“What’s the deal with airplane food?” When Jerry Seinfeld first made this joke, he probably never imagined that a possible answer to this question could be a Michelin-star-winning chef. Now, thanks to Israel’s El Al airlines, that is very much the case.
Recently, El Al announced that Assaf Granit, the restaurateur behind 13 renowned restaurants around the world, including Jerusalem’s Machneyuda and Michelin-starred Shabour in Paris, has reinvented their in-flight food service. Granit is known for creating a style of Israeli dining that’s colorful, fresh and lively — and could prove to be the perfect antidote to a long, tedious flight. (Though his meals have already made their way onto El Al’s flights to and from Europe, Granit’s menus will be on trips to the United States, South Africa and the Eastern Hemisphere starting on September 27th.)
“Growing up in the Ein Karem neighborhood of Jerusalem, I felt this uniquely Israeli tribute to our different cultures, in the connection between my grandma Leah’s Eastern European horseradish and my Moroccan neighbor Jacqueline’s perfect couscous. Israeli cuisine is all about connecting these different cultures and has long been my culinary inspiration,” Granit wrote in a statement.
He went on, “The food I bring you today is the product of our shared journey, whether it’s Persian Kohresh-e Ghormeh Sabzi stew, Moroccan Chraime fish, or a touch of za’atar in the chocolate mousse in your dessert.”
In Economy class on European flights, passengers can expect either a chicken breast sandwich seasoned with harissa, chimichurri, za’atar and pickled lemon or a brisket sandwich topped with fried onions, chipotle and garlic aioli for meat offerings. Meanwhile, dairy offerings include a gouda and sweet potato sandwich with garlic aioli or a vegan labneh sandwich with beets and “not so spicy” zhug. The economy menu on flights to and from the United States, South Africa and the Eastern Hemisphere has not yet been announced, but we’re manifesting a schnitzel sandwich with “very spicy” zhug.
In Business and Premium classes, passengers can chow down on an entree of either textured mushrooms in ragu (the same recipe Chef Granit uses in his famous polenta) or a kale salad with fresh fruit and vegetables. For main course, there’s Musakhan roasted chicken with fried onion and sumac served in laffa flatbread, the aforementioned Persian kohresh-e ghormeh sabzi (a herbaceous, sour stew with kidney beans and fork-tender beef) or Moroccan chraime (fish in a spicy tomato sauce). Dessert is a choice of basbousa (a sweet semolina cake) or the chocolate mousse with za’atar crumble.
Yum! Hold the airplane peanuts, we’ll be booking a flight to Tel Aviv, stat.