"I'm not going to eat a thing until you let me off this boat!" threatens Claudette Colbert in the 1934 film It Happened One Night. Colbert, looking ridiculously rich in a shimmering satin evening gown, plays a spoiled heiress trapped on her tycoon father's yacht. Her father, it seems, has refused to let her marry a gold-digging suitor. "You don't have to eat it--just smell it," her tuxedo-clad daddy says craftily, waving a forkful of steak under her nose. "It's a poem."
Luxury ocean travel still retains a touch of that Thirties glamour. Especially when the mode of transport is a vessel like the Wind Star, a 440-foot schooner in the Windstar cruise line of motorized sailing ships. The Wind Star employs 88 crew members to meet the needs of its 148 passengers, resulting in a level of service aimed at appeasing spoiled heiresses. And with recipes developed by consulting chef Joachim Splichal of Los Angeles's highly regarded Patina, there's always plenty of lovely food--potato-crusted snapper, ravioli filled with duck-leg confit, filet mignon in red wine garlic sauce--being waved under every available nose.
A recent weeklong Mediterranean cruise, with three stops in Spain and one in Morocco, offered another culinary attraction: guest chef Matthew Kenney. The owner of three restaurants in New York City--Matthew's, Mezze and Monzù--Kenney had been invited on board to demonstrate recipes from his new book, Matthew Kenney's Mediterranean Cooking (Chronicle Books). Like the other passengers--doctors, lawyers, business executives and one hard-working romance novelist--Kenney was also hoping to soak up some sun, catch up on his reading (The Great Gatsby) and spend some quality private time with his spouse, Kirsten, an editor at Allure.