There was a time when if your cooking got compared to ‘airplane food’ you knew that it left much to be desired, however these days you can enjoy incredibly fine wine and food at 32,000 feet, on a number of airlines.
I was fortunate enough to fly Emirates business class from Cape Town to Dubai earlier this year and I can attest that the fare on board is delectable.
The Dubai-based aviation group has just launched its own Food and Wine Channels, which can now be viewed on all flights as part of the airline’s ice ( information, communication, entertainment) in-flight entertainment system.
Emirates has invested an eye-watering $700 million (about R10 billion) in fine wines and its ‘regional and seasonal food menus’, according to a press statement and now these new channels give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the sourcing of the ingredients for these dishes, as well as the wine.
The first two episodes on the Food Channel take the viewer to Umbria, Italy, where the company purchases its olive oil from Monte Vibiano and also to Sri Lanka, so that views can discover how the Dilmah tea, served on board, is selected.
The episodes include recipes from onboard menus so that ‘customers can recreate Emirates’ signature Prawn Machbous, or learn how to make a classic crepe at home’. These recipes, for dishes such as Braised Beef Short Rib with Star Anise and Ginger and Lamb Biryani with Raita, are also available online at emirates.com.
Joost Heymeijer, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Catering said: “We go to great lengths to present our customers in every class with a great dining experience. A lot of detail goes into preparing the meals and choosing the wines. The channels give viewers access to our food and beverage philosophy, the catering strategy and how we work with our partners. In addition, our tutorials and recipes give our customers something interesting to ‘take home’ with them.”
“So if you’re enjoying a fine wine like Château Haut Brion 2004 on board, there is an accompanying wine tutorial to help you appreciate and understand its nuances and what makes it unique. Similarly, if you’ve just enjoyed the Braised Coconut Beef Short Ribs served on your flight and want to recreate it at home, we have that recipe on the Food Channel,” he added.
The Wine Channel features a series of wine tutorials (it’s like having your own sommelier), as well as a documentary on Emirates’ wine buying strategy, and relationships with winemakers.
Emirates’ Food and Wine episodes form part of the comprehensive suite of on-demand in-flight entertainment, which includes 3,500 other channels, including movies, series, music, podcasts and games. ice also carries educational content such as LinkedIn Learning courses and uTalk language courses.