New York City’s ace restaurateur Danny Meyer (of Shake Shack, Union Square Cafe, and Gramercy Tavern fame), is taking his expertise to new heights. Union Square Hospitality Group has partnered with Delta Airlines to bring new meal options on-board.
Although the stereotype of bland or inedible airline food still exists in movie tropes and standup shticks, it’s no secret that airlines have been trying to improve the reputation of inflight meals for some time.
The goal for this new partnership is to serve food on international flights from John F. Kennedy Airport that tastes just as good a few miles above sea level as it does in a restaurant. Union Square Cafe executive chef and partner Carmen Quagliata will lead a team of chefs to bring Italian-influenced cuisine to the Delta fleet.
"At Union Square Cafe, we use the freshest ingredients that we can find from local farmers at the greenmarket located just steps from our front door," chef Quagliata said in a statement. "The beauty of working with Delta is we get to share our market-driven approach with international travelers. For Delta's guests, we're featuring produce and meats from the same farmers who serve our restaurant."
Instead of ordering the typical pre-packaged mushy fish and vegetables, travelers will be able to choose from meals like beef short rib stracotto, roasted chicken breast, gulf shrimp and polenta, and a baked paccheri basil cream pasta. Delta’s master sommelier Andrea Robinson will also be pairing wines with each dish.
Attaching names of celebrity chefs and restaurateurs to airlines is nothing new, but Delta claims this is the first time chefs have really been involved in matching cabin quality to restaurant standard.
Serving quality food on airplanes is all about knowing what will work thousands of feet in the air: Reheated pasta will get mushy, so the team opted for baked pasta instead, for instance, according to The New York Times.
The Daily Meal has contacted Union Square Hospitality Group for more information on this partnership.