By Sarah Gain
Bland, reheated microwave meals are a thing of the past on British Airways flights departing Dubai.
British Airways has carried out comprehensive research into the F&B needs of travellers and has consulted food industry experts to work with the airline's own specialist catering staff to give customers what they want.
The airline's catering and service style works to reflect that of a top-class restaurant, moving away from the traditional airline service whilst maintaining a comfortable and homely feel, according to catering innovation and standards manager Carol Conway.
Customers are served on larger, more contemporary plates, cups, cutlery and glassware, similar to that found in restaurant.
To provide the best food and service, the airline developed a Culinary Council, involving leading food industry figures to help shape, develop and advise future catering directions. Currently the council is made up of Michel Roux, chef proprietor of The Waterside Inn; Mark Edwards of Nobu, London, Richard Corrigan from The Lindsay House; Shaun Hill, chef owner of The Glasshouse in Worcester; Nicholas Lander, restaurant correspondent at The Financial Times; Vineet Bhatia from the Rasoi in London; Paisarn Cheewinsiriwat, Chiva Som, Thailand and Claire Clark from The French Laundry in California.
"They'll create signature dishes for us," explained Conway.
"What the chefs do is they come in a work with our catering outfit, which is Gate Gourmet out of London, create some dishes and refine those dishes for use in-flight.
To cater for the growing trends towards healthier eating, food served on board is contemporary, modern and provides a balance between offering healthy meals and the choice of indulgent treats, she added.
"It's quite different creating a dish suitable for in-flight menus because the food has to be cooked, chilled and re-heated on board. Certain things don't work like soufflés. You have to tweak all the ingredients."