James Beard-Winning Chefs Share Their Top Travel Hacks

#3 is a *total* game changer.

By Jacqueline Parisi

23 September 2019

1. Bring your stretchy pants

For Ann Kim, chef of Young Joni and winner of the 2019 Best Chef: Midwest James Beard award, there's no sticking to the "three square meals" adage while traveling.

"It's like six or seven," she says. "Because that's what it's about for me. It's about eating and drinking and going where the locals are. And if they give you something to eat, always accept it. So bring your stretchy pants, because life's too short to not eat when you're traveling."

2. Never check a luggage

You won't spot Daniel Boulud in the baggage claim line, because when this renowned chef and restaurateur travels, he does everything he can to travel with a carry-on, and a carry-on only.

"Never, never check a luggage," he says, "so you have to be super smart in the type of suitcase you buy and the type of garment bag you have, because they make garment bags where they're heavier than a suitcase."

Packing smart for Boulud also means bringing a bag of almonds, his go-to travel snack. "I never know where I'm going to end up," he tells Journy's Leiti Hsu.

3. Be strategic in your choice of sweater

When Kate Krader, food editor at Bloomberg, travels, she's smart with her choice of sweater.

"You have to figure out the thing that you can scrunch up," she explains. "It has to be indestructible. It has to be cute. It has to be warm when you get on the plane because otherwise you're going to freaking freeze. There's definitely a lot of different climates when you travel now You can be burning up and then you can be freezing. So you have to be prepared. But some of those wraps are enormous. You try and pack them and you need a whole suitcase for them. So you have to figure out that sweater that's got magic properties, that scrunches up and often becomes a blanket. But then when you stand up or you see somebody cute, you've got it on, so you're okay."

READ MORE: The Carry-On Essentials These Travel Experts Don't Leave Home Without

4. Talk to your servers for the inside scoop on the neighborhood or city

Word of mouth is Beverly Kim's MO when traveling. Because for Kim, one half of the husband-and-wife duo behind Parachute and Wherewithall (and the winner of the 2019 Best Chef: Great Lakes award), there's no question that the servers "know what's up."

"They're the ones that go out to eat, the locals," she tells Hsu. "So I always ask servers or people there...or the chef, if I get a chance to talk to them. Where do you recommend? I just let that be the adventure."

5. Always have a plan

Kwame Onwuachi—winner of the 2019 Rising Star Chef Of The Year award for his work at Kith & Kin—is a BIG fan of planning ahead, and for good reason.

"You don't want to spend that hour or two hours looking through Yelp reviews or whatever outlet you use," he explains. "Do all that stuff before you get there. What you want to eat, where you want to go."

David and Anna Posey, chef-owners of Elske, agree.

"We always try and do research and...places we want to go whether it be a museum or a store or a restaurant or a cafe or bar...then we take a map, and we'll put little pins down where all those places are, and we'll stay close so that we can walk there and really explore all the neighborhoods.

Hear what else Anna and David Posey had to say about everything from David's proposal to their favorite Chicago hot dogs—and even travel guilty pleasures.