Delta Airlines To Hold ‘Top Chef’- Esque Cooking Competition


Delta Airlines needs a new chef and in-flight menu, and with reality TV and cooking competition shows being incredibly popular with the culinary academy these days, it makes sense that they are taking a cue from the Bravo series “Top Chef” for their in-flight food.

We’ve all had to go through the often less-than-stellar experience of eating meals while on a transcontinental flight. Many airlines do not put much thought into their meals, but it looks like with Delta, all of that might change soon. Their new video series called “The Cabin Pressure Cook Off” is a collaborative effort from the airline and Food & Wine magazine.

The four contestants in the contest – all of which are former Food & Wine winners for “Best New Chef” – will work on their favorite dishes to convince Delta that they are the right chef for the job. The winner will work directly with Delta to comprise an in-flight menu for business class passengers on trans-Atlantic flights.

Three of the four contestants are from the South – which is fitting since Delta is headquartered in Atlanta. Among them are:

  • Linton Hopkins, the recipient of the 2012 James Beard award for “Best Chef: Southeast” and executive chef and owner of Holeman & Finch Public House in Atlanta’s hip foodie neighborhood, Buckhead.
  • Kelly English, who was named “Restaurateur of the Year” by the Memphis Restaurant Association and appeared on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” He is lauded in Bluff City for Restaurant Iris and The Second Line.
  • George Mendes, a New York-based chef who whips up delicious Mediterranean cuisine inspired by the flavors of Portugal. Mendes not only received a two-star rating from The New York Times, he also appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.
  • Hugh Acheson, a Canadian chef who now works in Athens, Ga., at popular restaurants like Five & Ten, The National and Empire State South. Acheson also competed on Top Chef Masters during season three.

Cooks in online chef programs will be delighted to know that something is finally being done about the many unsavory meals that travelers have had to endure over the years while dining in the air.

Foodies and jet-setters everywhere will no doubt be following this competition to see which prominent will win this contest. Hopefully one day, all airlines will decide to make dining in the sky a top priority.

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