USA. Restaurateur HMSHost and the Chicago Department of Aviation have launched the 2018 edition of cooking competition Channel Your Inner Chef.

The contest was launched four years ago at Chicago O’Hare as the first live cooking competition to take place in an airport. Channel Your Inner Chef also celebrates HMSHost’s sponsorship of the 2018 James Beard Awards.

The heat is on: To enter, videos must be submitted by 20 February

The multi-phase contest is open to applicants from Chicago and across the USA. HMSHost said participants must first submit a two-minute video of them preparing their favourite recipe, while showcasing their outgoing personality. Videos must be uploaded by 20 February 2018 at

Five finalists will be selected and video entries will be judged by recipe, presentation, form, and showmanship. The finalists will win a trip to Chicago to compete in a live cooking showdown event in front of an audience and a panel of judges in Chicago O’Hare’s Terminal 2 on 20 March.

Recipe for success: Zoe Kelly won the 2017 edition of Channel Your Inner Chef

In the cook-off, contestants must create an original recipe using selected ingredients revealed to them at the start of the event. The winning dish will be featured on the menu of an HMSHost-operated restaurant at Chicago O’Hare.

The grand prize winner will also receive two roundtrip airline tickets for a flight within the continental USA and a VIP trip for two to attend the James Beard Awards Gala on 7 May at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

HMSHost and the Chicago Department of Aviation said a local outreach programme would encourage local students from culinary schools and colleges throughout the Chicago area to participate.

“With this year’s Channel Your Inner Chef, we are looking to identify the culinary stars of tomorrow. Whether you are a culinary student, a sous chef, or a foodie that likes to cook for family and friends, we want to see what you’ll bring to the table,” said HMSHost Vice President of Marketing and Communications Atousa Ghoreichi. “You do not have to be a master chef to enter this exhilarating competition so long as you are enthusiastic about cooking.”

Judges from a range of local organisations and authorities will choose the overall winner on 20 March

Chicago Department of Aviation Deputy Commissioner of Concessions Juan Manzano commented: “Through our partnership with HMSHost, Channel Your Inner Chef celebrates the culinary talent found throughout the country and in Chicago – a city known for its diverse culinary scene which extends to Chicago O’Hare, with award-winning restaurants such as Publican Tavern and Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless.”

Zoe Kelly from Orlando, Florida, won the 2017 competition with her dish of mango chutney and Sriracha prawns served with cherry tomatoes, purple cauliflower and avocado mousse.

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The company also organises the annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards. This year’s FAB will be held in Helsinki on 21-22 June. Click here for details.