Plane food has a bad rap — for a good reason. Could you whip up 300 gourmet meals at 20 000ft while customers harass you for peanuts and Chardonnay every five minutes?
Not many people can — which is why one culinary whizz has revealed that there are just two dishes that high altitudes and petulant passengers can't tarnish.
According to Fritz Gross, director of culinary excellence at LSG Sky Chefs Asia Pacific, the secret is to order either the stew or fried rice.
“We can simmer it and reheat it over and over and it will still be a stew,” he told CNN.
Fried rice, he said, can easily be reheated and so will maintain its consistency and flavour in the air. Pasta is always a poor choice, he added, explaining that it needs to be cooked al dente in order for it to taste good.
In his executive role, Gross oversees the production of 30 000 airline meals for British Airways, United Airlines and DragonAir.
So as to ensure that everything the airlines serve is 100 per cent safe to eat, he refuses to serve medium-rare steaks and insists that fish and chicken are cooked to a specific temperature. He added that trendy cooking techniques have to be left on the ground as safety is the priority rather than flavour.
Gross also advised passengers to avoid hot drinks at all costs – confessing that hot water tanks used on planes are rarely cleaned.
However, if you really want to be safe – it might be best to forgo plane food all together, as Gross explains it’s a risky game right from take-off.
“The cabin crew may turn on the ovens, then turbulence happens," he said. "You can imagine what happens to the food."