Preparing and service meals during a flight is no easy feat. There is an art and science to inflight catering, reason why it is a highly specialized field in the culinary and aviation worlds. High altitude and humidity can diminish a person’s senses of smell and taste; and at 35,000 feet, a person’s perception of saltiness and sweetness is reduced by 30%.
At face value, it seems like a simple fix by seasoning inflight meals with more salt, pepper, and sugar. But that’s easier said than done. Cabin pressure also causes the body’s metabolism to slow down and increase water retention and bloating. Adding salt aggravates this.
On top of having to compensate for the effect of elevation, lower humidity, increased noise and movement of the aircraft on one’s senses, conceptualizing and serving meals during a flight must also account for longer lead times between preparation and serving due to operational conditions at the airport; and must comply with standards for both aviation and food safety. Depending on whether it is a meat, fish, pasta or rice-based dish, meals are pre-cooked and blast-chilled at least two hours before departure, then couriered to the airport.
For discriminating travelers, the inflight gourmet experience must be nothing but the best—comparable to dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant. From the amuse-bouche or bite-sized hors d'œuvres, the appetizer, main course and dessert, dining must be an elevated experience—even at high-altitude flights.
Inflight dining is an art and science that VistaJet, the first and only global business aviation company, has perfected over the years. VistaJet members enjoy consistent and seamless fine dining experience in the air as they would on the ground through curated gourmet menus developed by the best restaurants from all over the world.
“We discovered that simple things, big flavors, and the best ingredients cooked and prepared to perfection will always travel well. We explored the art and science behind dining–to make it something to savor,” said Diego Sabino, Vice President of Private Dining at VistaJet.
Aboard the iconic fleet of silver and red VistaJet aircraft, its award-winning restaurant partners have reformulated their iconic dishes and created exclusive meals meticulously prepared for the highest dining table in the world at 45,000 feet. Each dish uses fresh ingredients and has a careful balance of bold and mellow flavors as well as salt and sugar content. The menu also takes air turbulence into account, hence even plating designs can withstand movement.
Departing from Hong Kong, VistaJet’s partner restaurants include the Michelin-starred Tosca di Angelo at The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong. The team at Tosca di Angelo has thoughtfully prepared Solfeggio — a three-course menu that marries a combination of tastes and considers the dry atmosphere inside the aircraft. The meal begins with a citrusy appetizer featuring wild Hokkaido hamachi, fennel, and orange to awaken the taste buds; then a Lasagnetta with mushrooms ragoût and taleggio fondue for the main course, with the hot pasta and melted cheese keeping guests warm while they dine in relatively cool temperatures on board. The meal ends with a coffee-infused traditional tiramisu with Amedei chocolate to leave guests satisfied.
“A combination of meticulous planning, selective sourcing and thoughtful presentation is involved when we prepare our Solfeggio to be served in the air. To ensure dishes are maintained at their prime condition when they are served, our chefs must consider the time of travel from our kitchen to the dining table,” explained Angelo Agliano, Director of Tosca di Angelo.
VistaJet guests can enjoy a hearty farm-to-table meal from the award-winning Origin Grill, located at the Shangri-La Singapore. Chef de Cuisine Nathan Griffin starts off the meal for VistaJet guests with a poached Boston lobster salad with Tuscan kale, avocado mousse, chorizo crumb and a citrus dressing, followed by a delicately grilled Williams River crossbred Wagyu tenderloin paired with beetroot puree and spaghetti, then ends with a passionfruit babà with a Mango cremeux, Pavlova meringue and mascarpone. All ingredients used by the Origin Grill are sustainable and ethically harvested, while the artisanal meats come from award-winning farms.
Bespoke dinner service
The unparalleled in-flight service and experience aboard every VistaJet flight is reflected in the high level of training of its Cabin Hostesses. As restaurant partners courier the meals before the flight, cooking is “finished” by the Cabin Hostesses at the aircraft’s galley during the flight. But this is by no means a simple task of heating the meal in an oven, as each dish has its own process to finish the cooking process. VistaJet Cabin Hostesses must also expertly plate and serve each dish to the specifications laid-out by the partner-restaurant. They are prepared for this level of service through expert tutorials in plating from a variety of chefs. All VistaJet Cabin Hostesses are also trained by the British Butler Institute— the world's most exclusive learning institution for the luxury residential and hospitality markets.
VistaJet provides Members access to the largest fleets of business jets in the world. As part of Vista, the world’s largest on-demand business aviation company, VistaJet clients can fly anytime and anywhere on a fleet of over 360 aircraft including the Bombardier Global 7500, the world's largest and longest-range business jet, to 187 countries around the world.