French cuisine, Chef Holland writes cookbooks and hosts the American TV show Melting Pot.
The eight-day Adriatic Archipelagos & Greek Goddesses sailing on the 342-passenger Wind Surf, will be joined by Chef Nalic. The chef and her husband own the Balkan Treat Box restaurant in Missouri, which started life as a food truck and has since earned accolades including Food & Wine’s Best Bites of the Year and was named one of the Bon Appetit Top 50 Restaurants.
Meanwhile Explora Journeys, the new luxury lifestyle cruise brand of the MSC Group, has announced a partnership with Chef Bengtsson on its first 922-passenger vessel Explora I. She will create a special menu for Anthology, one of the 11 restaurants on the ship.
She is the first female Swedish chef and the second female chef based in the US to be awarded two Michelin stars and her dishes incorporate influences from Scandinavia combined with the use of locally sourced ingredients.
Explora Journeys CEO Michael Ungerer said:
“Chef Bengtsson is an inspiration in the culinary world, and we couldn’t be more delighted to welcome her on board Explora I. We look forward to working with Chef Bengtsson to continue providing our guests with an elevated dining experience that will showcase her distinctive culinary style through a variety of delicious dishes.”
Explora I will spend the winter and spring in North America and the Caribbean Sea before returning to Mediterranean for summer 2024.
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Windstar Cruises and Explora Journeys