Linton Hopkins, Michael Chiarello, Blue Smoke. They might not be household names everywhere, but if Delta has anything to do with it, that’s about to change.
The airline has been building a roster of well-known names in the U.S. to create inflight menus for its premium customers heading to Europe. The menus begin to roll out Wednesday.
The initiative began in 2007 when Michelle Bernstein came on board to curate the airline’s business class menus. Since then, the culinary team has expanded and now passengers flying in the Delta One cabin from Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York-JFK and Seattle to select European destinations, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Paris and Zurich, can enjoy specially created menus from top chefs created from locally-sourced seasonal ingredients.
“In a competitive marketplace, we are always looking to innovate and offer our customers something they can’t find elsewhere,” said Brian Berry, Delta’s Director of Onboard Services Strategic Planning. “Our chef partners’ menus continue to be one of the most popular features in the premium cabin and because they are revised each season, customers can be sure they are always served the freshest ingredients available in keeping with the restaurants that inspire them.”
From Atlanta – Linton Hopkins is your man
“There is no better season than summer to experience the true soul of Southern cuisine,” says Chef Linton Hopkins.
His herb-crusted beef with squash gratin, blackened chicken perloo, crab cakes with cream corn and a delicious vegetable ravioli are just a few of Chef Hopkins’ latest menu creations boarding select flights from Atlanta to Europe this summer.
Taking advantage of seasonal ingredients and vibrant summer-inspired flavors, Chef Hopkins has devised a menu that pairs zesty sriracha emulsions with cool and refreshing pestos, not to mention full-bodied cheeses and Southern – and Hopkins family – favorites such as a peach and blueberry crisp topped with buttermilk sorghum ice cream. And his bread basket courtesy of H&F Bread is not to be missed.
Top this off with a Gin and Sonic – a twist on the old summer favorite with hints of lemongrass and black pepper – and you’re sure to be flying on Cloud 9 from Atlanta.
From New York-JFK, it’s Blue Smoke all the way
Blue Smoke, of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group fame, is well-known in the Big Apple for its sights, smells and tastes of a genuine backyard barbeque – with a twist. Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois, Executive Chef for Blue Smoke, brought his Louisiana culinary inspiration and developed a menu designed to tempt the palate. Think hot Creole mustard and pimento cheese, tomato and cucumber salad, vegetable succotash paired with New Orleans-style shrimp and grits or barbeque chicken with green beans and bacon.
No Southern meal is complete without sweet tea and dessert, so customers can enjoy both thanks to the signature ice cream sundae topped with sweet tea cherry sauce - not to be missed. Delta’s ice cream sundae is such a popular dish in the Delta One cabin that more than 2.8 million are served on board every year.
Washed down with a Takin’ it Easy cocktail – an infusion of lemon-cranberry juice with a dash of yuzu and honey mixed with either vodka or gin, served on the rocks – and you’ll think you’re back in the restaurant rather than 30,000 feet above it.
From L.A. and Seattle – Michael Chiarello’s Italian with a twist
For the first time this summer, Delta Chef Michael Chiarello’s award-winning cuisine will be available on flights between London and Seattle. His fare has been available on flights from Los Angeles to London Heathrow since the route launched in October but the expansion, which begins on July 1, allows more customers to enjoy a taste of his Italian roots mixed with his Napa Valley home.
Think chicken saltimbocca with artichoke torta and mushroom Masala sauce, seared Halibut, corn salad with tomato or lamb chops with Brussel sprouts with duck confit and frisse salad.
Top pairings with new wine program
Delta and Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson have worked together since 2007 to bring some of the world’s best wines to Delta’s premium customers. Each year she tastes wines from around the world to select new varieties that drink well in the air. This year, along with her regular selection she has chosen unique wines to be served exclusively on flights to and from London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
Complementing Andrea’s choices this summer, Delta has also teamed up with Wines of Rioja to offer the grape in Delta Sky Clubs and onboard. The multi-pronged program includes inflight and on-ground wine offerings plus guided tastings to bring to life the always vibrant Rioja region and its wines of unparalleled quality, versatility and value.
“We're delighted to kick off this partnership giving our customers access to some of the greatest wines in the world selected by Andrea,” said Brian Berry. “These two programs sit side-by-side to ensure our customers have memorable experiences in our airport lounges as they do on the aircraft.”
Linton Hopkins menu: ATL to AMS, CDG, DUS, FRA, LHR, MUC and STR (ATL outbound flights only)
Blue Smoke: JFK to AMS, BRU, CDG, DUB, FRA, LHR, ZRH (outbound only)
Michael Chiarello: LAX and SEA to LHR (both directions)