Finnair introduced its first Japanese “Signature Chef”, Tokyo-based Rika Maezawa, earlier this month as part of its Signature Chef programme, which it launched in 2013. Maezawa is known for her cuisine that places a strong emphasis on vegetables and seasonal flavours from Japanese home cooking.
A total of five seasonal signature menus have been developed by Maezawa, which will be served to business class passengers on board Finnair’s flights from Tokyo to Helsinki. Each dish will run for a period of three months before being rotated, with the airline beginning with a selection of Japanese appetisers served in a bento box along with a beef steak with balsamic haccho-miso sauce in Japanese butterbur scape tapenade and steamed rice.
Hong Kong Airlines
Reinforcing its image as a local carrier, Hong Kong Airlines has partnered with Hong Kong chef Gabriel Choy to develop a series of 12 business class dishes that will be rolled out across all flights from Hong Kong over the next 12 months.
Choy has worked at a number of notable restaurants alongside celebrity chefs, including Gordon Ramsay’s London restaurant Petrus, Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin-starred The Fat Duck, and Gaddi’s at The Peninsula Hong Kong hotel.
As could be expected from his background, Choy has developed a menu that is predominantly Western, albeit with distinctive Asian twists added to the dishes – think mezzi rigatoni pasta with an XO and tomato sauce. Dishes will rotate every two weeks on regional flights and every month on long-haul services.
Delta is partnering with three different chefs in order to develop new menus for its North Asia services, which will be rolled out from March 1 onwards.
Chef Jereme Leung has developed a menu that features classical Chinese provincial dishes blended with modern Chinese cuisine, such as Shanghai-style steamed sole, oven-baked sesame dumplings, dim sum and shaanxi biang biang noodles. These dishes will be available on Delta’s flights departing Beijing and Shanghai for Delta One, Delta Premium Select and Main Cabin passengers.
Chef Norio Ueno has created Japanese favourites such as marinated rockfish and saimaki shrimp, and kuro-bata pork served with rice. His dishes will be available to Delta One and Premium Select passengers on all Delta flights departing Japan for the US, with Main Cabin passengers seeing the new menus this summer.
Finally, chef Woo-Joong Kwon, whose Korean restaurant has earned two Michelin stars, has put together a menu for Delta One, Delta Premium Select and Main Cabin passengers on the airline’s flights from Seoul to the US. His menu will offer Korean dishes made using original recipes with a focus on seasonal ingredients.
Virgin Australia’s resident chef, Luke Mangan, has developed a highly cosmopolitan menu for the airline’s business class passengers, which will be introduced on both domestic and international flights starting March 7.
Notable dishes include beef wonton soup with Sichuan pepper and bok choy for breakfast on flights to Hong Kong, and falafel with roasted mushrooms, bacon and labne (Greek yoghurt) for flights within Australia. Passengers flying to and from Los Angeles, meanwhile, can enjoy the bar area with a menu that includes baba ghanoush with marinated feta, pine nuts and toasted flatbread, and garlic toast with prosciutto, fennel and herb salad.
Snacks from Australian suppliers such as Pana chocolate, Gundowring ice cream and Molives hand-stuffed olives are also available to passengers as snacks. The airline has also collaborated with Group Sommelier, Mauro Bortolato, to develop New Hardys and Grant Burge wines that are designed to be enjoyed at 30,000 feet.
Less a full-blown menu change and more a series of new drinks and treats, Eva Air’s new in-flight culinary offerings include cold-pressed mango and mixed fruit juice beverages for travellers in Royal Laurel, Premium Laurel and business class cabins departing Taiwan from now until March 31, and a “Neige” French strawberry cake developed by Eva Air and Season Cuisine Patissiartism that Royal Laurel class passengers receive on flights to Paris and select North America destinations.
That said, the airline has actually redesigned its physical menus in Royal Laurel, Premium Laurel and business class, designed with elements from all four seasons that will be used throughout 2018.
Emirates is rolling out entirely new menus for select services this month, however unlike the other airlines on this list these will only be available for a few days over the Lunar New Year holiday.
From February 15 to 18, passengers travelling from Dubai to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, Yinchuan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and Hanoi will be offered Lunar New Year menus and treats both in the air and on the ground.
In the lounges, passengers will be able to eat dishes such as vegetable and shrimp dumplings, meatballs and bok choy in red meat sauce along with coconut sago pudding and fortune cookies. Onboard, both first and business class passengers will receive lychee and raspberry mousse with vanilla lychee compote, though first class travellers will also get a white peach mochi and business class passengers also get the option of coconut and mandarin mousse with mandarin compote. Travellers in economy will be offered mandarin cake with orange compote.