Come December 2 and passengers on board can experience Indian gastronomy along with some international dishes.

Words and photos: Ambica Gulati

It’s not everyday that you are privy to kitchens catering to airlines or sampling the food that’s going to be on a soon-to-be-launched flight. And taste the menu with the man who crafted it. But one November morning, this did happen.

Ambassador's Sky Chef.jpgThe earthy and well landscaped building of Ambassador’s Sky Chef on Palam Road, near T3, Delhi was a delightful surprise. Greeted by two huge elephants, a palanquin, an airplane, even a temple at the entrance, I walked into the spick and span premises to get a bite of what others are going to experience on December 2.

For anybody flying non-stop till San Francisco, comfort and good food become a priority. Keeping hygiene and long hours in mind, the menu has been designed by Executive Chef of The Ashok,  Rajan Loomba. “The need is light, yet healthy meals. Along with this, it’s important to keep the taste and flavours of India alive. There is a healthy mix of Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian and continental food,” said Chef Loomba.

Food for the Air India San Francisco non-stop flightAir India is expecting more Indians visiting the US to be onboard and the menu varies with chicken dishes, kebabs, poha, dal tadka, rice and there’s even prawn curry. Along with this comes an array of cookies, buns and croissants. Even the choice of curries with thicker gravies is with the focus that food is being served in a flight. There is less use of heavy spices and oil, but the taste remains good. The portions are good too.

Food sampling at Ambassador's Sky Chef.jpg
(Left) Chef Rajan Loomba and Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani (red shirt) going through the menu

As the food goes through an intensive process of cooking, then freezing and reheating before serving, there are many different things to be kept in mind, say the Air India officials. And they are fully equipped to handle these intense processes, elucidated Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India.

For those travelling in the First and Business class, there will a choice of wines and liquor to pair with the food.

And Chef Loomba will be on board the inaugural flight. Air India officials also said that the flight would have two chefs onboard in every flight.

What’s inside B777-200LR
The B777-200LR has a three-class configuration, with eight seats in First, 35 in business and 195 seats in economy. First and business class passengers have the reclining sleeperettes, while the economy promises ample leg room and seat pitch.

What’s more on the flight
The inaugural flight will provide amenity kits handcrafted by Khadi. And later, the same kits will be extended to all other international flights of Air India.

Inflight entertainment-from latest Hollywood and Bollywood movies to other Indian and international language movies, TV shows, documentaries, games and more.

Who will benefit
Business travellers, students, Indian diaspora and anyone interested in reaching San Francisco in one shot.

When can you fly
The flight to and from San Francisco will operate thrice a week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.