Windstar: 10 years with James Beard Foundation

Windstar Cruises, a leader in luxury cruises on small ships, is thrilled to celebrate in 2025 the tenth anniversary of its partnership with the James Beard Foundation, expanding the series of annual themed culinary cruises.

To further commemorate this milestone, Windstar presents five special themed cruises with distinguished chefs on board who will bring their regional culinary expertise and signature dishes on board: Jamilka Borges, José Mendin, Jennifer Hill Booker, and Jennifer Jasinski, who have already collaborated with the cruise line and are therefore highly appreciated by guests, and Larry Forgione, who is participating for the first time in this innovative partnership.

Windstar is the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind American food culture, while also promoting a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability. The Foundation strongly aligns with Windstar’s commitment to fresh and local epicurean experiences worldwide, as well as efforts to reduce food waste.

James Beard Foundation departures will offer guests ample time to personally interact with the chefs through a chef-hosted wine-pairing dinner, and two onboard cooking demonstrations with take-home recipes and a market tour during a shore excursion.

“We are excited to recognize our decade-long partnership with the James Beard Foundation,” said Windstar President Christopher Prelog. “We are proud of the numerous chefs who have sailed with us, numbering more than thirty over the years, and have shared their stories and created signature dishes, enhancing the culinary experience for all our guests on Windstar.”

Below are the details of all five James Beard Foundation themed cruises in 2025.

Windward Ways & Tobago Cays: from Aruba to Bridgetown

On board the small but luxurious Star Pride departing on March 15, 2025 from Aruba for its 7-day Caribbean itinerary, Puerto Rican chef Jamilka Borges will delight the 312 guests with her recipes.

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she developed an early interest in art and food, Chef Jamilka Borges was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2015 and was also awarded Best Chefs America’s Rising Star Chef. In 2019, she was recognized as a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Best Mid-Atlantic Chef.

Spanish Symphony: from Lisbon to Barcelona

The departure on April 12, 2025 will feature chef José Mendin on an 8-day cruise aboard the flagship Windstar Wind Surf with 342 guests departing from Lisbon and ending in Barcelona.

Chef/restaurateur José Mendin has been a five-time semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Best Southern Chef. He co-founded the Pubbelly Boys Restaurant Group in 2010 and has since opened several other restaurants in Miami, including La Placita, which pays homage to his Puerto Rican roots, and the beloved Casa Isola in Sunset Harbor. The latter has recently expanded to Mexico City as well.

Baltic Beauty: from Stockholm to Copenhagen

On June 29, 2025, with chef Jennifer Hill Booker on an 11-day itinerary in the Baltic Sea aboard the Star Legend, 312 Windstar guests.

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker has taken her culinary heritage from the American South, her belief in healthy and seasonal foods, and her French training to create a unique, healthy, and modern Southern cuisine with a French accent. An author of significant cookbooks, reality show personality, culinary educator, and entrepreneur, this acclaimed chef has opened Bauhaus Biergarten, serving German and European food and drinks, in Springdale, Arkansas. Chef Booker is an alumna of the James Beard Foundation’s Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change.

Adriatic Archipelagos and Greek Goddesses: from Venice to Athens

On board the flagship Windstar Wind surf with 342 guests, the departure on August 27, 2025 will feature chef Jennifer Jasinski on a 9-day tour of the Adriatic Sea. Chef Jennifer Jasinski won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2013 and was a semifinalist for Best Chef in 2016 and Best Restaurateur in 2020. A protege of Wolfgang Puck, her restaurants are among the best in Denver, solidifying her extraordinary legacy in the culinary world. She has also appeared on the show Top Chef Masters.

Explorations in Southeast Canada: from Montreal to New York

Chef Larry Forgione will welcome 312 guests aboard the Star Pride on October 7, 2025, for its 12-day itinerary. Chef Larry Forgione is acclaimed as the “Godfather of American Cuisine” for his role in changing the way Americans eat today. At his restaurant, An American Place, he embraced the virtues of American national cuisine using only local and seasonal ingredients, spearheading the entire “farm-to-table” movement.

Awarded “Best Chef in America” by the Foundation in 1992, in 1996 his book An American Place won a James Beard Award for “Best American Cookbook.” Chef Larry Forgione co-founded and developed the Conservatory for American Food Studies at the Culinary Institute of America. The Culinary Institute also awarded him the title of “Pioneer of American Cuisine” for his far-reaching influence.

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Saskia Pacifico