9 Chefs Reveal Their Dream Trips Slideshow
If I am packing now and leaving for the airport, I think I’d catch the next flight to Argentina, Uruguay, or Brazil. But I would definitely visit all three countries once I am there. I would love to discover how they cook with an open fire in Argentina and Uruguay. I have been dreaming about it ever since I read Francis Mallmann’s book Seven Fires. My friend Peter Kaminsky, who wrote the book, has told me incredible stories about the beauty of their products and the wildness of their lands.
On a shorter trip, though, I would go to Iceland to taste Nordic seafood and for a relaxing break — I’d soak my butt in a hot springs!
Learn more about Daniel Boulud's many restaurants.
Really, it depends on the season. I don’t want to go to Russia in the winter or Thailand in monsoon season, so if I had to pick one holiday, I’d say Italy. I’d fly into the North, make my way down the coast, and back up the other one. The goal would be to spend time in some cities viewing art and architecture, taking in the history and culture, eating in some fine dining establishments, and enjoying the nightlife. Then I’d head to some smaller towns and villages to get my hands dirty — check out farming and wine making, meat and cheese curing, hanging out with local craftsmen and eating in local taverns. Then, I’d work the coasts to visit all of the different fishing villages — sampling fish from local waters and some local wine.
We were just in Verona last week at the Allegrini Amarone book release and we met a couple of chefs there who were involved in the project. Spiaggia was the only U.S. restaurant included in the book, so all of the other chefs were from all around the world. We became friends with a couple from Melbourne, Australia, who are of Italian origin and who operate a number of restaurants in the city.
So, if I could drop everything and head to the airport today, I would go straight to Melbourne. First, to see our new friends and tour the city with them as they showed us all of the hot spots — food, wine, and cultural. They are so passionate about all things Italian, so it would be fantastic.
Second, I’ve always wanted to visit Australia — the culture, the many Italian immigrants, the perspective on food and wine that is so different from ours. Australia’s our next trip.
Learn more about Tony Mantuano's restaurant Spiaggia.
I guess my ideal trip would take place in May or September. I would love to jet to Auckland and stay there for a few days soaking up the flavors of the city and the countryside surrounding it. Then, I would head to the wine and fly fishing of Hawkes Bay. I’d go fishing for amazing brown trout, drink delicious wines from over 70 wineries, and maybe never come back home.
Learn more about Jonathan Waxman's restaurant Barbuto.
I’d go to San Sebastian to cook. Then, I’d go eat at Noma in Copenhagen, which just seems amazing. I have a huge desire to go to the Maldives, too — one of those huts on the water. I spent the month of February in Vietnam riding my bike, too. Does that count?
I would hands down go to Oaxaca, Mexico. When I was 13, we had an exchange student from Oaxaca live with us and his family always sent him food. Ever since, I have been totally perplexed with their rooted knowledge of spices and flavor combinations — from traditional mole to spicy lollipops — it fascinates me. I personally love to cook with chocolate by savory means and I think Oaxacans do it best. I’d love to go there and spend two weeks in a kitchen learning their secrets.
Learn more about Angelo Sosa's restaurant Social Eatz.
If I was to drop everything and go to the airport, I would pick an island in the Caribbean — Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada — they are all beautiful and the weather is always perfect. I’d go because you can have complete peace and quiet, lie on the beach and really switch off and not think about anything for a change! There is still plenty to do and see away from the beach to keep busy when you’ve had enough sun for the day.
Learn more about Robert Aikens' restaurant The Dandelion.
If I could drop everything, I’d pack light, comfortable clothes and hurry to catch a flight to Milan. Once I landed, I’d hop on a bus heading into the rolling hills of Tuscany — which I consider heaven on earth. The smell and the sounds of the Italian countryside are the stuff dreams are made of. I’d enjoy lunch at a vineyard — including fresh mozzarella, basil, the best-ever olive oil, salami, speck, bread, wine (then some more wine), and so on. Dinner would be at a farmhouse and involve pasta with fresh vegetables (just picked from behind the barn), crusty bread, tomatoes, wine, and Grappa.
Learn more about Elmar Prambs' restaurant Trio.
I’d take my wife and son to La Boqueria Market in Spain. My wife and I have been, but we have been promising our son Justin that we’d take him for a few years now. He’s a chef and his excitement for amazing produce and all forms of food would be as engaged as ours were when we went for the first time. As a father, it’s one of those things I’d like to give my son. We’d start with the legendary Pinotxo tapas bar and then just go!
To learn more about Norman Van Aken, click here.