Continental Airlines has introduced new BusinessFirst menus on its international flights. The gourmet meals, which first debuted on trans-Atlantic and South American flights Oct. 29, were created by members of Continental’s Congress of Chefs, including: Michael Cordua of Americas of Houston; Paul Minnillo of the Baricelli Inn at Cleveland; Tim Keating of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla.; and James Canora of NYC Culinary Events in New York City.
“We’ve taken the best and most popular dishes from some of the world’s greatest chefs and blended their wonderful regional cuisines into our BusinessFirst menus, creating a fusion of international flavors,” said Continental’s Executive Chef Siegfried Lang. “As we introduce new menus for our premium class service, we still are the only major airline to continue to serve complimentary meals at meal-times in coach class.”
Six Months in Development
Continental’s award-winning BusinessFirst service, most recently ranked by Conde Nast Traveler readers as the number one U.S. carrier for Business Class, requires that menus and beverages be constantly reviewed and updated. After six months of development and taste-testing, Continental finalized four different lunch and dinner menus—each under the signature of a celebrity chef—to rotate monthly and vary by region.
A typical BusinessFirst menu on an international flight includes an appetizer, salad, choice of four entrees, cheese and fruit service and dessert.
Travelers can enjoy new main courses such as: veal osso bucco with saffron risotto accompanied by steamed broccolini and rapini; a lighter option of grilled Escolar fish with rosemary shrimp accented with a bouillabaisse sauce, artichoke barigoule and steamed sugar snap peas; and grilled Churrasco- style tenderloin steak, enhanced by a chimichurri sauce, roasted champignons, grilled bell pepper, steamed broccoli and a spicy corn and rice blend.
Continental will also introduce new hot canapes and soup demitasse appetizers, as well as an assortment of petite desserts for those seeking a lighter dessert option to Continental’s signature ice cream sundae.
Tailoring its product for specific routes, Continental’s dining experience includes regional touches in various markets. For example, a sushi appetizer and a complete Japanese meal are options on Tokyo flights, and an Indian- Vegetarian entree is one option offered on flights to Delhi.
Linens, Fine China, Flatware and Fine Wines
Continental’s BusinessFirst five-course gourmet meals are presented restaurant-style, complete with linen, fine china and flatware. Premier Champagnes, regional fine wines and beers are served, and barista-quality espresso and cappuccino are offered on all Boeing 767 and 777 flights. In addition, BusinessFirst customers on flights between the U.S. and Paris, London and Tokyo, take part in the annual global rollout of the famous wine Beaujolais Nouveau each November.
Culinary Experts: Continental’s Congress of Chefs
This elite dining experience is crafted with the aid of 18 chefs, known as Continental’s Congress of Chefs. These chefs periodically prepare dishes onboard flights as part of Continental’s Chef on Board program to become familiar with food service at 35,000 feet and to incorporate customer feedback into the development of new menus.
Celebrity Chef Paul Minnillo personally introduced his new signature menu to customers onboard Continental’s flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to Rome on Oct. 29.
So Much More than Gourmet Meals
Continental’s acclaimed BusinessFirst service offers more than fine restaurant-style meals. The premium-class cabin has extra-wide electronic sleeper seats with 55-inch/140-cm pitch, adjustable winged headrests and personal video screens. A high level of service is provided inflight with a superior 1:8 flight attendant-to-customer ratio. In addition, customers enjoy personalized pre-and post-flight service by a specially selected and trained corps of more than 200 concierges at 26 key airports worldwide.