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BEST OF THE MIDDLE EAST


Oman Air’s Omani date bread and


butter pudding with a cardamom- perfumed vanilla sauce and spice- poached dates is a typical example of fusion cuisine. On Gulf Air’s Bangkok routes, the airline serves Hamour Tempura, an Arabic fish cooked in an Asian style. The airline adopts a similar, eclectic


approach. Janahi commented: “Our Middle Eastern dishes are fused with other cuisines to attract all of our guests. However, the current trend is healthier, fresh, easy-to-cook food. Therefore we concentrate on freshly made soups, sandwiches, sauces and locally-grown organic vegetables.” Qatar Airways’ Bris thinks it is important that its passengers are given the opportunity to enjoy Middle Eastern specialities onboard its flights. “We have handpicked an all-star culinary team of Qatar Airways chefs who work jointly with our celebrity chefs on menu development.” This team includes award-winning Lebanese chef Ramzi Choueiri; Vineet Bhatia, who was the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star; Tom Aikens whose eponymous London restaurant also has a Michelin star and celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, whose Japanese-Peruvian fusion food has won fans all around the world. Bris continued: “Months were spent adapting and testing their specialities,


taking into account not only flavours and spices, but how the taste buds are altered at 30,000 feet, and what types of food are most suited to long-haul.” The idea of tailored menus has been taken one step further by UAE- based Empire Aviation Group, which manages a fleet of business jets. EAG works with Private Flight, one of the world’s largest buyers of catering for the private aviation industry, using technology to monitor global developments in cuisine and catering. An EAG spokesperson said: “Private


Flight has helped to change the traditional procurement model, making it more efficient, transparent


Sample menu


STARTER Oman Air: Arabic mezze of smoked baba ganoush, cherry tomato, corn and parsley salad, a spicy carrot and coriander dip and golden-fried falafel Qatar Airways: Spiced yellow lentil soup, dried tomato crisp, cumin yoghurt and sumac Oil Emirates: smoked tuna with a marinated vegetable salad


MAIN COURSE Emirates: A lamb fillet marinated in Arabic spices


with charcoal-grilled peppers, a cinnamon-scented sauce, broccoli, roasted baby corn and steamed rice Gulf Air: Tender chicken breast filled with pistachios, served with potato sou-è baby carrots, broccoli and a Boletus mushroom sauce Oman Air: Flame-grilled chicken kebab with chunky braised vegetables and Omani spices, steamed rice, roasted pumpkin and grilled aubergine with toasted sesame seeds.


DESSERT Etihad: Am Ali – flaky pastry baked in rosewater-scented cream with creme anglaise Qatar Airways: Muhallabiya (ground rice pudding), jallab jelly & date mamoul (filled shortbread pastries) served with Qatari honey


Gulf Air: White and dark chocolate cake served with a chocolate sauce


and exceptionally consistent. Passenger profiling means that we can develop and maintain a library of menus specific to each client or owner, and a menu archive ensures that all clients’ preferred menus are accessible with the click of button.” The dominance of the Middle East


region showed in this year’s World Airline Awards, which saw three of the region’s carriers in the world’s top ten airlines. But it is the best of the best that the Middle East excels in, with four Middle Eastern carriers in the First Class and Best Business Class lists, showing that the onboard industry should keep looking east for luxury.


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