When French gastronomy invites itself on board Air France aircraft

Eric Augustine et Francois Adamski - ©Virginie Valdois pour Air France

Aéroport de Narita - Tokyo

Narita Airport – Tokyo

Every time I fly, especially a long haul, I find it absolutely extraordinary. You settle down in the cabin, watch a few movies, eat one or more meals and then, when you get off, hello, a change of scenery. The time it took to make Bordeaux – or Libourne by stagecoach, here you are in Cape Town, Los Angeles or Tokyo.

Isn’t there something to marvel at?

Personally I never get tired of it, I feel like a Harry Potter character seizing a


. Yes, I know, I have a lot of imagination but isn’t it magic ?

Another thing also incredible is that in these planes, we eat !

You will answer me incredible … humph … no but did you see the head of the meal trays ???

I took advantage of my return trip to Tokyo last week to discover the business class meal trays signed by the famous French chef François Adamski to interview Eric Augustine on the evolution of the airborne meal trays . Today, after 40 years of career at Servair, he is responsible for research and development,

Eric Augustine et Francois Adamski - ©Virginie Valdois pour Air France

Eric Augustine and Francois Adamski – ©Virginie Valdois for Air France

Bonjour Eric, when you started your career, what was the priority in the creation of the meal trays?

Bonjour Anne. The top priority at that time was product quality. There was no skimping on the first or business class side: caviar, lobster, lobster, sweetbreads. And with the crisis, the rise in the price of oil, what happened in the early 1980s?

The difficulties and the drop in revenues naturally had an impact on the quality of the meal trays. Many products disappeared in favor of frozen foods. Moreover, at that time, it should be remembered that people used to travel by plane above all. The meal was really only an accessory.

How has the trend been reversed?

It is thanks to the arrival of new companies based in the Persian Gulf that the trend has been reversed.

Quelques plats du repas à bord de François Adamski

How long does it take from the beginning of the collaboration with a chef to the service of his dishes on board?

It’s like a birth, it takes 9 months. The technical constraints are numerous. In fact, you mentioned them in one of your articles that I posted in my office (yoo-hoo). We work in constant collaboration with the chief.

All that is all well and good, but on the economy side, what is happening?

We are also making efforts. The winner of Top Chef 2012, Jean Imbert, will be offering a meal tray on board long-haul flights in Air France’s Economy and Premium Economy cabins from April onwards. It will be composed of 3 courses: an organic quinoa, poached egg and tarragon, a blanquette of yesteryear revisited and a fruity dessert inspired by its grand finale.

Plateau repas Jean Imbert pour Air France

Jean Imbert meal tray for Air France

This meal will be available on departure from Paris for 21 euros or 7,000 Flying Blue Miles.

Very nice! Thank you very much Eric and once again happy retirement to you. It was a real pleasure to travel with you these last few years. Big up!

There you go, friends of the internets, maybe the next time you have a meal on a plane you will think of this article and say that it’s not so “normal” to eat all up there.

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