British Airways and Michelin-star chef Heston Blumenthal have unveiled new menus created by rising star Simon Hulstone, which cabin crew will serve to three million British Airways customers over the busy summer period.
Simon spent the past year being mentored by Heston Blumenthal as part of the BA Great Britons programme, which supports up and coming British talent in food, arts, and film.
With a nod to Heston’s creative approach, Simon’s dishes take inspiration from the airline’s menus dating back to 1948 – the last time the Olympics were held in London. Popular ingredients from the time have been incorporated into his menu, with some dishes reinvented for a modern day audience – rich in umami and using local produce.
To complement the menu there is a specially commissioned on-board soundtrack which customers can listen to, featuring uplifting and iconic British music and commentary.
British Airways mentor Heston Blumenthal, said: "Simon has created an exciting, delicious and well-balanced menu in a clever and subtle way. The dishes celebrate our rich history and British talent at its best. As a mentor, chef and friend I’m very proud of what he has achieved."
Michelin-star chef Simon Hulstone, said: "It’s an honour to have created a menu that millions of people will experience – I can’t think of a better platform to showcase British cuisine."
Simon has created four menus which will be available on long-haul flights from London Heathrow from July in: First, Club, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins.
Working with Heston and his experimental team, Simon researched food in post war Britain, as well as the 1948 airline menus. As food was rationed at the time, ingredients that were indigenous and plentiful such as ox cheek and fish played an important part of people’s diet during these austerity years.
Simon’s menu reflects these trends, and includes: "Rillette of mackerel dressed on a pickled cucumber carpaccio with sour dough croutes" and "Fish pie using sustainable sourced hake, dressed with parmesan pomme puree and a warm tartare sauce".
Certain cuts of beef were also used at the time, with dishes such as "Steak and mushroom casserole" and "Braised beef chasseur with young carrots and chateau potatoes" featuring in the airline’s 1948 menus. Simon has reworked this chasseur dish for a new audience with umami rich ingredients, to become "Potted braised beef with a potato and horseradish topping, served with hispy cabbage, baby carrots and roasted shallots with a rich jus".
When looking at desserts, tinned fruit was a common theme both on board flights and also as part of the regular diet. Simon has attempted to pay homage to this in some of his dishes including a Lemon curd cheesecake with raspberry and basil compote.
British Airways is putting particular emphasis on ingredients from London. This includes locally sourced salmon, and sugar from East London. In keeping with the drinks list from 1948, Gin from London is also available on-board.
Frank van der Post, British Airways managing director of brands and customer experience, said: "We are very proud to be quite literally bringing a taste of Britain to our customers! We have a very proud heritage with our in-flight menus, which Simon and Heston have tapped into in a credible and exciting way."