Windstar Cruises announces Chef Andy Ricker (pictured) as the new guest chef aboard the January 20, 2018 Icons of Southeast Asia sailing. The James Beard Foundation Culinary Collection cruise is a 14-day journey from Hong Kong to Bangkok, making Ricker – a celebrated Thai cuisine chef – a perfect choice to guide guests on a feast for the senses.
Ricker is the chef/owner of Pok Pok Restaurants, with branches in Portland and New York City. He first visited Thailand as a backpacker in 1987. Since then, he has spent several months each year living, traveling, eating, cooking, and studying the food culture in Thailand and neighboring countries, including Vietnam. Among other achievements and accolades, Chef Ricker is a two-time James Beard Award winner and best-selling cookbook author. He replaces notable Chef Lee Anne Wong as the featured chef, who had to cancel due to family commitments.
Windstar, the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, is now offering all cruise guests the opportunity to taste tailored recipes from James Beard Foundation-affiliated chefs. The boutique cruise line is rolling out dinner menus containing dozens of signature recipes from James Beard-affiliated chefs such as Top Chef Judge Chef Hugh Acheson and Seattle’s Chef Renee Erickson, who have sailed recently with Windstar as a guest chef. In addition, even more new dishes from a broad spectrum of regionally and nationally celebrated chefs, including Andy Ricker, Keith Rhodes and Mario Pagan, will continue to rotate onto menus throughout the coming year. The ongoing infusion of new destination-inspired locavore fare from chefs passionate about their craft and creations will enhance and elevate the guest dining experience as the culinary partnership grows.
“Throughout the flourishing partnership, Windstar and the James Beard Foundation are immersing guests in epicurean adventures around the globe,” said Windstar President John Delaney. “While some cruise lines boast a celebrity chef or offer a special restaurant experience on board for an additional fee, we have an entire arsenal of chefs who give us the ability to focus on regional cuisine that’s aligned with each chef’s specialty. This equates to more memorable meals at sea, prepared with locally sourced ingredients by some of the most recognized culinary talent in the world – all as part of our regular Windstar guest experience.”
AmphorA, the main dining room on each Windstar ship, is center stage for the rotating selection of featured James Beard recipes each evening. The new menus are rolling out to all Windstar ships by the end of the year and are currently available on Star Pride. Star Legend is next in line for the changes. Each dinner menu has two featured recipes from a James Beard-affiliated chef – either a starter, entrée, or dessert. The items are specially notated on the menu, and no “upcharge” or additional fee is charged for ordering these show-stopping dishes.
For example, guests may order Venison Carpaccio with shaved cabbage and cucumber coleslaw, toasted almonds, and aged local cheese as a starter one evening. The rich but light dish is from Chef Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, MN, and a James Beard Foundation award-winner for Best Chef Midwest. Berglund joined Windstar on an August 2017 cruise in Scandinavia, a region where he draws much of his culinary inspiration. On another evening, guests may order Grilled Guajillo Glazed Prawns with charred corn relish and creamy edam polenta as an entrée. The bright and tangy dish is from Chef Annie Pettry of Decca in Louisville, KY, and a recent Top Chef contestant. Pettry joined Windstar aboard a June 2017 Culinary Cruise Collection sailing in Spain and Portugal, where she was inspired to create the dish using local ingredients.
In addition to the new menu items, Windstar has “hit the road” with the James Beard Foundation stateside as part of the Taste America ten-city tour around the United States throughout October and November. While participating in the events in Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Austin, and other cities, Windstar is offering a Dreams of Tahiti sweepstakes with the foundation for an opportunity to win a seven-day Dreams of Tahiti cruise, enjoying local cuisine like poisson cru along the journey.
For additional information on Windstar’s unique relationship with the James Beard Foundation and private yacht-style cruising with Windstar, contact a travel professional or Windstar Cruises by phone at 877-958-7718, or visit www.windstarcruises.com.