Singapore Airlines Offers the “Book the Cook” Program for In-Flight Luxury Dining

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hef Alfred Portale in the kitchen at NYC’s famed Gotham Bar and Grill during a menu development process, where Portale is creating the dishes that will be served inflight, photo viaSingaporeAirGotham
Chef Alfred Portale in the kitchen at NYC’s famed Gotham Bar and Grill during a menu development process, where Portale is creating the dishes that will be served inflight, photo viaSingaporeAirGotham

Sipping on champagne and chowing down on caviar is typically reserved for a fancy night out at a five-star restaurant. But, what if you could get that experience when flying over the ocean? While most of us have become complacent with less than appealing airplane food, one airline has decided to provide fine dining in flight with its chef-created menu.

Singapore Airlines, already knowing for its $18,000 onboard suites that feature double lie-flat beds, created their “Book the Cook” program where a passenger can choose a specialty meal 24 hours before take off an enjoy butler-like service while on board. Depending on your destination, a variety of food options are offered that highlight local flavors. Flying to Paris? Enjoy a famous French steak dish: Charolais beef served with foie gras and drizzled with white wine and truffle Perigueux sauce.

Seared Lamb Loin, image by Matthew Moran
Seared Lamb Loin, (Matthew Moran)

“We see quality food and beverage as a key way of connecting with consumers creating a moment of fantastic interaction between the passenger and crewmember,” says James Boyd, Vice President of PR ​for Singapore Airlines. “We go to world-renowned chefs because we’re looking for their expertises in keeping up with trends and the evolution of flight dining. It’s all part of creating a satisfied customer and to help the brand stand out.”

In First Class, they up the ante even more by allowing passengers on flights of four or more hours to choose when they wish to dine and all meals are served on fine bone china and crystal specially designed by Givenchy. And all guests enjoy a true restaurant experience by being served over the course of an hour and a half.

Pan-Fried Free Range Chicken Supreme (Georges Blanc)
Pan-Fried Free Range Chicken Supreme (Georges Blanc)

Forget the brown meat with the brown sauce and brown potatoes. All dishes provided through this program are specially crafted to make use of colorful and aromatic sauces. “The sight and smell are part of the dining satisfaction,” adds Boyd. “Each dish goes through a very specific process of plating and presentation on board the aircraft. The crew must present the dish to the passenger so that looks, tastes, smells and feels like what you would have in a fine dining restaurant on the ground.”

Part of that Michelin-worthy dining experience is also the beverage service. While Singapore Airlines was the first to offer free drinks in economy class, they also have maintained their luxurious offerings when it comes to alcohol: “We poured about 20,000 bottles of fine wine and champagne in the first cabin in just a month,” says Boyd. “That’s an indication to us of what our customers are looking for when it comes to their in-flight dining expectations.”

Seared Black Cod Fillet a la Nicoise (Suzanne Goin)
Seared Black Cod Fillet a la Nicoise (Suzanne Goin)

The Book the Cook program comes at no additional cost and can be chosen at the same time you check-in for your flight online or in advance. With a rotating menu every couple of months, you’re sure not to get bored and be stuck choosing between the chicken or pasta. “We have a portfolio of 15,000 customer favorites,” adds Boyd. “It’s a critical pillar of our service offering.”

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