Luxair's business class passengers will discover a special menu from 28 October: their meal or snack, depending on the time of the flight, will have been created by the Luxembourg School of Hospitality and Tourism (EHTL). Six DAP3 Catering students, supervised by their teachers and in collaboration with Luxair Catering, took up this challenge.
Between Luxair, which is always keen to aim for the highest level of quality, and the EHTL, which is eager for partnerships, the meeting became inevitable. "Luxair is delighted with this collaboration," said Luxair sales director Thomas Fischer, who came to Diekirch for the official presentation of the dishes. "We are very fortunate that these young chefs have embraced this project. The association with Luxair Catering has been a success." Vincenzo Manzella, marketing director of LuxairTours, emphasises that "the health crisis that has shaken up our habits has taught us to think outside the box. This project had the same objective of thinking outside the box, both for the students and for our teams."
A lot of specific rules
The challenge was nevertheless important. Designing menus to be served on an aeroplane is a delicate exercise, because it is very specific. The requirements were demanding. "In an aircraft, space must be optimised. One constraint is the height of the trays, which are slid into trolleys. Then, our menus are served cold. We therefore had to control the cooking process. Certain foods are not tolerated either, at least at Luxair, such as sushi or peanuts and their derivatives... The technical file was therefore quite long.” Another difficulty is seasoning. During a flight, passengers lose about 30% of their perception of it. "You have to anticipate this when you make the dish," says Patrick Scholzen, a teacher at the EHTL.
The first contact was established last April. The students then worked on recipes, dressings and cuts, drafted all the technical stages, tested the products, rectified... "We also had to think about the colours, as we wanted happy plates,” underlines Manzella. This work was carried out with the Luxair Catering teams, since the dishes will be prepared at Findel, even if they were designed in Diekirch.
In total, it was necessary to conceptualise and prepare two menus (to avoid a passenger eating the same thing twice in the same day). The menu will change each week, with a rotation of three weeks in total, i.e. six different platters which are available in normal (snack) or more generous (meal) portions. "The aim is to create harmony between starters, main courses and desserts, and to ensure a balance of tastes and flavours….”
A first tasting took place, with the Luxair management at the table. Then, following a few small modifications, the students arrived at a magnificent result that will be served throughout the winter season, until the end of March at least.
This is what I call a project with a high educational added value.
Michel Lanners, director of the EHTL, did not fail to congratulate his students and teachers, but also the Luxair teams: "Thanks to you, we have been able to succeed in this beautiful project between a public establishment and a private company. An original project with high added educational value. One more success for the very dynamic EHTL, whose teams also provide catering for the Luxembourg pavilion at the Dubai World Expo.
If you are lucky enough to be using Luxair's business class in the near future, the smoked trout panna cotta with lemongrass carrot juice, the sashimi-style beef fillet with radish ravioli and mousse, the salmon trout with beetroot and peppers, the chicken fillet stuffed with baby vegetables and pistachio slivers, or the wine-poached pears stuffed with marzipan, among other things, might just bring you closer to cloud 9.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.