stars in the skies

Air France is already known for pampering passengers with a certain je nais sais quoi – especially in the newly revamped Business Class cabins. (Not to mention free Clarins facials and massage at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, too.) Now the airline has upped the ante even further with the introduction of an unexpected – and exceptional – culinary experience. Since December France’s national carrier has been featuring dishes from some of the country’s leading chefs on long-haul flights out of Paris. Inaugurating the collaboration is “Chef of the Century” Joel Robuchon. With 27 Michelin stars to his credit you’d think Chef Robuchon had little left to prove but apparently haute cuisine at 30,000 feet is his final hurdle.  Known as an advocate of “sublimely simple” dishes which emphasize product quality and ease of execution, one of his mile-high dishes is Basque shrimp and turmeric-scented pasta with lemongrass – as described by Chef Robuchon in the onboard menu, “a simple recipe, absent the superfluous, with a purity through which the full flavor of each ingredient is fully expressed.” Another signature plate, Crayfish pasta with Nantua sauce. Now here’s something I never thought I’d say about airplane food: it’s making my mouth water. Rotating every six months, the gallivanting Gauls lined up to partner with Air France read like a gastronomic who’s who. Next up, chef Guy Martin, whose Grand Vefour is a Paris institution. Now about the wine list …


finally flat

A happy little surprise on the way over:  a change in aircraft meant I got to fly one of Continental’s new planes outfitted with fully flat beds in BusinessFirst.  Finally!  Welcome to the 21st Century, Continental.  Though it doesn’t come close to what you’d find in a comparable cabin on Virgin or BA, there are a number of clever touches that tell you some thought went into the design process, like proper duvets, privacy screens, and a set of power outlets that include a USB jack for charging computer gear. And let me tell you, laying fully flat makes a world of difference if you’ve got to be on your game the next day.


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