The Mile-High Snub

“Celebrity chefs bring plane food to new heights” blared the business section headline in Saturday’s Miami Herald.

Charlie Trotter, Todd English, and our own Michelle Bernstein are highlighted in the article as pioneers of haute in-flight cuisine -- and also as harbingers of “the airline industry’s economic revival”. Indeed, the mainstream dailies, national news magazines, and network news broadcasts have all been trumpeting the marriage of star chefs and airline cuisine, giving the misleading impression that the next time we board a plane we’ll be slathering beluga caviar on freshly flipped blinis. But before you go getting any pie-in-the-sky visions of dining at Michy’s while jetting through the air, consider that the food will be cooked and frozen by cafeteria workers before getting reheated and garnished by air stewards.

In other words, the resultant meals will be to chef Bernstein’s cuisine what the cover show Beatlemania was to the Beatles. And if this tenuous connection thrills you nonetheless, keep in mind that these high-flying meals will be served only to those traveling business or first class on specific long hauls and international flights -- you know, the type that cost eight to ten thousand dollars. The overwhelming majority of airline passengers will be stuck with the same old crappy bag of Goldfish crackers.

So Michelle, while you’re rubbing elbows with the big boys at Delta, who are evidently in the midst of an economic boon, think you might say a few words on behalf of regular folks and at least try to get us peons back our peanuts? --Lee Klein

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