Faith Kyoumukama @martkinel
I have never reviewed in-flight meals before. Maybe because I don’t catch too many flights or I just never paid much attention to airlines.
If you are a frequent flier, you will realise there have been major changes in catering over the years. Gone are the days when the in-flight food was the normal stuff such as sausages, English breakfasts and fruitcakes for dessert. We have moved on from glassware to plastic. In the old days, were people interested in fine dining?
I recently got a chance to take part in the Kenya Airways (KQ) customer experience launch. The airline was unveiling their new catering services set to be rolled out across the network from September. The new menu will reflect more on African authenticity to cater for First and Business class passengers.
“We are delighted to launch our new catering service. Providing an unforgettable experience across the entire guest journey is our core strategic focus,” said Sebastian Mikosz, KQ Group CEO.
Under the new service, there has been an introduction of culinary experience on flights above seven hours. “Introducing this unique offering is fundamental to our commitment to delighting our customers at every touch point. We are excited when a customer has a positive experience with us,” he added.
What I found interesting was the airline’s move to bring on board African chefs. When I realised they had partnered with Nairobi celebrity chef and restaurant owner Kiran Jethwa, I couldn’t wait to taste the meals.
You might probably remember that I reviewed Seven Seas restaurant at ABC Place in Westlands. Yes, that’s him. “Collaborating with KQ has been an amazing experience. It’s a privilege to be the first chef to reinvent our national carrier’s on-board menu,” Kiran said.
Apparently, Kiran has trained the catering staff to ensure quality and customer service is top-notch. Passengers on flights for less than four hours will have the recyclable meal box, which replaces trays. On offer will be hand-woven baskets for snacks.
But let me give you my own business class customer experience on board. First, we had the welcome drink, a combination of herbs, fruits, and tea. The coconut milk, tamarind is also known as ukwaju
in Kiswahili and Ice Tea.
The non-alcoholic Pina colada was my favourite. I actually had three glasses (don’t tell KQ though) and still yearned for more. For starters, we had the risotto with shredded cheese. Although it was a bit dry, the cheese gave it life. I love Risotto that’s creamy and wet, so this did not impress me much.
Then came the beef, which for real was to die for (I love meat all the time). It did not look as juicy; the plating was perfect, but the soft chewable delivery in the mouth was worth the wait. So soft. Actually, you did not need a knife to tear through it.
The folk will do it for you, only we had to measure up to fine-dining etiquette, especially when you’re amidst ‘big’ people. The meat was served with mashed baked potatoes. For dessert, we had baked chocolate, something different for my palate.
I could not finish the whole block because I was too full. But I loved the whole concept, plus the savoury taste of the dark chocolate had to offer. This experience actually made me want to review in-flight meals of KQ competitors. So, who’s next?