Anyone who’s had to catch a red-eye flight or travels often knows the struggle of finding decent food in the morning. More often than not, airport breakfasts are something we endure rather than enjoy, especially in the US. However, there are definitely ways to get around that, and thankfully a few celebrity chefs are willing to share how they do so.
In interviews with Eater, popular chefs like Ayesha Curry, Eric Ripert, and David Chang, among others, shared their best tips and tricks to make airport breakfasts more palatable, at the very least. Here’s how each of these celebs upgrade their morning meal game while flying around the country.
The real Chef Curry would like to remind you that yes, it is okay to bring food into the airport. In her case, she makes a quick DIY trail mix of dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, almonds, raisins, and sunflower seeds, using a 1/4 cup of each. That, plus some tea and coffee, is a solid energy-booster to kickstart your morning. When she doesn’t have that, though, Curry admits to indulging in a Starbucks chocolate chip muffin, so that always works, too.
This Top Chef judge knows how to get a solid breakfast out of what you can find at the airport lounge. For those of you lucky enough to have access to one, Acheson’s got a simple build that he makes at the Delta lounge in Atlanta: A double-toasted bagel with butter, cream cheese, and strawberry jam. He washes all that down with apple juice on ice and is ready to fly.
Shake Shack’s culinary director likes to dine at local spots that get brought into the airport. One of his personal favorites is the Publican Tavern in Chicago O’Hare, where he imbibes on coffee and scrambled eggs with house-made bacon. Rosati encouraged folks to go find similar spots in their own airports, suggesting that you look for eateries with “local character and flavors that reflect the city.”
Chef Samuelsson keeps things simple and fresh, with fruit, a healthy muffin, a bottle of water, and a coffee or cappuccino being his breakfast of choice.
Pok Pok’s famous chef doesn’t eat breakfast on travel days. However, to him, coffee is a must in the morning regardless, with his go to choice being Stumptown, which both Portland and New York’s airports carry.
The James Beard award winner changes up her morning meal based on how she’s feeling. Typically, it’s coffee with yogurt, granola, blueberries, and strawberries. However, she will occasionally treat herself to a pain au chocolat or a brown sugar scone if she’s in the mood.
For Chef Solomonov, who runs the award-winning Zahav in Philly, plane travel is all about staying hydrated. He eats a bowl of fruit before flying to accomplish that goal, and brings his own unsalted nuts to avoid the heavily seasoned ones typically served in flight. Other than that, he recommends Saison (pictured above) in New Jersey’s Newark-Liberty International Airport for anyone looking for a quality airport breakfast.
For the Momofuku maestro, Shake Shack is an airport morning holy grail that he’s even missed a flight for once. Panda Express (if it’s late enough) and Wolfgang Puck restaurants on the West Coast are also favorites of his. Apart from that, Chang will sometimes utilize Soylent, the soy drink meal replacement, as an emergency.