Chefs up the airline food ante

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Copy of NM Heston Blumenthal Supplied Heston Blumenthal

There’s no avoiding celebrity chefs, even if you’re 30 000 feet in the air. If you’re fortunate enough to fly business or first class, it would be a shock not to find a famous cook’s name beside at least some of the dishes on your in-flight menu.

* Fly long-haul business class with Air France and you’ll be dining on the creations of Guy Martin of legendary Paris restaurant Le Grand Véfour.

Since January, the airline has been working with a roster of top cooks that also includes Joël Robuchon, holder of no fewer than 26 Michelin stars.

* The trend stretches back to the late 1990s when Singapore Airlines established its International Culinary Panel, which today includes Suzanne Goin of acclaimed Lucques in Los Angeles and Japanese masterchef Yoshihiro Murata of three-Michelin-starred Kikunoi in Kyoto.

* British Airways followed suit, employing a distinguished Culinary Council including Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree Inn in Abergavenny and Richard Corrigan of Corrigan’s, Mayfair.

* This year, to mark the Olympics, BA asked Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck, Bray, to create dishes inspired by onboard menus from 1948 when the last London Olympics were staged.

Blumenthal teamed up with Simon Hulstone of the Michelin-starred Elephant in Torquay, who cooked up umami-rich dishes designed to appeal to taste buds dulled by altitude. Hulstone’s menus will be served on long-haul flights from Heathrow until September.

* Marcus Samuelson of Red Rooster in Harlem has recently been drafted in by American Airlines to fashion gourmet sandwiches for its internal flights, while modern Mexican dishes by Richard Sandoval of Maya, New York, are served on international flights in first and business class.

* Australian chef Neil Perry has been serving a taste of the modern fusion cuisine that has made his Rockpool restaurant group world famous on board Qantas flights for 15 years.

* And if you’re heading to Malaga for your summer holiday, or any other destination served by Thomas Cook, you’ll be tucking into specials from TV chef James Martin’s menu. – The Independent on Sunday

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