For Dominique Ansel, the inventor of the insanely popular Cronut (the donut-meets-croissant love child is so famous it earned its own trademark), finding inspiration on the road is a key ingredient to success. As part of a partnership with Hyatt’s “It’s Good Not to Be Home” initiative, Ansel sat down with us to share his favorite tips for how to find hidden gems in new cities, how to avoid sub-par plane food and how to unearth award-winning inspiration everywhere you travel.
First things first: When you travel to a new city, how do you find the best meal?
“I always ask the locals. I ask them where they typically go, what’s new, what’s interesting to see. They often all have the same recommendations of places but they always know where to go and when to go. It’s always best to have a recommendation.”
Do you have a culinary philosophy when it comes to travel?
“I love to explore and just see things. It doesn’t have to be necessarily new, but it has to be authentic. Something innovative, something creative. Sometimes it’s something just simple.”
You're in New York where the food scene seems endless. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten on this trip?
“I had some amazing sushi at Akashi in the West Village last week. That was really quite good.”
How do you manage to eat well while hopping between planes, trains and buses?
“You don’t always eat well per se, but at least you have to eat healthy when you travel—especially when you travel through different time zones on a plane or a train it’s important to stay healthy. I often buy some food while on my way. I try to buy a healthy sandwich so I don’t have to eat just the food on the plane.”
Do you prep your own meals before heading to the airport?
“I don’t do this but I should. I often try to find good restaurants just before my flight so I don’t have to rely on the food on the plane or even at the airport.”
You’ve been lauded as one of the most innovative chefs of our time—how do you find inspiration when you travel?
“I love learning and exploring—not just about food but about any industry. I went to Japan last year and saw an amazing exhibit about movement, and I found that quite inspiring for what I do. It’s always inspiring for me to explore a different universe.”
On this partnership you worked with celebrity fitness trainer Gunnar Peterson—a very different kind of innovator. How did you two feed off of each other?
“I always love working with creative minds, especially Gunnar who has a different unique approach when it comes to fitness and working out. It was exciting for me to work with him and come up with fun ways for people to stay healthy while they travel.”