Michelle Bernstein in one of the more than 70 Delta kitchens worldwide. Photo courtesy of Delta.
Plane passengers actually lose 30 percent of their palate at 30,000 feet, so it's no wonder airline food has always gotten a bad rap for being bland. This culinary stigma is changing though thanks to Delta Air Lines, which has brought together James Beard award-winning foodies to serve bold flavors on its BusinessElite flights. Napa-based Food Network star Michael Chiarello just signed on to prepare quarterly seasonal menus for the JFK to LAX and SFO routes; Miami-based chef Michelle Bernstein handles the international BusinessElite flights (such as New York to London or Rome); and master sommelier Andrea Robinson, one of 17 female master sommeliers in the United States, tastes 900 wines on the ground annually and brings her top contenders into the air to make sure the vino taste as good at altitude as it does on the ground. (The sommelier's job is not to be undervalued: Delta serves a staggering 1.5 million bottles of wine in-flight per year. That's in comparison to the 120 million peanuts, 60 million pretzels and 3 million BusinessElite meals served annually.) To top it off, Delta just debuted a modern set of plates, linens and glassware. The effect? An airline meal worth writing home about.
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