Iberia, the first eight star restaurant in the world
Tuesday 31, May 2011
Eight Stars and eleven Soles will work together for two years in this new concept for airline food, far removed from usual fare and dedicated to the best Spanish products.
“Changing the present model for food on-board”. This is the goal that the leading airline between Europe and Latin America has set and to do so has enlisted elite committee of culinary experts, none other than Madrid’s Paco Roncero (alma mater of La Terraza del Casino), Madrid-residing Catalan Ramón Freixa (head of Ramón Freixa Madrid), Caceres chef Toño Pérez (Atrio) and Malaga’s Dani García (chef at Calima restaurant in Marbella). Each of them brings individual talent to the new cuisine in Iberia. Each of them has 2 Michelin Stars and in total they have 11 Repsol Guide Soles.
These experienced and renowned chefs come from different self-governing regions in Spain and are the greatest exponents of the country’s haute cuisine. They have been working side by side on a new gastronomic offering for Iberia’s Business Plus class that will start on June 1 on intercontinental flights and later on in all national and international flights. The change will be gradual and will shift towards a different model, far removed from the pasta, meat and fish that the public presently demands. The new menu has been adapted to 21st century eating habits based on the excellence of the Mediterranean diet and has been designed to surprise the passenger, as well as to turn Iberia’s airplanes into “the only eight star restaurant in the world”.
The value of raw materials
Iberia thus becomes the leading company, not only in Europe but in the whole world, concerned with definitely breaking with the fixation that it is not possible to eat well 30,000 feet up in the air. The airline has contracted for a minimum of two years, not one executive chef, but four gastronomy experts who total eight Michelin Stars and eleven Repsol Guide Soles, among many other distinctions. Aware of the logistical limitations of an aircraft, these four chefs have fine-tuned the delivery of a Premium culinary experience to passengers who already enjoy all the comforts and services of a truly pleasurable flight. The key of the success is the choice and presentation of the finest produce from Spain. A trained jury made up of, basically, the four chefs will make the selection of the raw material through special tastings.
For this coming month of June, the chefs have designed a new menu of hot dishes that have taken into consideration all details, “from the ingredients that are most suited for flights to the ideal cooking temperature so that the product suffers the least possible during the transfer from the catering kitchen to the one on the plane.” This menu reflects the culinary idiosyncrasy on the various regions in Spain and the experience and know-how of the creative geniuses who have elevated Spanish cuisine to the top of world rankings. But the changes won’t end there. It will adapt to the traveller’s demands to offer a completely different and very tasty model in which the Mediterranean diet’s star products will be presented in an attractive and entertaining manner that “will surprise”.
Much more than new recipes
The task of this dream team will not only entail the revision of “what’s on offer”, but also “how it is on offer”. The composition of the dishes, the tableware and above all the service “is almost as important, or even more important, than the quality of the food itself; a ritual that transforms the intake of food from a necessity into a unique and unforgettable hedonistic experience”, explained the chefs during the training sessions with Iberia’s crew. Over that last few months, the quartet has exchanged impressions with the airline’s flight attendants, because, as they say, “it is very important to work as a team; we are the experts in gastronomy and know the technique and raw materials, as well as being regular (and demanding) Iberia passengers, but the flight attendants are the ones who have the direct and daily contact with the customers. They can provide us with the feedback of passengers’ demands and expectations.” “They are the front team” of Paco, Ramón, Toño and Dani’s new project, through which “we hope that people enjoy our food as much as they do in our restaurants and gastro bars.” They add: “Just as you can eat well at a bar or at a table with fine linen, you can also eat well on a plane; all you have to do is adapt the format to the time and place, in this case an airplane seat, which we want to transform into a new space for enjoyment.”
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