By: Kelly Soderlund, Hipmunk Staff
Top Chef alumna and San Francisco resident Melissa King is used to being on the go. The chef has been in the kitchen since she was 6-years-old, holds a bachelor’s in cognitive science, and finished at the top of her class at the Culinary Institute of America. A finalist on the most recent season of Bravo’s Emmy award-winning show, the fan favorite is now teaming up with her friend (and Top Chef Season 12 winner) Mei Lin to bring her Co+Lab pop-up concept to Los Angeles on Aug. 17. A portion of proceeds from the LA event will benefit La Cocina, a Bay Area organization that cultivates the talents of low-income food entrepreneurs, with a special focus on minority women. We asked King to dish on her travel habits, tips, favorite cities to visit, and the products she can’t travel without.
H: So, tell us. What’s in your carry-on?
MK: My carry-on often includes my iPad, headphones, Kiehl’s lip balm, Persol sunglasses, raw almonds and a banana, and an extra small cooler bag to transport snacks like frozen dumplings, local artisan cheese, and salami back home.
H: Carry on bag of choice?
MK: I’m obsessed with J. Crew, and their Abingdon bags are very reliable and stylish. Next on my wish list though is an Ernest Alexander leather weekender bag.
H: How often would you say you travel?
MK: I travel about once a month. It’s often for work, but I like to think it’s for play!
H: First, business class or coach?
MK: I usually just fly coach so I can save my money for food, but I cross my fingers for the day I get upgraded to business or first class!
H: Ok, now that we’re warmed up let’s play a game of favorites. Favorite city to visit for work? Why?
MK: My favorite city to visit for work is Tokyo. It’s a city full of food, culture, and beauty. It’s an inspiring city for any chef to be in.
H: Favorite city for play? Why?
MK: My favorite city to visit for play is New York City. There’s always somewhere to go, somewhere to eat, and people to visit when I’m there.
H: Favorite hotels?
MK: My favorite hotels are any Ritz Carlton hotels, Ace Hotels, and the Peninsula in Hong Kong.
H: Favorite airline? Airport? Airport Terminal?
MK: My favorite airline is Virgin America for domestic travel and Singapore Airlines for international travel. My favorite airport is the Hong Kong Airport—they have the best food!
H: Any travel tips before you take off?
MK: Make sure you wear comfortable clothes before getting on a long flight. I wear sweatpants, a hoodie, and slip-on Vans so I can slip through the security line with ease.
This post was posted by Kelly Soderlund on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on July 13th.