Char with marinated carrots, mackerel with radishes and horseradish and langoustine on pumpkin; what reads like something off the menu from a restaurant boasting three Michelin stars was in fact the appetizer on my Economy Class flight to New York.
On 21 November SWISS made the impossible possible: the world’s first-ever airborne pop-up restaurant! In collaboration with Andreas Caminada, the Swiss chef with three Michelin stars to his name and owner of a restaurant awarded 19 GaultMillau points, flight LX16 was transformed into a unique experience for passengers and crew members alike.
But not only during the flight were we pampered to an extraordinary degree with gourmet cooking. Pre-flight at the departure gate we were welcomed with a magnificent champagne breakfast. Entertained by live saxophone music, travellers found themselves looking forward with particular anticipation to the special flight to New York. Once everyone was on board, we were welcomed by the captain in person and then, in no time at all, we were airborne. As our aircraft reached cruising altitude, our culinary extravaganza began in earnest.
A nut mixture created by Caminada put us in the mood for the gourmet meal ahead. The choice of main course was between a veal-mushroom-onion dish and a vegetarian option of mushroom with papardelle. Both dishes were preceded by no fewer than three appetisers: the aforesaid char with marinated carrots, mackerel with radishes and horseradish, and langoustine and pumpkin. Dessert consisted of a fabulous chocolate crunch.
Each course was accompanied by a small menu card on which the name of the dish was printed. As the flight progressed, passengers could use the cards to fill in the Caminada logbook which they had received earlier. By the time the flight was over, each passenger had their own a personal dining souvenir.
Served with the meals was a selection of very good wines, among them a 2012 Chardonnay from the winery zur Sonne and a Pinot Noir Barrique 2012 produced by Möhr-Niggli. The second service prior to landing featured a picnic pouch containing salsiz, Grison cheese Andeer, sweet chili and potatoes, attractively presented on a wooden cutting board.
To round out the flying-restaurant experience in style, each guest received a give-away of a gift bag containing Swiss chocolates and a wool hat, well suited to the chilly weather in New York City. Having performed culinary wonders in First, Business and Economy Class together with his six-person crew, star chef Andreas Caminada made a point of passing through the cabin as the flight drew to a close and bidding farewell in person to the passengers.
Flight LX16 was unique. And so was the performance of the entire crew of SWISS and Andreas Caminada. If they had not been wearing seat belts, passengers may well have fallen out of their seats in awe at the crew’s display and the outstanding quality of the gourmet cuisine they had savoured.