It starts with “waterside dining,” says Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

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A Celebrity Chef Spills How to Feel Like You're on a Luxurious Vacation Right in NYC
Credit: Angela Pham

Manhattan's cinematic skyline is undeniably breathtaking, and even more so if you're approaching the city by boat. That fact is not lost on The Mark Hotel, which offers sunset sails on a 70-foot Herreshoff as one of its many luxurious perks for guests. And who better to be the captain of cuisine for such an endeavor than Michelin Star-awarded restauranteur Jean-Georges Vongerichten?

The lavish dinner costs $7,000 for a two-hour charter — chic! — but Vongerichten fully appreciates the hefty price tag means this isn't for everyone. For the acclaimed chef, though, peak summer is less about luxury and more about about the accessible aspects, starting with the perfect beverage, local fare, and a picturesque view.

A Celebrity Chef Spills How to Feel Like You're on a Luxurious Vacation Right in NYC
Credit: Angela Pham

Vongerichten lets the mood of that day dictate his menu, especially when it comes to dining outdoors, since weather is a factor in how he curates the meal. "I can't do a menu months ahead," he says. "We have the staple of the cheese platter and the fruit platter but then, for me, food is last minute."

For The Mark sailboat's debut voyage of this summer, he served small bites: spiced chicken samosas with a tangy cilantro sauce, bruschetta with fresh tomatoes, and cubed watermelon with goat cheese. (The latter is his snack of choice on balmy summer nights.) For the perfect picnic, he recommends picking up tomatoes, cherries, peaches, avocados, and salad.

A Celebrity Chef Spills How to Feel Like You're on a Luxurious Vacation Right in NYC
Credit: Angela Pham
A Celebrity Chef Spills How to Feel Like You're on a Luxurious Vacation Right in NYC
Credit: Angela Pham

To complement any warm weather meal, Vongerichten recommends a simple glass of wine, like the crisp rosé or white wine he serves aboard The Mark's charters. He's also a fan of the classic cocktail to keep cool in the summer heat. "I like the spritz, I like the negroni, I like a ginger margarita," he says.

A Celebrity Chef Spills How to Feel Like You're on a Luxurious Vacation Right in NYC
Credit: Angela Pham

"Take your favorite snacks and food and just leave to your favorite [outdoor] places," Vongerichten adds. "My suggestion: water is always beautiful and romantic, it's very important to me. I'm a Pisces. Water is something I need all the time."

When he's not manning The Mark Hotel's kitchen or any one of his many establishments worldwide (including locations in Paris, Singapore, and São Paulo), the chef is partaking in his favorite activity. "I take my paddleboard everywhere," he says.