Anyway, onto the food! Understanding that we were in for airplane food and that dishes had to be prepared with the limitations of tiny kitchens and the logistical restrictions of airplane service in mind we were fully prepared to be underwhelmed. But we were actually pretty pleased with all the dishes served, from the passed hors d'ouevres to the tasting portions of the main courses (oh goodness, we have fond memories of short ribs and a polenta cake), we were very impressed. Whether or not the deliciousness can translate to the air, however? We've got our fingers crossed in hopes that the transition will be successful.
The first chef up in the Star Chefs rotation (the menus change from chef to chef over the course of the year) is Andres Jimenez, the Executive Chef of the Ritz-Carlton Denver, whose menu is taking to the friendly skies the first week of May. We managed to corner him and ask him about his fave dishes check out the video above, where he waxes poetic about the vanilla panna cotta that he will be serving for dessert (confirmed: we waxed poetic about it too).
On Andres' menu, which you can expect to hit First and Business class next week:
Main Menu (served on the last half of flight):
Choice of hors d'oeuvres: caviar, seared ahi tuna with tomato white bean salad, duck confit, or seared watermelon with goat cheese mousse (very good!).
Seasonal salad with dressing.
Choice of main courses: Pan-roasted beef tenderloin with butternut squash cake and porcini mushroom sauce, parmesan-crusted halibut with basil risotto and white wine butter sauce, eggplant rollotini with fire-roasted pepper coulis, sun-dried tomato ricotta salsa and white bean ragout, and mustard-rubbed chicken breast with tomato green olive salsa.
Selection of cheese and dessert: Sage derby, Parmesan, Gruyere, Humboldt Fog, and Cambozola cheese with grapes. Vanilla panna cotta with strawberry consomme, costa rican coffee ice cream with trio of dulce de leche cookies, and specialty dessert wines.
Now, keep in mind that all of this is the second leg of the flight there's food coming atchya during the first half of the flight as well, including a plate of chilled white gazpacho, avocado and snow crab salad, a "hot specialty of eggplant rollotini, fire-roasted pepper coulis, sun-dried tomato ricotta salsa and white bean ragout" (which Andre mentions above), plus cheese and dessert goodies. Yeah, you're going to be eating the whole flight. Yum.
The Star Chefs, from L to R: Clayton Van Hooijidonk (Executive Chef, The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common); Andres Jimenez (Executive Chef, the Ritz-Carlton Denver); Kaleo Adams (Executive Sous Chef, the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco); Jacques Sorci (Maitre Cuisine De France, Ritz-Carlton Battery Park); George McNeill (VP Culinary, Ritz-Carlton Hotels).
Other yummies we experienced from some of the other culinary masterminds in the rotation? Seared scallops served with a pancetta crisp, beef short ribs with polenta cakes, and a double-chocolate peanut butter macaron.
Conclusion: um, we'd shell out for first class for this food. And we probably wouldn't sleep at all on the flight, either, just so we wouldn't miss a bite. But does it all taste as good at many thousands of feet above the ground? Well, the event was in a penthouse, and it tasted good from up there, so...