Star Stud­ded Menus

Business Traveler (USA) - - LIFESTYLES -

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.

Turk­ish Air­lines

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

Vir­gin At­lantic

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.

Bri­tish Air­ways

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.

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