Up-and-coming chefs cook to impress
High school students from across Chicago got the chance to put their culinary skills to the test on a big stage last week at the Rising Chef Challenge – Chicago, created and sponsored by United, with support from The Trotter Project and the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). We also hosted the Rising Chef Challenge – Los Angeles in June.
Competing teams of young gourmets were tasked with creating imaginative menu items with local celebrity chefs serving as their mentors. Bill Kim of UrbanBelly and BellyQ, who contributed to our United Polaris menu, worked with the winners, Team Tomato, to develop two entrees and a dessert each based around the assigned primary ingredient, tomatoes.
Each team's dishes were judged by United's Chef Gerry McLoughlin, United Sponsorships Director Rahsaan Johnson, The Trotter Project Executive Director Derrek Hull, Senior Program Coordinator at Chicago Public Schools David Blackman and United Employee Service Center Operations Representative Marshawn Pitchford, who is also a graduate of C-CAP.
Team Tomato was composed of 10th grader Swahdreeznya Rosier, 12th grader Jada Harris and 11th grader Nia Alexander. For winning the challenge, we awarded each of them with a Shun knife set, and one MVP from each team was selected to intern alongside local Trotter Project chefs, a list that includes Chef Kristopher Delee of The Duck Inn, Chef Aaron Lirette of Green River, Chef Toni Robertson of The Peninsula Chicago, and Chef Sari Worsham of mfk. restaurant.
"Watching the judges try our food and really enjoy it filled us with pride," Ms. Rosier said. "Overall, this was a very fast-paced learning experience that will only motivate my team and me to continue doing our best in the kitchen."
United Sponsorship Manager Janelle Edwards, who managed both Rising Chef Challenge events, was thrilled to play a part in encouraging emerging chefs, some of whom might find their way to United in the years to come. "Watching the students was an amazing experience," she said. "We worked with underrepresented minorities and provided them a once-in-a-lifetime culinary opportunity. By participating in this program, the students learned life skills like procuring fresh produce and the importance of teamwork, and I believe we made a lasting impact."
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.
We have operated more than 56 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 8,000 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.
Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:
- Quito, Ecuador
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Roatan, Honduras
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Seoul, South Korea
- Melbourne, Australia
We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.