Plane food has well and truly earned its reputation as one of the worst dining experiences on (or above) Earth. While the situation has improved in recent years, there’s nothing overly appetising about mushy sandwiches, powdered eggs, and mystery meat masquerading as lamb.
Admittedly, it’s a tough ask to feed 250 passengers both nutritious and tasty meals at altitude, cooked in a kitchen the size of a cupboard, mostly comprised of pre-cooked and dehydrated pre-packaged meals.
Unfortunately for our taste buds, the cooking techniques and practices necessary for a great feed pose a safety hazard in the sky. Ovens can’t be on during turbulence, hot water tanks are rarely cleaned in planes, and the quality of the ingredients can be questionable at best.
According to Fritz Gross, Director of Culinary Excellence at LSG Sky Chefs Asia Pacific, there are two meals that airlines can’t get wrong with the resources available: stew and fried rice.
Stew is always stew Gross explains. “We can simmer it and reheat it over and over and it will still be a stew,” he told CNN. His assessment of fried rice is much the same, explaining that it’s difficult to substitute the ingredients involved with a cheaper, longer-life alternative.
Gross also suggests sticking to cold, pre-packaged drinks whenever possible, confirming that the hot water tanks used in making tea and coffee never reach boiling and are cleaned very rarely.
Aside from these suggestions, to ensure the plane meal you’re getting is 100 per safe to eat, the advice is to steer clear of steak, fish and chicken. Pasta is also on the naughty list according to Gross, but more for taste reasons. According to the expert, pasta needs to be cooked al dente in order for it to taste any good.
If stew isn’t your thing, we suggest playing to safe and stocking up on snacks before boarding! Peanut M&M’s have never led us astray.