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Airplane Food Service


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#1 BCinBC

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 11:36 AM

LeeC’s recent mention of Air Canada is coincidental, as I have been struggling over the past few days to download photos and start a thread on my recent experience which was from YVR to London Heathrow and back…

Flight there, AC896

I’ll skip the details, but we were “bumped” into J-class for this flight (aboard a Boeing 767). What a score!! Seriously, for a trans-Atlantic and at the start of a vacation, there is no better way to fly. Okay so I never flew the Concord, nor have I flown in a 777 or a 380, or a private Leer jet, but hopefully you get the idea. Long-haul business class rules!

All of the seats are like individual Lazy-Boys that are capable of reclining to almost bed-like status – and as you know, business class is seated first. So there you sit in your huge-ass chair, while the coach lot file past you. I felt a little sheepish as folks passed by with gaping jaws, because we didn’t exactly buy the seats. But hey, the low-degree guilt only lasted as long as it took to break out the complementary pre-take-off champagne and / or mango juice.

We had just eaten in the YVR Milestones prior to the flight, in anticipation of turning away most of the bad airline food, but I tucked into the full dinner service anyway – mostly because I had to, for eGullet purposes you understand. N sensibly went with the “Express Menu”.

Apologies in advance for the blurry photos, it was my brand new camera using new (to me) features (macro) in low light on a plane. Not good excuses I know, but I also didn’t want to use the flash because that’s just disturbing to others, especially on a plane.

So they started us off with warmed nuts. N and I both opted for a glass of their “Hidden Treasure” feature wine: 99 Benton Lane pinot noir reserve (Oregon). (Sorry the link does not show the actual vintage consumed, but you can Google it and find results I’m sure – like this one.)

Posted Image

The nuts were not good, but the wine was. Don’t ask me for tasting notes; besides the fact that I would be talking out of my butt, I was too pleased to be at the front of the plane to do much other than relax and enjoy.

Speaking of, you can’t really make it out but at the top of the tray are my feet, clad in bright blue complementary business class “slippers” (really socks), elevated to a comfortable level. Very civilized.

Here is N’s dinner: the Express Menu featuring fresh seasonal greens with yellow and red peppers, chilled teriyaki salmon, grilled vegetables, rice noodle salad and caperberries, cheese and grapes. The desert was fresh berries in a chocolate cup. Also she’s still working on that first glass of red.

Posted Image

The salad is served with pre-bottled olive oil / balsamic, the tiny blurry bottle at the bottom of the tray (right side of photo). What is it with airplanes and tiny bottles? The salmon was okay – hey it’s seafood at 38,000 feet, what do you want? She said the salad and the desert were good though.

Also, see how you get a nice "table"cloth and ceramic S&P shakers? Nice touch.

I started with the pan-seared scallops with marinated fennel salad, with a glass of Domaine Astruc viognier (Malras, France).

Posted Image

Another round of seafood at 38,000 feet but considering that fact, it was not bad. However, the scallops were clearly not "pan-seared". Just look at them! White as virgin snow.

The other choice was marinated Yukon potato served with marinated and baked Japanese eggplant, sautéed red bell peppers, lentil salad, parmesan shavings and balsamic vinaigrette.

What really stood out for me here was the viognier. What a great wine – so rich! On a side / local note, unfortunately La Frenz was sold out of their viognier by the time I got my act in gear to order this season, but I’m pretty sure I can track some down and when I do, I’ll be buying a few bottles for the “cellar”.

I'd give honorable mention to the bun on the left, too. Some sort of potato bun AFAICT. Very good.

The main course I wanted was the maple glazed lamb chops accompanied by red skin mashed potatoes, rosemary demi-glace, blanched spinach leaves, zucchini and turned carrots with basil; however, they had somehow run out. Did I mention we were bumped up? So no worries, I had the non-sequitur sliced sirloin of beef accented by black bean sauce, presented with vegetable fried rice, oven-roasted butternut squash and steamed choy sum, this time with a glass of Phebus malbec (Mendoza, Argentina). (Again, there isn’t much on the web for this wine, you’ll have to scroll down this translated page to find a bit of info.)

Posted Image

The beef was actually passable, in a kind of CFD kind of way, but the Chinese black bean slant did not match anything else on the menu even remotely. Also, what is up with the two starches – squash and fried rice? Neither was any good. The veg was okay, but once again the malbec outshone the food.

The other choice for a main was a vegetarian pasta: spinach and ricotta cheese cannelloni with saffron complemented by Alfredo sauce and oven-roasted tomato red pepper sauce, offered with sautéed button mushrooms and a stir-fried carrot and zucchini julienne. Pass.

One other thing occurs: these long-winded pratty food descriptions are all from the Air Canada menu, I did not make them up.

The cheese course was gouda, cheddars and camembert, with a Cockburn’s special reserve port.

Posted Image

The website claims this is the world’s most popular port. It was quite sweet, actually too sweet for me, so perhaps I have just tipped my hand regarding my port palate. I nursed it bad. The cheese was decent though, a nice touch and impossible to screw up even in a plane galley.

Dessert was, on N’s advice, the fresh berries in the chocolate cup, and coffee.

Posted Image

I enjoyed this, despite the use of fairly cheap chocolate. The other choices were amaretto cake and maple mousse. Port still going on the left side. In the end I finished it for sleeping purposes, kind of like drinking Nyquil even though you’ve only got a mild passing of a cold. PS: you can kind of make out the electric blue socks in this photo.

Anyway, like I said it was a very civilized way to travel. I also enjoyed the EnRoute magazine, this month is the music issue. I was surprised – pleasantly – to see a familiar name (Chris Tearns) with a drinks article, I didn’t know he was a contributor. And there is also a photo of Kari from Chambar on the Vancouver “scene” page.

Flight home, AC831

Just for comparison purposes, here is the breakfast we were served in coach on the return flight. Granted it’s breakfast not dinner, but the difference is significant. Then again so is the difference in published prices for each section.

Posted Image

It’s a Spanish omelette, with pieces of potato and I think Moneys pieces and stems mushrooms, and some baked beans (no not refried or black beans, like Heinz baked beans). Accompanied by a bun, a small croissant, a small bin of homogenized fruit, some yoghurt, some apple juice and a coffee. We did experience the business class breakfast before we landed at Heathrow, and the yoghurt was better, the fruit was actual sliced fruit on a plate, the juice was in a real glass, plus they had smoothies and other pastries… This bun was not as good as the potato bun either.

Again, not complaining here, just wanted to illustrate the difference.

When I look at these pictures, one other thing that stands out is the warmth of the lighting in business class compared to coach. I can't really remember if the window shade was up in the last photo, but I don't think it was.

PPS: For those interested, here is a LINK to the thread where I’ll be posting reports on some of the meals we had in France, as well as other stuff we saw. Progress will be as slow as this thread has gone I’m sure.

#2 SBonner

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 12:24 PM

Nice review. I'm off to Hong Kong and Australia in a few weeks....hopefully I'll get bumped into business class. Glad you got to have some decent wine on the flight!We are flying Cathay Pacific so it will make an interesting comparisons of food, wine, and service. I'll keep you all posted.

Cheers,

Stephen
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#3 BCinBC

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 12:39 PM

Thanks Stephen, the wines were definitely the highlight.

I should mention that the service on both AC flights was very good, but obviously better in business class where you have 3 attendants for 20 seats, as opposed to coach where 3 attendants service 150-odd seats.

Last time I flew Cathay was 6-7 years ago to New York, but the food and service were very good as I recall. So I'll be tuning in for your report.

Here's hoping you get the upgrade.

Cheers,
Brian

#4 Keith Talent

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 01:28 PM

Two points. First you should be physically harmed for the pun in your title. Second this guy is a genuis and my hero. And he talks about in flight meal service and flys out of YVR.

#5 Vancouver

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 01:46 PM

Well, last night on the Cathay flight from New York to Vancouver (yes, you can fly on them within North America - a great treat!) here is the first class menu:

CAVIAR AND FINE FISH DELIGHT
Caviar and Fine Smoked Salmon servied with Warm New Potatoes and Crème Fraîche

LIGHT OPTIONS
Roast Pumpkin Soup
Traditional Caesar Salad

MAIN COURSES
Veal Tenderloin with Chanterelle Mushroom Cream Sauce, Mashed Red Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetable Parcels

Pan-fried Salmon, Prawn and Sole with Parsley Potato and Wilted Spinach

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce, Pesto Asparagus, Olives and Eggplant

HONG KONG FAVOURITES
Soy-Marinated Chicken Braised with Abalone in Broad Bean Sauce, Steamed Rice and Chinese Greens

Noodles in Soup with Barbequed Duck

CHEESE BOARD

DESSERT
New York Style Cheesecake served with Strawberry Sauce

BREAD BASKET
Assorted Breads and Rolls

TEA AND COFFEE
Fuding Jasmine Silver Fur
Anqi Supreme Ti Guan Yin
Ceylon
Japanese
Organic Selection: Camomile, Earl Grey, Peppermint

Freshly Brewed Coffee
Regular or Decaffeinated Espresso, Cappucino and Caffé Latte

PRAILINES AND COOKIES

WINE LIST

CHAMPAGNE
Krug Grande Cuvée Champagne

WHITE WINES
Franciscan Oakville Estate Chardonnay 2001
Puligny Montrachet Les Grandes Marches 2002

RED WINES
Corton Grand Cru Louis Max 1996
Foley Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2001
Château Lynch Bages 1995

PORT
Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamoira 10 Year Old Tawny Port

APERETIFS AND COCKTAILS
Campari, Martini Rosso, Martini Extra Dry, Harveys Bristol Cream Sweet Sherry, La Ina Dry Sherry, Gordons Dry Gin, Stolichnaya Russian Vodka, Bloody Mary

WHISKIES
Chivas Regal 12 Years Old, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve Single Malt Whisky, Gentleman Jack Bourbon, Canadian Club

COGNAC
Hennessy XO

LIQUEURS
Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Drambuie, Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream

BEER
International Selection

CX SIGNATURE DRINKS
Cathay Delight
Pacific Sunrise

Also Haagen Daaz ice cream bars were available at any point for a quick snack, as well as roast duck noodles in case the meal didn't provide enough to fill you up for the 5 hour flight.

The trip to Australia on Cathay should be a pleasure. :wink:

Cheers!

Edited by Vancouver, 06 October 2005 - 01:48 PM.


#6 Daddy-A

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 01:49 PM

Two points. First you should be physically harmed for the pun in your title. Second this guy is a genuis and my hero. And he talks about in flight meal service and flys out of YVR.

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Vancouver Lee has started a thread in Adventures in Eating on this guy's quest HERE.


A.

#7 BCinBC

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 01:57 PM

Keith: despite the fact that it has already harmed me mentally, I knew the subtitle would provoke a response from you and so I could not resist.

Yeah that friend of Lee's is insane. The things one does for a tiny audience of geeks on the internet. But props to him nonetheless.

Vancouver: caviar! abalone! ti guan yin! Okay the last one, although my personal favourite tea, may not be in the same league. But still, Cathay is obviously miles above the competition (ha ha, take that KT). One area where AC trumps Cathay is they carry Crown Royal instead of Canadian Club. Oh and Bombay Sapphire instead of Gordons.

#8 Vancouver

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:05 PM

They serve the ti guan yin traditionally as well - with the cup that has the cover that you hold on while drinking it. The tea had a pleasant smoothness to it. My guess is that it is closely related to oolong? (Or perhaps a type of oolong?)

Cheers!

#9 Apicio

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:07 PM

My heart goes to the staff of Air Canada, they give you cheerful and gracious service inspite of what the refinancing has done to their pay, benefits and pension.

Unfortunately, I just launched on my diet when I took their flight to São Paulo so I could not fully partake of their business class offering but the individual seats were pretty good on a long haul flight like that. Arrived at ten in the morning. It was my first time in Sampa so I was on tenterhooks when I ventured out of my hotel in the evening. A lady approached and grabbed me by the arm calling my name. It was the stewardess who attended me in the plane.

Edited by Apicio, 06 October 2005 - 02:08 PM.



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#10 Keith Talent

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:13 PM

I've got fantasies that involve a stewardess grabbing me and shouting my name in Sao Paulo.

#11 Pam R

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:15 PM

The trip to Australia on Cathay should be a pleasure.  :wink:

If I recall correctly, the food was great but the leg room sucked.

Am I the only one who hasn't actually been fed on an Air Canada flight in years?

#12 *Deborah*

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:24 PM

I had a nice AC Executive-First experience heading to London last year. Much like Brian, the wine outshone the food, but the food was as good as any I've had on an airplane, and better than much of it.

But Marc-David!! Ch. Lynch-Bages on an airplane!! *swoons*

Must try Cathay-Pacific one day soon!

Edited by *Deborah*, 06 October 2005 - 02:25 PM.

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#13 fud

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:35 PM

<scratch head>

Is all this food from business class or first class (for those flights that still have it)? I fly mostly coach so I don't think I've every really had a 'good' meal on a plane. Am I missing something?

I did have one flight from Vancouver to Tokyo via JAL in first class and it was quite nice. lots of legroom and mimosa's before takeoff.
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#14 Daddy-A

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:46 PM

Too many return trips to Smithers via Ac/Jazz for me lately, and the only thing to eat was either something called "Sun Mix" (nuts 'n bolts sort of thing) and Peak Freen shortbread.

Quit yer bitchin! :angry:

A.

#15 Vancouver Lee

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 03:04 PM

A couple of notes in response to the postings above:

1) Yes, my friend Marc (of the Great Canadian Mileage Run) is somewhat crazy, but a really nice guy. The truly weird thing about it is Mark's occupation - he's a 747 pilot. I am NOT making that up.

2) Brian, I'm glad to hear you got the op-up to business class. Air Canada's International business class product is pretty decent (the North American business class product truly sucks), Cathay Pacific's is better, but to truly experience the finest food and service possible you need to fly Singapore Airlines. They are world-famous for a truly excellent front cabin product.

3) Wine tasting notes: IIRC, doesn't the altitude cause wine to taste different than at sea level? Airplane cabins are pressurized to simulate an altitude of approx 8,000' - perhaps some of our resident wine experts can comment on this.

4) Fud, I agree, I've never had a truly good meal on an airplane. Business or First Class food is usually (although not always) better, in the way that Wendy's is better than McDonalds. YMMV.

5) Vancouver, that sounds like a great menu. Please take some photos and post your impressions.

Finally, while we are on the topic of airplane food, check out this web sitefor way more information than you ever wanted.
Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.
www.leecarney.com

#16 Keith Talent

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 03:15 PM

I've always been under the impression that wines don't show well in a pressurized cabin, personal experience backs this up. I've been fortunate enough to sample pretty decent stuff at 35,000 feet, never to any acclaim, ergo the principle to stick with double JW Black in the front, Jack Daniels in the back.

#17 Keith Talent

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 03:23 PM

. Getting a wine to taste delicious at 30,000 feet isn’t easy though. After a few hours, we get dehydrated.  Alcohol’s dehydrating effect compounds this, and we lose up to 30 percent of our ability to taste. Wine’s aromas are flattened, and any element that’s out of balance such as tannin or acidity is emphasized. The wine hasn’t changed, we have.

British Airways once invited several wine writers to blind taste a group of wines at the Heathrow airport, more wines while flying aboard the Concorde to Barbados and then another set of wines once in a hotel in Barbados, where the poor souls completed their grueling day. They unanimously judged the best wines were the ones in the Barbados, followed by those at Heathrow and then those tasted while flying. Turns out, of course, the same wines were served in all three tastings.


Full article

#18 shelora

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 03:57 PM

<scratch head> 

I did have one flight from Vancouver to Tokyo via JAL in first class and it was quite nice.  lots of legroom and mimosa's before takeoff.

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Alas, even JAL has changed their tune and it ain't Jazz. Food has taken a dismal turn for the worst and leg room has become less important than extra seating and individual screens. Of course, that is the pleb section not first class where you still get slippers and hot towels.

Oh, were we talking about Air Canada? Some of the most unhappiest employees I've ever encountered. Must be the food.

I'm loving Marc's blog. This guy could find himself a sweet PR job with AC. At least a commercial or two.

s

#19 ~cayenne~

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 03:58 AM

LeeC’s recent mention of Air Canada is coincidental, as I have been struggling over the past few days to download photos and start a thread on my recent experience which was from YVR to London Heathrow and back…

Flight there, AC896

I’ll skip the details, but we were “bumped” into J-class for this flight (aboard a Boeing 767).  What a score!!  Seriously, for a trans-Atlantic and at the start of a vacation, there is no better way to fly.  Okay so I never flew the Concord, nor have I flown in a 777 or a 380, or a private Leer jet, but hopefully you get the idea.  Long-haul business class rules!

All of the seats are like individual Lazy-Boys that are capable of reclining to almost bed-like status – and as you know, business class is seated first.  So there you sit in your huge-ass chair, while the coach lot file past you.  I felt a little sheepish as folks passed by with gaping jaws, because we didn’t exactly buy the seats.  But hey, the low-degree guilt only lasted as long as it took to break out the complementary pre-take-off champagne and / or mango juice.

We had just eaten in the YVR Milestones prior to the flight, in anticipation of turning away most of the bad airline food, but I tucked into the full dinner service anyway – mostly because I had to, for eGullet purposes you understand.  N sensibly went with the “Express Menu”.

Apologies in advance for the blurry photos, it was my brand new camera using new (to me) features (macro) in low light on a plane.  Not good excuses I know, but I also didn’t want to use the flash because that’s just disturbing to others, especially on a plane.

So they started us off with warmed nuts.  N and I both opted for a glass of their “Hidden Treasure” feature wine: 99 Benton Lane pinot noir reserve (Oregon).  (Sorry the link does not show the actual vintage consumed, but you can Google it and find results I’m sure – like this one.)

Posted Image

The nuts were not good, but the wine was.  Don’t ask me for tasting notes; besides the fact that I would be talking out of my butt, I was too pleased to be at the front of the plane to do much other than relax and enjoy.

Speaking of, you can’t really make it out but at the top of the tray are my feet, clad in bright blue complementary business class “slippers” (really socks), elevated to a comfortable level.  Very civilized.

Here is N’s dinner: the Express Menu featuring fresh seasonal greens with yellow and red peppers, chilled teriyaki salmon, grilled vegetables, rice noodle salad and caperberries, cheese and grapes.  The desert was fresh berries in a chocolate cup.  Also she’s still working on that first glass of red.

Posted Image

The salad is served with pre-bottled olive oil / balsamic, the tiny blurry bottle at the bottom of the tray (right side of photo).  What is it with airplanes and tiny bottles?  The salmon was okay – hey it’s seafood at 38,000 feet, what do you want?  She said the salad and the desert were good though.

Also, see how you get a nice "table"cloth and ceramic S&P shakers?  Nice touch.

I started with the pan-seared scallops with marinated fennel salad, with a glass of Domaine Astruc viognier (Malras, France).

Posted Image

Another round of seafood at 38,000 feet but considering that fact, it was not bad.  However, the scallops were clearly not "pan-seared".  Just look at them!  White as virgin snow.

The other choice was marinated Yukon potato served with marinated and baked Japanese eggplant, sautéed red bell peppers, lentil salad, parmesan shavings and balsamic vinaigrette.

What really stood out for me here was the viognier.  What a great wine – so rich!  On a side / local note, unfortunately La Frenz was sold out of their viognier by the time I got my act in gear to order this season, but I’m pretty sure I can track some down and when I do, I’ll be buying a few bottles for the “cellar”.

I'd give honorable mention to the bun on the left, too.  Some sort of potato bun AFAICT.  Very good.

The main course I wanted was the maple glazed lamb chops accompanied by red skin mashed potatoes, rosemary demi-glace, blanched spinach leaves, zucchini and turned carrots with basil; however, they had somehow run out.  Did I mention we were bumped up?  So no worries, I had the non-sequitur sliced sirloin of beef accented by black bean sauce, presented with vegetable fried rice, oven-roasted butternut squash and steamed choy sum, this time with a glass of Phebus malbec (Mendoza, Argentina). (Again, there isn’t much on the web for this wine, you’ll have to scroll down this translated page to find a bit of info.)

Posted Image

The beef was actually passable, in a kind of CFD kind of way, but the Chinese black bean slant did not match anything else on the menu even remotely.  Also, what is up with the two starches – squash and fried rice?  Neither was any good.  The veg was okay, but once again the malbec outshone the food.

The other choice for a main was a vegetarian pasta: spinach and ricotta cheese cannelloni with saffron complemented by Alfredo sauce and oven-roasted tomato red pepper sauce, offered with sautéed button mushrooms and a stir-fried carrot and zucchini julienne.  Pass.

One other thing occurs: these long-winded pratty food descriptions are all from the Air Canada menu, I did not make them up.

The cheese course was gouda, cheddars and camembert, with a Cockburn’s special reserve port.

Posted Image

The website claims this is the world’s most popular port.  It was quite sweet, actually too sweet for me, so perhaps I have just tipped my hand regarding my port palate.  I nursed it bad.  The cheese was decent though, a nice touch and impossible to screw up even in a plane galley.

Dessert was, on N’s advice, the fresh berries in the chocolate cup, and coffee.

Posted Image

I enjoyed this, despite the use of fairly cheap chocolate.  The other choices were amaretto cake and maple mousse.  Port still going on the left side.  In the end I finished it for sleeping purposes, kind of like drinking Nyquil even though you’ve only got a mild passing of a cold.  PS: you can kind of make out the electric blue socks in this photo.

Anyway, like I said it was a very civilized way to travel.  I also enjoyed the EnRoute magazine, this month is the music issue.  I was surprised – pleasantly – to see a familiar name (Chris Tearns) with a drinks article, I didn’t know he was a contributor.  And there is also a photo of Kari from Chambar on the Vancouver “scene” page.

Flight home, AC831

Just for comparison purposes, here is the breakfast we were served in coach on the return flight.  Granted it’s breakfast not dinner, but the difference is significant.  Then again so is the difference in published prices for each section.

Posted Image

It’s a Spanish omelette, with pieces of potato and I think Moneys pieces and stems mushrooms, and some baked beans (no not refried or black beans, like Heinz baked beans).  Accompanied by a bun, a small croissant, a small bin of homogenized fruit, some yoghurt, some apple juice and a coffee.  We did experience the business class breakfast before we landed at Heathrow, and the yoghurt was better, the fruit was actual sliced fruit on a plate, the juice was in a real glass, plus they had smoothies and other pastries…  This bun was not as good as the potato bun either.

Again, not complaining here, just wanted to illustrate the difference.

When I look at these pictures, one other thing that stands out is the warmth of the lighting in business class compared to coach.  I can't really remember if the window shade was up in the last photo, but I don't think it was.

PPS: For those interested, here is a LINK to the thread where I’ll be posting reports on some of the meals we had in France, as well as other stuff we saw.  Progress will be as slow as this thread has gone I’m sure.

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Interestingly, the lighting of the Y/C photo made for a more realistic picture. Kind of suprised to see the styro coffee cup for economy class breakfast, they used to have a real cup, plastic though, but did have the handle and wasn't disposable.


Also, the meals produced in J/C are almost exactly the same as I remember from a few years back, provided by Cara Operations IIRC. Also, IIRC, the Y/C meals are mostly pre-made, frozen and popped into dishes. Makes for a consistent product, although it may be uninteresting.

ps.. Not meant to be a slam at Cara, IIRC they followed AC guidelines. They did have some very innovative chefs, their parties for Octoberfest and Christmas were showcases for the talents of the Head Chefs, Garde Manger and Pastry Chefs.

They also provided some of the other fabulous airlines cuisines and services in the past.

I remember meeting some of those that were the culinary influences at Cara, they had great boat cruises during the fireworks festival in the summer in Vancouver, at the end of July and the beginning of Auguest. Awesome!!


They employed some great people, with wide experiences, I guess that made for the interesting cuisine ideas. I remember Frank, Gerry, Bent, Hans, John, Maurice and Kevin IIRC, as being pivotal to the operation at YVR. Also I had the opportunity to meet with some of the Cara personnel in YYZ in the past. All in all, was a good ops, albeit following the AC and other guidelines for cost control! :wink:
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#20 Vancouver Lee

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 08:59 AM

...Not meant to be a slam at Cara, IIRC they followed AC guidelines.  They did have some very innovative chefs, their parties for Octoberfest and Christmas were showcases for the talents of the Head Chefs, Garde Manger  and Pastry Chefs.

They also provided some of the other fabulous airlines cuisines and services in the past. 

I remember meeting some of those that were the culinary influences at Cara, they had great boat cruises during the fireworks festival in the summer in Vancouver, at the end of July and the beginning of Auguest.  Awesome!!


They employed some great people, with wide experiences, I guess that made for the interesting cuisine ideas.  I remember Frank,  Gerry, Bent, Hans, John, Maurice and Kevin IIRC, as being pivotal to the operation at YVR.  Also I had the opportunity to meet with some of the Cara personnel in YYZ in the past.  All in all, was a good ops, albeit following the AC and other guidelines for cost control!  :wink:

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Very interesting. I'm sure producing food that can be stored safely, reheated in a tiny electic oven at 35,000', still retains at least some tatse and can be done en-mass for as little money as possible takes quite a bit of talent.

Any of these Cara folks ever leave for a local restaurant kitchen?
Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.
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#21 ~cayenne~

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 01:44 PM

Very interesting.  I'm sure producing food that can be stored safely, reheated in a tiny electic oven at 35,000', still retains at least some tatse and can be done en-mass for as little money as possible takes quite a bit of talent.

Any of these Cara folks ever leave for a local restaurant kitchen?

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Most definitely!!! In all capacities and variations thereof of catering, provisioning and teaching. IIRC there was invovlement by one at a world culinary competition as part of Team Canada, there was major involvement at Expo here and IIRC, in Europe. Some had wide and quite impressive international experience before coming to YVR, and others moved on to a wide variation of foodie type positions after their stint at Cara. Of course that includes the front line employees such as bakers, cooks and other personnel, I'd bet someone on this forum has employed an ex Cara staff member at some time. Some of the upper level ex staff are teaching, running their own ops or are in some type of management at a food related operation. In the past, the airline catering operation allowed for local management and creativity, and made for great experience for future culinary related endeavors. Now, it is so micro managed by the bean counters, usually at the HO level, and of course the customer's bean counters (thus the frozen entrees, and the lack of actual food now on many domestic flights, just the bag of nuts & bolts, hopefully the edible kind :wink: ) that creativity and actual hands on learning experience of all aspects of the business is not quite as available as it was in the past, IMHO.

Edited by ~cayenne~, 07 October 2005 - 01:50 PM.

"If cookin' with tabasco makes me white trash, I don't wanna be recycled."

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#22 Vancouver Lee

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 10:46 AM

To close the loop, remember that crazy friend of mine who was trying to earn 1,000,000 aeroplan miles? He made it:

http://gcmr2005.blogspot.com/
Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.
www.leecarney.com