Press Releases

February 1, 2018

Calling All Chefs to O’Hare: Enter to Win a Trip to Compete in a Live Cook-Off Contest at the Airport

Competition open to recreational and aspiring chefs; winner receives airfare for two, a VIP trip to the James Beard Awards, has their dish featured on an O’Hare airport restaurant menu, and more.

BETHESDA, MD – Ready to show off your cooking skills to the millions of world travelers at Chicago O’Hare International Airport? Want to get your favorite dish featured on a restaurant menu at one of the busiest airports in the world? Enter Channel Your Inner Chef a unique, multi-phase cooking contest hosted by global restaurateur HMSHost in partnership exclusively with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA).

HMSHost and the Chicago Department of Aviation launched the Channel Your Inner Chef culinary competition four years ago at Chicago O’Hare as the first ever live cooking competition to take place in an airport. Channel Your Inner Chef celebrates HMSHost’s sponsorship of the 2018 James Beard Awards.

“The team at O'Hare is encouraging applicants from Chicago and across the country to enter this one-of-a-kind cooking contest,” said Juan Manzano, CDA Deputy Commissioner of Concessions. “Through our partnership with HMSHost, Channel Your Inner Chef celebrates the culinary talent found throughout the country and in Chicago – a city known for its diverse culinary scene which extends to Chicago O’Hare, with award-winning restaurants such as Publican Tavern and Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless.”

Each year, the Channel Your Inner Chef competition reaches new heights as a result of robust local outreach by HMSHost and the Chicago Department of Aviation to encourage local students from culinary schools and colleges throughout the Chicago area to participate. Past contestants have ranged from culinary students to amateur cooks showcasing their favorite dishes in front of Chicago O’Hare travelers.

“With this year’s Channel Your Inner Chef, we are looking to identify the culinary stars of tomorrow. Whether you are a culinary student, a sous chef, or a foodie that likes to cook for family and friends, we want to see what you’ll bring to the table,” said HMSHost Vice President of Marketing and Communications Atousa Ghoreichi. “You do not have to be a master chef to enter this exhilarating competition so long as you are enthusiastic about cooking.”

Entry to the competition is easy. Submit a two-minute video showcasing your outgoing personality as you prepare your favorite recipe. Upload your video by February 20, 2018 at Five finalists will be selected among video entries received that are judged by recipe, presentation, form, and showmanship. The five finalists will win a trip to Chicago to compete in a live cooking showdown event in front of an audience and a panel of judges right inside of Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 2 on March 20, 2018.

The cook-off presents the finalists with the one-of-a-kind challenge of creating an original recipe with a bounty of ingredients revealed to them at the start of the event. The winning dish will be featured on the menu of an HMSHost-operated restaurant at Chicago O’Hare for all travelers to enjoy. 

The grand prize winner will also receive two roundtrip airline tickets for a flight within the continental U.S. and a VIP trip for two to attend the James Beard Awards Gala on May 7, 2018 at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Entries are accepted through February 20, 2018. Full details about Channel Your Inner Chef, including rules and regulations can be found at

HMSHost Leading the Industry

HMSHost is recognized by the industry as the top provider of travel dining with awards such as 2017 Best Overall Food & Beverage Operator (for the tenth consecutive year) and Food Operator with the Highest Regard for Customer Service (for the eighth year) by Airport Revenue News. USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards recognized HMSHost’s Dale Jr.’s Whisky River at Charlotte Douglas International Airport as Best Airport Bar and Best Airport Sitdown Dining. HMSHost infuses innovation and culinary expertise into everything we do; with events such as the first-of-its-kind Airport Restaurant Month at more than 50 airports across North America, the award-winning Channel Your Inner Chef live culinary contest at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and the Adrian Awards Gold winning campaigns, #HMSHostLove and Eat Well. Travel Further.

About HMSHost

Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates in more than 120 airports around the globe and 99 travel plazas in North America. The Company has annual sales in excess of $3.1 billion and employs more than 39,500 sales associates worldwide. HMSHost is a part of Autogrill Group, the world’s leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. With sales of over €4.5 billion in 2016, the Group operates in 31 countries and employs over 57,000 people. It manages approximately 4,000 stores in about 1,000 locations worldwide. Visit for more information and connect with HMSHost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.   

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