There are a lot of cool, even flashy jobs in the cruise industry, but maybe the one that gives the biggest opportunity to be a rock star of sorts is executive chef. With a passion for motorcycles, race cars, exotic travel, and of course amazing food, nobody plays the role quite like Michael Sabourin.
With more than 18 years in the culinary industry, Chef Sabourin joined Windstar Cruises in August as the new corporate executive chef. He is responsible for the creation of new dishes, galley training, menu design, and enhancing the local culinary experience in each port. His previous position was with Royal Caribbean International as executive chef, where his duties included all culinary and associated activities on both Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas – including the expansive menu design and implementation.
“The biggest difference is: I sure walk a lot less and cook a lot more,” he said. “I will be spending a lot of this year on the vessels working on the culinary program. I’ve spent the last five weeks on the Wind Surf and it’s been great! I will also be going to both the Wind Star and Wind Spirit later this year.”
Windstar’s motto – “180 degrees from ordinary” – is something Sabourin embraces. He explained finding his zeal for cooking at an early age after his father steered him away from his preferred career as a daredevil stuntman or race car driver. He started working in a French restaurant to earn money for a motorcycle, found he was good at it, wound up in culinary school, and embarked on a career with far fewer broken bones and much better food.
“The zest for life and exploration translates to how I work with the cooks. I love to share my passion for food and work ethic in the galley,” he said. “I want them to realize that anyone – regardless of where you are from – with the right attitude, knowledge and dedication, can do what I have been able to do professionally and personally, which in turn will provide a better life for themselves and their families.”
Part of his time aboard Windstar’s ships is spent experimenting with new dishes, finding new favorites for himself and his guests, he said. But, like any showman, Sabourin is keeping his secrets for just the right reveal.
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