Airplane food with a luxurious twist: Lufthansa, Ritz-Carlton team up for in-flight entrees

You’re used to fine dining in luxury hotels, but is it possible for fine dining to take place in-flight? First-class travelers are no stranger to white tablecloth service at 38,000-feet – hot meals replace boxed sandwiches and bags of peanuts; wine is served instead of the half a can of Coke you get in coach. Now, a new trend is taking place up in the air – hotels are partnering with airlines to create in-flight meals prepared by top Michelin-starred chefs that represent local flavors in top markets.

Case in point: Ritz-Carlton and Lufthansa.

The luxury hotel group and the German airline have been in partnership for over a year, but recent changes to the airplane food menu mean not only a decent meal, but an impressive marketing campaign. The unique partnership between Ritz-Carlton and Lufthansa gives guests flying in premium seats specially-created dishes by award-winning chefs from various Ritz-Carlton hotels, which in turn keeps the hotels top of mind to flyers.

Chef Bernd Schmitt of LSG Sky Chef team works directly with Ritz-Carlton chefs to create and deliver the unique in-flight meals. Denver, Laguna Nigel, New York City, Boston, and San Francisco hotels have already been presented, and now South Beach joins the mix, added a little Latin flare to the in-flight fun. The Miami in-flight menu features everything from black bean soup and queso fresco to sautéed snapper, spiced tomato “enchilado”, and pepper and tomato “sofrito” stew.The program has been so successful for domestic hotels, Ritz-Carlton tells me they are planning to introduce menus created by chef’s in international markets.

“This past July, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company expanded its relationship with Lufthansa’s Star Chefs program. Specifically, our hotel and chef in Shanghai has developed First and Business Class menus for flights to and from Germany to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Nanjing and Guangzhou,” said Victoria Gottlieb, Director, Partnerships and Strategic Alliances, for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC. “Asia is a critical region of growth for the Ritz-Carlton so we are very happy to have such a strong presence in Lufthansa’s Asia flight network.”

The menus, which will be created by chefs from The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai, will be on board for 12-months. Lufthansa’s own sommelier, Markus Del Monego, will consult with the Ritz-Carlton chefs to create a wine list that marries the flavors of the food with the best global vintages.

What pairs well with spiced ceviche, duck confit, sherry vinaigrette; a vegetarian plate of seared watermelon, and goat cheese mousse with a Banyuls glaze and crushed pistachio nuts? That’s for the airline and hotel to figure out. In the meantime, the collaboration between Ritz-Carlton and Lufthansa leaves premium-seat flyers satisfied, and keeps the concept of good food and experience top of mind in-flight.

We want to know what you think: Would you be more inclined to visit a hotel after tasting the chef’s in-flight creations on a flight?