Disclaimer: this article was contributed by an author who wishes to remain anonymous, and indeed flies frequently. Enjoy!
Recently, I was given the unusual task of sampling a private menu at the British Airways’ booth at the Taste of DC. Unusual, as I honestly cannot remember the last time someone spoke positively about airline food. Of course, that can change when an airline brings in a Michelin-starred chef to revamp their in-flight menus. Enter Chef Simon Hulstone, the head chef of The Elephant in Devon, and mastermind behind the British Airways’ airborne culinary delights.
Chef Hulstone explained that in order to properly craft meals for your flight, they first had to be taste-tested in the air. In preparing these menus, they found that way food tasted at ground level was not exactly how it tasted miles in the sky. With that insight, recipes were adjusted to ensure that the flavor of your meal was just as good as when traveling at cruising altitude.
Chef Hulstone explained this all to us while setting beautiful plates before us. Colorful plates, consisting of ingredients carefully stacked upon one another. This, of course, prompted us to ask – what about preparation in flight? Taken care of – they’re sending their flight crew into the air with specific instructions on how to prepare each meal. By this point, I was too busy stuffing my face to ask any more questions. Let’s get to the meal, shall we?
Chilled Heritage Tomato consommé with basil oil. Simple, yet so wonderfully fresh, light, and flavorful. When trapped on a flight for 6+ hours, this is the ideal way to start your meal.
Salad of elderflower cooked golden beetroot with pickled smiji mushrooms and goats cheese. With the second course comes a gradual step forward in your in-flight food journey. The flavors compliment each other well, especially the goat cheese and beetroot. Again, something flavorful, not overly complicated, and as great a treat for the eyes as the stomach.
Roasted fillet of Halibut with a warm tartare sauce. I had been expecting a dish like this from the start. In offering an array of courses for an international flight, something like this halibut dish makes perfect sense. The halibut was cooked just right, and the warm tartare sauce complimented it well.
Seaweed braised Beef with parmesan and horseradish pomme puree. Braised beef was good, sure. Horseradish pomme was a nice touch. But who was the breakout star of this dish? The carrot cooked in duck fat! I could have consumed an entire plate of these carrots, and this is coming from a girl that certifiably hates carrots. Seriously, duck fat for the win.
Salted caramel chocolate fondant. I’m not quite sure what to say about this dish. I would say that the description is pretty self-explanatory. It’s chocolate. It’s caramel. You cannot go wrong with that combination. The fondant is an ideal serving size, and just the right balance between salty and sweet. Truly the perfect way to close out the meal.
If your in-flight meal (business or first, of course) is as enjoyable as this sampling, your travel plans have been taken to a whole new level.