Star Studded Menus
To tickle the palates of passengers long before they board, airlines routinely seek and sign big names in the culinary world. Luminaries past and present include Milan’s chef Carlo Cracco and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey at Singapore Airlines; celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson at American Airlines; Australian wonder Neil Perry at Qantas, and many more. And while some airlines hire the big names as consultants to help design a tantalizing meal or two, others such as Turkish Airlines and Etihad are bringing award-winning chefs along for the ride to help execute the success of the onboard experience.
The recipient of “Best Business Class Catering” at the 2013 Skytrax World Airline Awards, Turkish Airlines has completely renewed its onboard catering concept. Ottoman and Selijug concept was created to promote a more authentic experience on par with dining in a chic restaurant or the actual experience of dinner by candlelight, including freshly brewed tea served from a “samovar” in traditional Turkish style at 37,000 feet.
Delta Air Lines
“Delta partners with several top chefs to develop Business Class menus in various regions served,” notes Kate D. Modolo, senior manager, corporate communications.
Delta’s current list includes chef of Napa Valley fame and Food Network star Michael Chiarello for the carrier’s JFK Transcontinental Markets (SFO, LAX, and SEA) and all Atlanta and Mexico City, Food Network star and Miami luminary Michelle Bernstein rules. Between Atlanta and AMD, CDG, FRA and LHR, there’s chef Linton Hopkins of LHR, menus are created by Blue Smoke, a Delta partnership with Danny Meyer’s US Hospitality Group in New York City.
“We have three separate wine programs for BusinessElite – all curated by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson. Each rotates every three months (two reds, two whites, needs such as gluten free, dairy free, low calorie, etc. we have 16 different special
It was January 2009 when advertising executive Oliver Beale wrote Sir Richard Branson to express his opinion of the food he experienced on an Australia-bound
A “culinary journey of hell,” Beale wrote, involving “yellow shafts of sponge, dessert with a tomato, a sour gel with a clear oil on top, a cuboid of beige matter, more mustard than any man could consume in a month and a cookie that was like biting into a piece of brass.”
Virgin has since employed the celebrity chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan to assist with food on the airline’s Australian arm.
Unlike Beale's onboard experience, the Clubhouse experience for Virgin's first and business class passengers waiting to board their flight is far from average. Contrary to most airline lounges where the food is typically served buffet style, in the Clubhouse, you can have a seat, take a look at a menu and choose what you’d like the chef to personally prepare for you.
Another perk aboard the flight is the newly designed Upper Class Suite - a bar complete with seats.
Swiss International Air Lines
At Swiss International Air Lines, “our concept is not about celebrity chefs, but about showcasing the regions of Switzerland,” explains Sarah Klatt-Walsh, director, head of
“We bring a different chef from a different Swiss canton onboard every three months. Sometimes the chefs/restaurants have two Michelin stars and 18 Gault Millau points, way. From Balik Salmon in SWISS First, our SWISS Meusli in SWISS Business to our famous SWISS chocolates in Economy – those are a few of our signature specialties.”
SWISS has also taken the allergy trend seriously, recently being recognized as the products – whether coffee cream, snacks, or synthetic pillows are upon request,” KlattWalsh says.
In May, Lufthansa rolled out four all new culinary concepts created particularly to the United States.
“The US is both a cultural and culinary melting pot, thanks to the traditions and tastes brought by immigrants from their homeland,” says Ernst Derenthal, Lufthansa’s and region. Our hope is that Lufthansa’s guests will enjoy a ‘wow’ factor when tasting these new menus.”
From the West, Cioppino, a seafood ragout with tomato and saffron known to every
with spicy chili sauce. Northeast and Midwest gateways will experience fresh pasta stuffed with artichokes.
At British Airways, the general consensus seems to be that as long as planes are loaded with bubbles, a good curry dish and Cadbury’s chocolate, customers are happy campers.
An analysis of the food and drink habits of its customers turned up some surprising discoveries. For example, when it comes to sweet treats, despite the airline’s investment in expensive luxury chocolates, business class customers have called for Cadbury. In response to the demand, the airline offers a range of brands from the manufacturer in its ‘Club Kitchen,’ offering a stock of both healthy and indulgent foods
British Airways has also introduced “altitude tea.” In a strategic partnership with British and world brand Twinings, it is designed to blend effectively since water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes.