What is it about flying that makes people so hungry?
Hard to say — but it sure has proven a good thing for chefs.
Chefs have filled up many an airport restaurant, take-out joint, and passenger meal.
DNC once worked with Wolfgang Puck, opening up two Express units at LAX in the early 1990s. This makes DNC the first company to bring celebrity chefs to airports. Perhaps that is why Morimoto’s concept makes so much sense.
Super Chef spoke with Vito Buscemi, Director of Concept Portfolio in the Travel Hospitality Services group of DNC:
Super Chef: How did this come about? When did negotiations start?
Vito Buscemi: We started talking a year ago. We already knew Morimoto’s work, as customers and doing events. He worked with DNC at the Ball Room at the
Plaza. I think, he is a real showman. He is really great at marketing himself and what he does. He is very creative. If you watch Iron Chef America, he always steps the game up and takes on a challenge.
So, we started to talk about the airport environment. Trying to do sushi in an airport was not the way to go. He didn’t think so: we didn’t think so. It wouldn’t have as much mass appeal.
Super Chef: Why does the Skewers concept work so well?
Vito Buscemi: First off, it’s street food. It’s not high-end. It’s not Asian steam table, like you find in many airports. You don’t need to have gone to a yakitori place in Japan: you get it when you walk up. It’s healthy. It has a great smell. If you want lighter food, you can choose grilled pork, beef, or chicken over rice. If you want crisp, you choose fried. The price range is anywhere from $9 to $15.
The key thing in this brand and concept is that this is great street food that we bring into the airport. It is going to be exciting when people see it. It’s not fine dining: some high-end steak houses can be intimidating for a family. This concept works well as quick service or fast casual.
Buscemi told Super Chef that DNC has bid for different properties and hopes to make an announcement in 2010.
(See related article of same date: “Allen Susser Goes Hollywood with DNC.”)
(Photo courtesy of Delaware North Companies)