Celebrity chefs are nothing new — especially the celebrity chefs at Pearson Airport. Airports are becoming more of a destination and many celebrity chefs have their sights set on airports as the new frontier.
Thirty-nine million people travel through Pearson International Airport each year — of those, 100,000 are wandering through Terminal 1 every day. That’s a lot of people to feed — and more and more of those travelers are seeking out less “traditional” airport meals.
While we used to be satisfied with a soggy sandwich on the way to our gates, our tastes have gone up a scale and airports are meeting that demand by bringing in some of the best chefs around. Our first stop? Celebrity chefs at Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
1. Twist. Chef Roger Mooking’s new restaurant features buttermilk fried chicken with fried basil and honey lime dip, an espresso-rubbed burger and mussels for a “twist” on standard comfort foods.
2. Boccone Trattoria. Massimo Capra has landed at Pearson and his reviews are fab: gorgeous brick oven pizzas, fresh salads, pasta and arancini are all on the menu. And travelers can either sit down or take their food to go. One of the best parts? Chef Capra is often at the restaurant and guarantees that every dish can be served within 10 minutes.
3. Fetta Panini Bar. The great and powerful Mark McEwan has brought his fresh food concepts to Pearson in the form of a gate-side lounge with beautiful paninis, salads and small plates. The restaurant caters to all sorts of diets — vegan, kosher, halal, gluten-free — so there’s something for practically everyone on this menu. It’s a quick-serve place where you can grab and go — perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time.
4. LEE Kitchen. Susur Lee, AKA the “Iron Chef” celebrity and a Toronto native, opened his new Pearson resto in early 2015 and boasts a French-Chinese fusion in a bistro setting. The dish we’re most dying to try: Cheeseburger Spring Roll lettuce wraps!
5. The Hearth. Hearth-fired flatbreads, salads, sandwiches and small plates from the Ruby Watchco chef, Lynn Crawford, are sure to be a hit with travelers — especially since The Hearth only uses natural and seasonal ingredients. They also feature local Ontario farmers and Canadian fishermen.
6. Bar 120: Cuisine Transformed. The “renowned modernist chef” John Placko brings molecular cuisine (a modern style of cooking) to Pearson with melon-feta popsicles, pepperberry kangaroo rump and wattleseed mousse.
READ MORE: 5 Things to Never Wear At the Airport
1. Caplansky’s. Zane Caplansky brings his beloved College St. deli food to the airport! If you feel the need for an overstuffed corned beef sandwich, you now have an option — and a great one at that. Although you probably won’t make friends with your seatmates after eating it, you will definitely enjoy this piece of classic Toronto.
2. Fionn MacCools. This Toronto institution is a favorite of the downtown after-work crowd for a reason; its upscale pub food is delicious. Also, the Blarney Chips are to die for!
3. Paramount. Serving Mediterranean foods such as shawarma, pita, hummus, pizza and sandwiches, this outpost of the well-known Toronto restaurant shines with its healthy options. Online ordering is coming soon, which will make it even easier for travelers to make wise choices while they pass through Pearson!
4. Acer. Overly delicious noodles and sushi by Guy Rubino are a standout in the Terminal 3 dining scene (located in the international departures area). Curries, udon and shrimp dumplings are some of the healthier options available at Acer. Each seat also has an iPad you can use while you eat.
5. Corso. Reviewed very positively by critics, Rocco Agostino’s Corso offers the best of his two Toronto restaurants, Pizzeria Libretto and Enoteca Sociale, both favorites in the Toronto dining scene. Corso is a trattoria that offers rustic Italian flavors in dishes such as antipasti, pizza, salads and pastas.
6. Nobel Burger Bar. Another resto by Mark McEwan, this time in Terminal 3 and offering his famous $50 Bymark burger for $15 as well as a build-your-own burger concept that caters to vegan, kosher, halal, organic and other tastes. Each seat offers an iPad too (just like at Acer) and as you might have guessed, the bar is always busy.
Whatever you choose, remember that upscale food isn’t necessarily healthier than other options — even if it is coming from a celebrity chef at Pearson International Airport. Try for plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep you feeling good on your flight.
This blog originally appeared on Vane's website.