12.00 -Paul loosens his tie with gusto
You never know what to expect when you’re away for work. The day starts early in the morning and ends late in the evening.
Meetings, speeches, handshaking, questions to answer and then – whether those meetings were profitable or not – comes the time to loosen your tie. The silk slides under collar and you stop being Paul Johnston from the sales department and go back to being plain Paul, a traveller with a bit of free time in his overnight bag.
Often you’re already at the airport and haven’t got time to improvise some sightseeing. Like today, when I find myself at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport, with the “eternal city” already behind me.
There is time for a nice relaxed lunch though.
Rosso Intenso, a wine&food bar, is my choice: informal but elegant and comfy. It’s more than your classic baguette and go.
They’re offering a chef’s tasting menu. A dish of your choice from three main courses accompanied by a fixed menu of starters, side dishes and desserts, ie. a cube of bread with tomato, burrata and basil, carrots and aubergines, fresh fruit salad, plus a free bottle of water. I opt for the fillet of beef and treat myself to the recommended wine (extra), a Chianti classico with a harmony of notes ideal for savouring the meat even more.
It’s Airport Restaurant Month, they say. I take advantage. My tie’s loosened and the plane’s still some way off.
Ore 19 - Sara, scoprire i sapori dei cieli d’Europa
The buffet! That’s what everyone asks me when I go to these events: “How was the buffet?”. OK, I realize not everyone’s interested in my stem cell research, but is it
really so hard to understand that flying round Europe to conferences doesn’t leave much time for convention buffets?
This time though I’ll be able to surprise them. When they ask me “Well then Sara, how did it go? How was the buffet?”, I’ll invent a bit.
I’ll say that I’d never have expected to find such an “unusual” sushi in Belgium, that it was really the second big discovery of the day, after my research paper.
I just won’t mention I didn’t have it at a buffet, actually, but at Black Pearls, at Brussels Airport. I often stop there when I go to Belgium. This time the special dishes prepared for Airport Restaurant Month made my stop-off even more pleasing.
22.00 – François toasts to the land of dreams
The right way to end a dream journey: a glass of rum and a dish I’d never have imagined eating in an airport. Charlotte was just one leg of a journey round America that I’d been longing for and luckily it’s the last: so I ended up in the wine bar Beaudevin, during the Airport Restaurant Month.
The flight on the way back to Europe is two hours from now: holiday pics flow and bounce on the smartphone display, as we secretly hope the journey will never end. Chloe says: “In 12 hours we’ll be home”. I’m already nostalgic. Chloe asks: “Well Francois, has America been as you imagined it?”
On the counter in front of us, rosemary prawns and colourful Mexican tasting chop chop salad. “It’s more, America is more,” I answer.
In the final toast with the rum at Casa Bacardi in Miami airport, there’s all the America of my dreams. Including Chloe’s eyes.
For the first time in Europe
The vision of chefs, the quality of the raw materials, all in-season: the ingredients for a successful recipe.
90 restaurants, over 50 airports, North America, Europe..
Not words written at random but the building blocks of Airport Restaurant Month, an initiative that’s come into being in the course of two years, intense but full of satisfaction.
The cornerstone, the foundation, was laid back in October 2014.
The basic idea? It started with the consolidated experience of “Restaurant Week”, an event that takes place all over the world in urban restaurants. With special promotion campaigns they encourage people to dine out and experience the pleasure of high level cuisine. Why not extend the idea to airports too?
Autogrill subsidiary HMSHost transformed this question mark into action: it extended the popular urban event to North American airports and extended a week into a month.
" People can’t wait to taste the culinary creations of the world’s best chefs during Restaurant Week. HMSHost Airport Restaurant Month was developed to transfer this enthusiasm from highstreets to airports, but for a whole month."
- Atousa Ghoreichi, HMSHost Vice President Marketing -
For the first time travellers now have the opportunity to immerse themselves in this visionary, innovative culinary experience and try menus inspired by the essence of the aromas of the season in which they’re offered. Autogrill’s chefs and their teams are busy creating exquisitely tasting dishes specially designed for travellers who want to enjoy a new experience of food.
Rick Bayless - The chef who took the genuine Mexican cuisine of Tortas Frontera to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Lorena Garcia - Thanks to her, of Venezuelan origin, Latin American cooking has come to Miami International Airport under the LorenaGARCIA Cocina brand and to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport under the Lorena Garcia Tapas label.
Mike Isabella - Travellers will be able to enjoy his Greek cuisine at the Kapnos Taverna at Ronald Reagan National Airport.
These are just a few of the stars who are making these and many more dishes unique. To discover more about the “culinary directors” that make the difference in our airports, visit http://www.hmshost.com/cuisine
It’s October 2014 and public participation is so enthusiastic the experience is repeated in May 2015 and then again in October, at more and more airports and restaurants till we reach the 85 US restaurants currently involved.
The success of the first experience limited to airport locations in North America only proved such a crescendo we decided to take it to Europe too this year, in May, at the airports of Roma Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci, Brussels and Zurich.