Tyler Pitman, Restaurant Portfolio Director HMSHost North America, tells us about the partnership experience with international Celebrity Chefs. From the first project, with chef Wolfgang Puck over ten years ago, to a portfolio of restaurants of excellence in American airports: a success story.
Where did the idea of working with Celebrity Chefs in airports come from?
The demand for quality food & beverage, plus fresh, genuine ingredients, in addition to all-round gastronomic experiences is today an ever-growing, consolidated trend.
“Television has definitely played a crucial role in spreading the culture of good food with the general public,” explains Tyler. “The fame of starred chefs, on both a local and national level, has grown considerably thanks to cooking shows”.
But not only - as part of the airport growth strategy, the idea of offering transit passengers a classy, evocative experience is a revolution in the traditional concept of a stopover. “Today, we can offer a dining experience on the same level as the best city restaurants” - all this in an airport.
Airports and starred chefs: a difficult combination on an operative level?
“The details are considerable and initially it was not simple: combining the characteristic of an airport location with the needs of top-quality cuisine is a challenge that we won thanks to the partnership we have developed with the chefs”.
Conceiving and creating a gourmet restaurant in an airport means overcoming the frequent obstacles of limited space, food preparation technologies different from traditional ones and extremely rationalised storage and refrigeration areas.
The results derive from close collaboration with our chefs, whom we work with in complete synergy right from the start of the project. In particular, in order to overcome logistical difficulties we need to rethink a gourmet concept and recreate one suited to the expectations and needs of a different kind of clientele: travellers.
Rewriting menus and recreating dishes that are often the signature trademark of their authors calls for great reciprocal trust in the project: it is only by uniting our operative skills and the chefs’ experience that we can achieve innovative solutions, often experimental when compared to city centre restaurants.
How do you guarantee a unique experience?
After more than ten years from its origins, what is the outcome of this project today?
“We are totally satisfied by this partnership and we are proud to confirm that the chefs are too. It has been a very valuable learning curve for both parties”.
in Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and Miami
in Chicago Tortas Frontera at Chicago O’Hare International Airport
in JFK di New York, al Boston Logan International Airport e al Las Vegas McCarran
in more than 40 airports eg. Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, Las Vegas McCarran, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Salt Lake City, Seattle-Tacoma e Lambert-St. Louis
in Seattle - Tacoma International Airtport
in Las Vegas - McCarran
Michael Voltaggio’s ink.sack,
Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport