Plane food goes gourmet this summer on DC-Paris route

OpenSkies announces a partnership with Citronelle's star chef Michel Richard for gourmet fare at 38,000 feet.

OpenSkies CEO Dale Moss and chef Michel Richard. Credit: Linda Spillers for OpenSkies

A bit of magic will return to flying out of Washington Dulles International Airport this summer, when OpenSkies launches its Washington – Paris route with a menu created by Citronelle’s award-winning French chef, Michel Richard.

OpenSkies, the all business class airline owned by British Airways, made the announcement last week, after members of the press boarded a Boeing 757-200 and sampled Richard’s fare.

“You can have a flying great restaurant,” Richard said.

The maiden flight will be May 3, and Richard’s menu will be served beginning in June, for at least two months.

Chef Michel Richard and Citronelle executive chef, David Deshaies, prepare a sample dish in the galley of an OpenSkies aircraft. Credit: Linda Spillers for OpenSkies

The airline currently flies from New York to Paris twice daily, and there will be five flights a week from Washington. OpenSkies CEO Dale Moss says about 65 percent of those flying the New York route are traveling for business. The 757s are retrofitted with Biz Seats, which incline 140 degrees, and Biz Beds, which lower to a fully flat bed. The Washington aircraft will have 64 seats.

“Now you walk on the airplane, and it’s a different feel,” Moss said. “Where there were more than 200 people usually, you have 64 here. You get a drink faster, you get more attention, and you get smart, fresh food and good wines.”

Richard explained that his food has to be prepared differently at 38,000 feet. For example, instead of pasta carbonara (pasta would get soggy), he makes onion carbonara, with long strips of onion disguised as pasta. He said when you make a cake at a higher altitude, you increase the flour and the baking temperature.

At the press event, Richard served the onion carbonara, fried chicken bites and his signature chocolate bar--layers of chocolate and ganache with a hazelnut sauce. It all tasted divine. The only disappointment was that we were sitting on the tarmac, not en route to Paris.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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