An initiative by

An initiative by

01 Nov 2011
Sanjoo Malhotra

Serendipity

My original destination was St’Petersberg, but this got changed to Paris. Could be due to the flow or serendipity or very simply because of the time it takes to arrange a visa to Russia from Sweden. It normally takes 5 working days and I did not have that.

But hey I am not complaining:) While waiting for my connecting flight to Paris I decided to check out the Wine&View Bar at Helsinki Airport. Quite a cool concept I think. Here you can get wine recommendations from different parts of the world. If one is going for a Gourmet tour, like me, I suppose this is the perfect place to start and start dreaming of the destination and the things to come.

Two recommendations, I would like to give them:

1.  I would like to also see a larger selection of ecological wines

2. Wines from Asia. From  Japan, China and India.

But getting back to serendipity, guess who I ran into on my flight, none other than my fellow Quality Hunter Francoise who originates from Paris. Great way to catch up and share experiences.

On the flight we did get a small meal made up of chicken, salad and curried pasta. The food looked good, filled its function but the pasta fell short…the taste felt like it was covered with curry powder rather than cooked and had a 7/11 feel to it. There was no selection available here. I would like to see better quality, more healthy and ecological food, and also food that connects the two destinations, be it Finnish or French!

On reaching Paris I checked into Le Macareux. Sorry guys, this is no ordinary hotel, this is an event/bar/gallery that my friends Arnaud and Florence run, and I was planning to stay with them during this visit. Also great was that I got to meet my godson for the first time, little Artur.  And of-course I was given a nice home cooked french dinner and believe you me nothing can beat that:)

It was a wonderful roast with green beans wrapped in bacon and a roasted garlic potatoes. The wine Chateau  Roche Lalande was sublime and the Fleur de sel de Guerande was a fantastic taste enhancer. This salt was special as it was moist and felt like it came directly from the sea. Can we take inspiration from here please? I would love to see such products on inflight meals.

18 comments

  • 01 Nov 2011 at 11:11 pm

    As they say, “sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right place” (or in your case, having no choice because of the visa issues, brought you to the right place!) ;)

  • Sanjoo Malhotra
    02 Nov 2011 at 1:07 am

    yes, really great on so many fronts but most of all because of my love for french cuisine

  • Daniel
    02 Nov 2011 at 3:41 am

    Sanjoo, nice short but to the point article. Nice note abt ur godson.

    I agree its nice getting food thats related to the destination, its like an intro of the trip, especially when im travelling for leisure. On the other hand, as a frequent business commuter (ps not to misread with business class unlike lucky francoise), variety is also important, nothing more disappointing then knowing the outlook of another mushy pizzaslice on crossatlantic flight.

    Anyhow, i keep thinking there should be ways to freshly serve food and condiments (on long haul). As in the pizza case, would have been so much more appealing if they served a slice from a full pizza. Or with salads, if it comes from a salad bowl with optional toppings.

    It will require a different mindset from crew and more time, but then again, its not like im in a rush to leave my seat.

    Speaking of time, i am sometimes bothered by how long it takes them to collect the trays afterwards, minor stuff but worth mentioning as a quality/ service aspect.

    Enjoy the french food.

    • Sanjoo
      02 Nov 2011 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Daniel for your reflections will keep that in consideration:)

  • Gavinda Jayasinghe
    02 Nov 2011 at 3:46 am

    Sanjoo,delightful post. The food,especially the green beans wrapped in bacon looks scrumptious. I enjoy the same with asparagus.As an amateur cook,I have recently started incorporating mirepoix in cooking, not for traditional french dishes, but anything infact, and the flavours once the three are deglazed with a bit of wine or stock after sauteeing the mirepoix, are truly stunning. The outcome is amazing,as it makes the preparer of the food look professional,and like an expert! Plus it is a fancy word for a mixture of onions,carrots, and celery, so I can sound like I know what I am talking about. :-)

    Inspiration can be taken aplenty from the home cooked meal you were fortunate to savour, amidst the company of good friends and your godson. Airline catering services need to prepare food at the last moment possible, prior to being trolleyed into the plane. The logistics would have to be sorted quite early,but most airlines have their associated catering facility within the airport itself. The objective is to serve at least the first meal on board as fresh as possible, without simply reheating it and making it look edibly presentable.

    • Sanjoo
      02 Nov 2011 at 10:42 pm

      Thanks Gavinda, loved to hear about Mirepoix, thanks for sharing:) I suppose the biggest challenges catering companies face are logistics, pricing, sourcing etc. At the end if they want to win the clientt over they have to offer food that makes people happy. Happy food can be organic, it can be authentic, it can be tasty, it can be fresh and it can be great for the planet. The choice is yours.

  • 02 Nov 2011 at 5:17 am

    Just like the additional condiments discussed in an earlier post, it should not be too difficult (nor expensive) to have the fleur de sel on board. And it’s just so much tastier than your regular kitchen salt. In fact, there are different types of salt that have a more appealing appearance than regular salt. It could be just a little differentiator.

    The home cooked meal looks great. Hope you enjoy Paris.

    • Sanjoo
      02 Nov 2011 at 10:44 pm

      Thanks Arjan. I do hope that these suggestions will find a home with the catering company:)

  • 02 Nov 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Nice posting Sanjoo Malhotra, as we can see that you have good experience about wines from Asia. From Japan, China and India.

    From those wines which one do you think is good enough?
    :D

    actually I am agree with Clarence, “sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right place”.

    • Sanjoo
      02 Nov 2011 at 10:38 pm

      Hi Mohammad,

      I think from Japan one can serve the different reice wines or Saki, this is something I posted about during my Japan visit. To be honest I do not know much about Chinese wines, but do know that some of the wine houses from India have come to age. As Helsinki airport recieves more clients from Asia, it would be great to also serve wines from those regions both for Europeans/Americans on the way to Asia and the Asian clients themselves.

  • Barbara Nzekwe
    02 Nov 2011 at 2:56 pm

    “Also great was that I got to meet my godson for the first time, little Artur. And of-course I was given a nice home cooked french dinner and believe you me nothing can beat that:)”Thats sounds like pleasant surprise to me,like real life experience.I love that;what a lovely rhyme with your caption.I feel at home around that paragrahp above.The culinary exhibit is already making me salivate.Good suggestion Sanjoo.Next time I wud love to have a vivid picture of the meal,if I can eat, atleast I can stare till my tongue rolls out…lol!Enjoy yourself!

  • Barbara Nzekwe
    02 Nov 2011 at 2:58 pm

    “Also great was that I got to meet my godson for the first time, little Artur. And of-course I was given a nice home cooked french dinner and believe you me nothing can beat that:)”That sounds like a pleasant surprise to me,like real life experience.I love that;what a lovely rhyme with your caption.I feel at home around that paragraph.The culinary exhibit is already making me salivate.Good suggestion Sanjoo.Next time I wud love to have a vivid picture of the meal,if I can eat, atleast I can stare till my tongue rolls out…lol!Enjoy yourself!

    • Sanjoo
      02 Nov 2011 at 10:35 pm

      Thank you Barbara, glad you liked it…the thing is that I do take many pictures and shots but do not post everything due to space limitaion, limitations with wordpress etc…but thanks for the input:)

  • Susanne Metzger
    02 Nov 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Hi Sanjoo, I think in the end everything boils down to how it is presented.

    For me the food you got on the airplane did not really look very much appetizing, more like something from a take-away – specially compared to the home-cooked meal you could enjoy later on with your friends.

    Daniel points to the predictability of meals served on short flights, how boring if you already know in advance how your food will look like since you have flown similar distance n-times in the last weeks.

    For airline cooks this could be something challenging, creating different small meals which have one special thing about them each time. Such as a special sauce coming with it, different rolls of bread, a coloured plate which complements the colour of the meal or ….Wouldn’t this be something the passengers would enjoy or even anticipate when learning about this concept?

    • Sanjoo
      02 Nov 2011 at 10:47 pm

      Hi Susanne,

      I think the presentation is important and even more important is the taste and then we can also look at other factors like where did the food come from etc. Maybe one idea would be to offer a choice for the discerning cuustomer where he can order a deluxe or organic menu and is willing to pay a little extra for it. Could be in exchange with his flying points.

  • Susanne Metzger
    03 Nov 2011 at 11:40 am

    Sanjoo

    Good idea, I think people would be ready to invest in the food choice if there is any at all. Even better using flying points would be great, you wouldn’t need money to pay for it, you just could decide that this time you want to enjoy a good meal on-board and spend some of your points.

  • 04 Nov 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Thank looks so nice :)

  • 07 Nov 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You are amazing! Thanks!

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