Inside United’s restaurant at 35,000 feet
Author Rachel Ayres
On October 25, United launched an all-new premium-cabin menu for its p.s. Premium Service between New York/Newark and California. Customers will enjoy meal options like flat iron steak with chimichurri sauce; spice-rubbed chicken with smoky tomato sauce and ragout of lentils, roasted parsnips, and carrots; or butternut squash manicotti with white cheese mascarpone sauce.
The menu was a collaboration with chefs affiliated with the Trotter Project, United’s nonprofit partner that is committed to continuing the late chef Charlie Trotter’s legacy through mentoring and internship programs for youth interested in the culinary arts. For the new menu, Trotter chefs created dishes inspired by popular flavors and ingredients that highlight regional specialties from across the country.
“Right now, fennel and beets are really popular,” says Todd Traynor-Corey, United’s managing director of food and beverage planning. “You’ll see them in the apple, fennel, and beet salad.”
Members of United’s food services group sampled the new entrées at a tasting event where they decided which ones would be served onboard. United Executive Chef Gerry McLoughlin then worked with the menu concepts and translated them based on what he knows will work on an airplane.
“We want to maintain the overall concept,” McLoughlin says, “but we also consider temperature variances and how the food will hold up in the operation. It’s very different than serving at a restaurant on the ground. Our restaurant is traveling at 500 miles per hour, at 35,000 feet.”