Sampling the world’s top tastes among the clouds
THAI celebrates its 59th anniversary with gastronomic pizzazz
CNN Travel in March ranked Thailand eighth out of the top 10 countries offering the best food, with several Thai dishes among the international fare recommended for travellers.
Such showings have raised the profile of Thai cuisine worldwide and given a strong boost to Thai tourism and the local food industry.
In March, the fame of Thai cuisine received another lift after a popular travel website voted the in-flight meals of Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) the best among all airlines.
Destinationtips.com says the in-flight meals’ use of seasonal fresh ingredients supports the livelihood of Thai farmers. There is always a choice of main course, as well as fresh salad, bread, fresh fruit or a dessert favoured by passengers.
Serving tasty in-flight meals not only signals good service, but it can also be used as a tool to build brand awareness for the airline.
It’s well known among travellers that Bangkok Airways’ passenger lounge at Suvarnabhumi airport provides tasty khao tom mud (steamed banana in sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf), and many visitors won’t miss it.
THAI Smile Airways, a sister airline of THAI, also uses food in a new marketing campaign. The airline last week teamed up with S&P, the food and baked goods caterer, to tailor exclusive menus to passengers during July 7-13.
THAI last week joined up with Menya Itto ramen restaurant, a popular ramen shop in Japan, to offer Japanese noodles on all 77 flights to Japan.
THAI’s catering department, based at Suvarnabhumi airport, now produces about 87,000 meals to serve 50 airlines including THAI.
More fine dishes to serve
Starting today, THAI will join with Lebua Hotels & Resorts to offer in-flight culinary experiences from Michelin three-star chefs to celebrate the airline’s 59th anniversary.
The collaboration between the national carrier and the well-known hospitality brand aims to serve classic French cuisine to passengers courtesy of chef Vincent Thierry, who specialises in Gallic fare and is the mastermind behind the Chef’s Table restaurant at Lebua.
The airline’s first four special dishes created by Mr Thierry will be served to first-class and business-class passengers departing Bangkok on popular European routes until the end of August.
Sudhiratr Siriplanond, THAI’s acting vice-president for the in-flight catering department, said the long partnership with Lebua provides a great opportunity for THAI to offer exclusive meals from Michelin three-star chefs for the first time.
The carrier has worked with Lebua to invite Michelin chefs from Mezzaluna and Breeze restaurants, both at Lebua, to create luxury dining experiences.
The milestone is part of THAI’s Chef Endorsement Menu project launched in 2018, with the main purpose of bringing in talented chefs to create the airline’s meals.
“Some 80% of the ingredients used in our in-flight meals will consist of local products and the rest will be imported, primarily premium-quality raw materials which cannot be found in Thailand, to ensure that our passengers will only receive the ultimate meals when flying with THAI,” Mr Sudhiratr said.
THAI plans to enhance passenger experiences on every route by reaching out to more Michelin-starred chefs with expertise in other cuisines such as Japanese, Korean and Indian, as well as Thai cuisine, with the support of leading hotel partners, he said.
For economy-class passengers, there is talk of adding special meals that can be ordered online before the flight, such as mango with sticky rice and ketogenic diet items, Mr Sudhiratr said.