Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Rick Moonen
Hometown: New York, New York
Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada
College: Culinary Institute of America
Facebook: Chef Rick Moonen
Short bio: Chef and cookbook author Rick Moonen has been the country’s leading advocate for the sustainable seafood movement for the past 25 years, bringing national awareness to this subject near and dear to his heart. His flagship restaurant, Rick Moonen’s rm seafood at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas, showcases his commitment to sustainability without foregoing culinary creativity and innovation, and has been critically acclaimed by local and national press alike. Most recently, Chef Moonen opened a second restaurant located just one floor above rm seafood. His steam punk-inspired Rx Boiler Room provides the alchemy of food and drink, featuring his very own spin on classic comfort food. In 2010, Rick made a memorable appearance on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, nearly taking home the title and raising thousands of dollars and national awareness for Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas. In May 2011, Monterey Bay Aquarium honored Rick as their “Chef of the Year” for his tireless efforts towards sustainability. In 2013, USA Today named him one of Earth’s “Power Players” as one of five leaders helping the health of our planet and was named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the American Culinary Federation.
How often do you fly? I have taken 28 round trips this year…so every two weeks on average.
Favorite American city: This is a tough question to answer, as I love so many cities for different reasons and at different times of the year. I am fortunate to live in Las Vegas with a home 25 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. I get the best of all worlds…peace and tranquility of the desert next to amazing food and entertainment. The Big Apple will always remain home to me and I love returning.
Favorite international city: I recently fell in love with Mexico City. It has such a deep history and is so close to where I live now. I can’t wait to return soon and spend more time exploring the food and culture of this intriguing giant city.
Friendliest people in the world: Canadians.
Favorite airline: Tied between Aer Lingus or Quantas…first class.
Aisle or window: Aisle…you don’t have to ask anyone to move when you need to stretch your legs. I am a restless traveler.
Favorite airport lounge: Dublin VIP lounge. Jameson’s on tap and tons of Guinness…just sayin’.
Favorite hotel: Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, CA.
Favorite beach: Lizard Island, Australia (right on the Great Barrier Reef).
Favorite National Park: The Florida Keys.
Favorite fancy restaurant: The Mansion at MGM Grand.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Le Tub in Hollywood Florida (burger only).
Favorite bar: White Chapel in San Francisco.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Manhattan on the rocks…extra sweet in a good bar. In the air I will drink the wine if it is good.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Hundred-Foot Journey.
Favorite travel show(s): Any show that Andrew Zimmern is hosting.
Right now I am reading: Prannie Rhatigan’s “Irish Seaweed Kitchen.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Rolling Stone magazine has the best articles.
5 things you bring on a plane: Trail mix, hard boiled eggs (plus good sea salt), ear buds that fit me, pillow, blanket.
What do you always seem to forget? Sunglasses…prescription.
What’s your dream destination? Bali.
Best travel tip: Since flying in a pressurized compartment dehydrates you avoid things that dry you out…caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, etc. Drink plenty of water and you will feel less groggy when you land. I NEVER follow these tips but I hear it works.