SSP's proposal to include the L.A. chefs scored 495 points.
Silverton is the celebrity chef behind Osteria Mozza, which hosted Michelle Obama and her daughters during a recent L.A. trip.
For LAX, Silverton proposes creating Spuntino, a sort of focaccia bar that would offer grab-and-go versions of her Mozza recipes. (Interestingly, Host is also claiming its share of the Silverton magic by offering the airport version of La Brea Bakery. Silverton founded La Brea Bakery but sold it a few years ago.)
SSP America is also offering airport versions of Splichal's Nick & Stef's; Feniger and Milliken's Border Grill; Bertha's Soul Food, owned by the husband-and-wife team of Rod White and Rebecca Cox; La Serenata de Garibaldi, run by the Rodriguez family; and Craig Min's LAMILL Coffee.
One of the other losing bidders, Delaware North, argued in its protest that SSP's lineup would be too pricey for most travelers.
Vendors were told to assume an 18 percent markup above comparable fare outside the airport. A 16-ounce cup of coffee at LAMILL would cost $3.75. A panini from Spuntino would cost about $13. A sushi roll at Geisha House would cost $18, and Nick & Stef's would sell a $40 steak.
"Not everyone travels on expense accounts," wrote Lisa Specht, of the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. "For the average family traveling through LAX, the price points are unsustainable."
SSP's Murray argues that his proposal would offer a range of options for all budgets.
Delaware North's proposal included Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Wolfgang Puck's Express, which is already at the airport under a contract separate from Host's, and Fatburger.
To which Murray says, "I can't believe someone would have a conversation and say they really want to have Fatburger instead of Sue Feniger or Nancy Silverton."
SSP's rivals also took aim at the company's financial stability, arguing that it defaulted on its rent payments to Ontario International Airport and is in danger of being unable to service its debt.
After hearing those allegations, airport officials sat down with the top executives at SSP and came away satisfied that SSP could meet its obligations under the contract. SSP runs concessions at 140 airports worldwide.