Industry News | January 18, 2013

CIA Students Serve Up Comfort Food for Travelers

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Global restaurateur HMSHost is proud to announce the winners of the Fast & Fabulous Recipe Contest, a program that the company cosponsors with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

Jessica Hargrove and Lauren Fury, students at the CIA, were recognized as the winners of the contest for their Toasted Flatbread Mac n’ Cheese and Chicken and Waffles recipes, respectively.

These recipes have been introduced as limited-time-offer menu items at participating HMSHost restaurants in airports around the country, giving travelers a sneak peek at these creative culinary creations. Each winner also received a $5,000 scholarship.

The Fast & Fabulous Recipe Contest was held to give CIA students the opportunity to showcase their talents and be rewarded for their culinary expertise and creativity.

The contest focused on appetizers and entrees prepared in an all-American comfort-food style. Since the dishes were to be featured in airport restaurant locations, where time is at a premium, part of the contest requirements were that appetizers must be able to be prepared in six to eight minutes and entrees in eight to 12 minutes.

Three finalists were selected in each category to participate in a final cook-off, with a panel of judges consisting of HMSHost and CIA culinary staff.

The Toasted Flatbread Mac n’ Cheese recipe submitted by Hargrove gives a creative twist to an all-American classic. Creamy mac n’ cheese is piled high on top of a whole-wheat flatbread and topped with freshly made candied bacon, bringing together two American comfort foods in one delicious dish. The flatbread is then toasted to give this hearty appetizer a crunchy exterior.

Fury’s recipe, Chicken and Waffles, combines multiple American comfort foods in an interesting and innovative way. The homemade waffles are cut into four pieces and each topped with two boneless chicken wings; then topped with creamy, white gravy, and syrup and garnished with green onions. This dish will be a true delight to travelers looking for a delicious, home-style meal before they head to their destination.

“Working with the CIA Chefs of Tomorrow to showcase today’s trends, creativity, and flavors allows HMSHost to give travelers the unique experience to try new and exciting dishes,” says Robert Bratton, CIA alumni chef and senior director of restaurant portfolio at HMSHost.

“Chefs Jessica and Lauren’s recipes feature both comfort food ingredients and exciting presentations,” he adds. “We would like to congratulate them for this outstanding achievement and for the training they gained at the CIA.”

The recipes will be featured until February 28, 2013, or until supplies last, at HMSHost locations throughout the U.S. including:

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: Fletcher’s Boat House, Rock Bottom Brewery
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: Seattle Tap Room
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport: Stock Car Café, Fox Sports Bar & Grill
  • Kansas City International Airport: Pork & Pickle, Boulevard Café
  • Albany International Airport: Silks Saratoga Bistro
  • Tampa International Airport: Sam Snead’s Grill & Tavern
  • Denver International Airport: Rock Bottom Brewery

In 2010, HMSHost and The Culinary Institute of America embarked on an exclusive five-year, strategic partnership that helps benefit travelers and the next generation of chefs.

One of the most important pieces of the partnership is HMSHost’s participation in the CIA externship program, which focuses on sharpening students’ fundamental skills in culinary techniques in a real restaurant setting.

HMSHost offers students the chance to complete their externship in several airports around the country in multiple restaurant formats, from quick service to quick casual to fine dining.

Also, through programs and contests like the Fast & Fabulous Recipe Contest, HMSHost is able to introduce new and innovative recipes to travelers and keep menus up-to-date with the latest culinary tastes and trends.