Global Aviation provides charter and premium in-flight catering services to the Portland area from the Hillsboro HIO Airport

Global Aviation caters to individual tastes for delicious inflight meals.

Ask a commercial airline traveler how the inflight meal was, and a likely answer is a shrug or a frown or words like “bland” and “tasteless.” Fortunately, Global Aviation customers have a different experience: a flavorful meal carefully developed by the in-house catering department and Executive Chef, Elaine Frances.

Recent scientific studies reveal evidence that much of the problem with inflight food is due to passengers actually losing perception of sweet and salty by as much as 30 percent when they fly. Even before a plane takes off, the atmosphere inside the cabin dries out the nose. Then, as the plane ascends, the change in air pressure numbs about a third of the taste buds.

The reports only confirm what Frances learned 11 years ago during her first culinary job catering to private jets in Seattle, Washington. Eager to give customers a great dining experience, Frances built relationships with the flight attendants and learned about the challenges of serving quality meals on an airplane. Serving delicious food in the air takes extra attention.

Without sharing too many trade secrets, Frances does say that the typical pouring of extra salt on a dish is not going to make the difference in your inflight meal.

“It is important to season a meal the entire time you are making the food. Season the water, marinate and brine. The moisture carries the flavor especially when senses may be dulled and food will need to be reheated,” said Frances. The Global Aviation catering team also knows to generously add “acids” with splashes of lemon and vinegar to liven up their dishes.

“A lot of the problem is that catering departments aren’t always actually trying to serve food that is high-quality dining for an individual,” said Frances. “They are used to serving so many palates at once that they keep flavors in the middle. Not too spicy, not too salty. That also means the food is pretty bland and not truly good to any one person’s palate.”

At Global Aviation, the catering team crafts meals to individual tastes and even records customer preferences for future requests. Frances continues to receive positive and useful feedback from customers and, of course, the flight attendants.  Frances and her team credit the “incredibly skilled” flight attendants with taking the care to prepare and serve the meals right. On a private jet, attendants often prepare, heat and plate the dishes themselves.

Even with all of the skill in the catering department, Frances admits some foods should stay on the ground. Fried foods, finger sandwiches, raw oysters and scrambled eggs should be prepared and eaten immediately rather than stored for a flight.

What should you order for your flight? Frances recommends the very popular entrée salads. The flavors are excellent and they can be freshly assembled on the plane. Thai salad and a roasted vegetable salad are some delicious and healthy favorites.


More from Global Aviation’s May 2014 Newsletter:


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