Is Chef Gordon Ramsay Right About Airline Food?
Posted on 04/07/2017
Notorious hotheaded chef Gordon Ramsay said in an interview that he will
eat just about anything, but there’s one thing he won’t eat at all –
"There’s no f****** way I eat on planes," he told Refinery29 in an interview. "I worked for airlines for 10 years, so I know where this food’s been and where it goes, and how long it took before it got on board."
Not nearly as tough as Ramsay sometimes reserves for his apprentices and fellow chefs, but tough nonetheless. But is it true? Is airline food that vile, or is Ramsay just being snobby?
Certainly there is some credence to his concerns. Airline food is basically pre-packaged and pre-cooked, loaded onto the aircraft during the turnaround time and then re-heated on the plane. If there’s a delay of some sort, obviously that’s a factor to consider.
But it isn’t all bad. As some airlines bring back free meals, many have worked hard to incorporate local delicacies into their offerings, such as craft beers from Seattle and Washington state wines on Alaska Airlines; New York City-based Dean & DeLuca boxes on Virgin America (which, presumably, will stay after the acquisition by Alaska and the shuttering of the VA brand); and Starbucks coffee and cookies on some Delta flights.
Now, given his celebrity status, Ramsay must be traveling in business or first class on flights. You mean to tell us he hasn’t found a good meal yet as carriers bump up their good game?
There are certainly plenty to choose from that have received overwhelmingly good reviews, and were crafted by chefs every bit as good as Ramsay – if not as vocal – at point of origin cities on virtually every airline.
When was the last time you had something like ginger chicken with green peas, carrots, corn, steamed white rice, a mixed bean salad, and a guava cookie on an airplane? Hawaiian Airlines serves it.
Or how about buttermilk pancakes with poached pear, pomegranate seeds, and crème fraiche, as well as a kale cobb salad with confit chicken? That’s something you can order on JetBlue’s Mint class service, according to Vogue.
Perhaps Ramsay would get to try the red wine-braised beef with polenta and green beans if he flew Air New Zealand? Or the Viennese Schnitzel on Austrian Airlines?
Look, chefs are persnickety, to be sure. To suggest you would NEVER eat airline food, however, seems a bit much.