Why Windstar Cruises Partners With The James Beard Foundation. Interview With Peter Tobler.

To celebrate the extension of our partnership with the James Beard Foundation, we wanted to share some authentic insider insights from Peter Tobler, Windstar Cruises’ Director of Hotel Operations, on why this partnership is a coup in the world of on-sea dining.

So Peter, why did Windstar choose to partner with the James Beard Foundation in the first place?

When it comes to the culinary experience in the cruise industry, the James Beard Foundation exemplifies many of the values that Windstar Cruises upholds. We both cultivate leadership and recognize culinary excellence; the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to honoring chefs who are visionaries in their field, and to making the local food scene more appreciative, sustainable, and diverse. Similarly, Windstar Cruises always seeks to bring those visions to our ships by sourcing ingredients locally to ensure that guests always have the freshest and most authentic flavors, by designing menus with the itineraries in mind so that guests have a truly immersive experience on shore as well as on board, and hosting a variety of chefs so that guests can choose from a breadth of food experiences and learn from true experts. It honestly is a natural fit.


Seattle Chef Rene Erickson, aboard Wind Surf

What are the benefits of this partnership to Windstar guests?

As one of the leaders in the small cruise ship category, we pride ourselves on impeccable service, a heightened culinary experience, beautiful ships, and a personalized and immersive approach. Not only does this partnership raise the bar of at sea dining, but it also allows guests an exclusive understanding of the experience through onboard demonstrations of the recipes by JBF and Windstar chefs and the opportunity to accompany chefs to local markets to see how they choose the ingredients they execute so deliciously. With this partnership, we have access to some of the best and upcoming talent in the industry, and we are so excited to share that with our guests. It’s really very cool.


One of the selling points of the partnership is that each dinner menu in Amphora features at least two James Beard Foundation dishes and an expanded menu cycle, can you elaborate?

Of course, we have three sailings in 2024 and five in 2025 that are fortunate enough to feature chefs recognized by the James Beard Foundation, but we wanted to make sure that the experience was accessible to all of our guests, on all of our ships, in all of the regions. By highlighting recipes from the chefs that have been on board, each of our guests can have that experience and opportunity to taste a variety of dishes. We reflect that also in our menu cycle by expanding the rotation of meals to 14 days. Guests traveling on longer itineraries will always have an opportunity to try something new. I suppose the only downside is that guests wanting to try everything on the menu will need to order one of every dish! Or maybe share with their table neighbors.Cruise_food_James_Beard_Foundation

Speaking of recipes, is there a James Beard Foundation recipe you can share with our readers?

I probably shouldn’t, but here is a Messy Spotted Prawn recipe by Seattle based chef, Renee Erickson. Featuring espellete, the sauce for the prawns is floral, citrusy, and mildly spicy. They are best served with nice crusty baguette so that you can soak up all the seasoning. And we recommend a towel!

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Anthony Molisse
19 days ago

My wife and I always use organic foods we prepare at home. They may not have the presentation that expert chefs can prepare, but they do not contain any harmful chemicals or ingredients. We use organic farm fresh produce and minimize the use of processed foods. I hope the Windstar Chefs do the same.

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