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Top Chef Hugh Acheson Talks Honeymooning: From His Go-To In-Flight Snack to the One Thing You Always Need to Pack

For this regular series, we reached out to globetrotting travel bloggers, chefs, designers, and other tastemakers to find out everything from their go-to gadgets and in-flight secrets to the most romantic meal they've ever had. Because who better to share their insight about how to have an unforgettable honeymoon (or really, any future vacation as a married couple) than those who have spent a lot of time on the road?

Photography by: Courtesy of Hugh Acheson

With four restaurants in Georgia, three cookbooks, and multiple stints on Top Chef (as both contestant and judge), Atlanta-based chef Hugh Acheson is a food force to be reckoned with. (Plus, he sure knows how to cook a pork chop.) Lately, he's also been keeping busy with Seed Life Skills, a foundation he created to help educate youth on the importance of food sustainability. Here, find out his favorite Chilean spice, what he snacks on during long flights, and more.

Aisle or window?


Check or carry-on?

Depends. When I am traveling for work I check a bag because work means a knife kit and kitchen tools.

What electronics or gadgets do you always pack?

I pack a pair of Sennheiser headphones to listen to music or podcasts. They sound great. And a battery backup for my phone. No one likes a phone without power.

What are your tips for fitting souvenirs in your suitcase?

I usually bring a canvas tote bag for dirty laundry or extra things that I buy along the way. Roll it up into a cylinder and pack it in. You'll never know it's there until you need it.

Favorite foodie souvenir from your travels?

Smoked merkén chile from Chile. I like buying spices on the road.

What is the most romantic destination you've visited?

Barcelona. It's such a beautiful walking city.

Most romantic hotel?

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona. It's beautiful and modern in an old building, and has stellar service.

Most romantic meal?

Anywhere with the one you love.

Restaurant with the most amazing view?

I like looking at great food, so anywhere with great food.

Meal you could eat again and again?

Bar Tartine in San Francisco. So good. So interesting.

Do you make reservations or keep meals spontaneous when you travel?

Both. Usually spontaneous.

What are your go-to snacks for a long flight?

I make a sandwich and bring a power bar and some nuts.

What are your tips for planning a once in a lifetime trip?

Bring a raincoat. Life has a rainy season.

What camera do you recommend?

I have a FujiFilm XT1. It's smaller but total pro. Or my iPhone. Both are great ways to document.

What are your go-to travel apps?

The Kayak app, Fitstar for hotel room workouts, and the Delta app to monitor my flights.

What are your in-flight beauty tips?

Go to the bathroom early. They get a little haggard toward the end of the flight. And never go to the bathroom in your socks. Ewww.

How do you look refreshed after a long flight?

Don't drink alcohol on the flight, just lots of water.

How do you fight jet lag?

Nap when you can, and when you land, completely immerse yourself in the new time zone.

Best ways for killing time during a layover?

Find a good airport coffee shop or restaurant and get some vittles.