Given that he has worked as a consultant for Singapore Airlines, and lent his name to a restaurant at Heathrow called Plane Food, one could be forgiven for assuming Gordon Ramsay has developed a tolerance for in-flight dining.
Not so. "There's no f------ way I eat on planes," he told Refinery29 last week in typically forthright manner. "I worked for airlines for 10 years, so I know where this food's been and where it goes, and how long it took before it got on board."
Clearly he doesn't believe the large sums of money dished out by airlines to celebrity chefs in recent years has made their food any more palatable. Heston Blumenthal (BA), Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse (both Air France) are among the other kitchen luminaries to have offered their wisdom.
Richard Branson on when airline food goes wrong
Sir Richard Branson's assessment at an attempt to 'plate up' a Virgin Australia business class meal by our journalist? "That looks like someone just threw up."
And we wonder whether he was so brutally honest while still on the Singapore Airlines payroll (their relationship ended several years ago).
So what does he eat instead? If he's flying from Terminal 5, he'll pay a visit to his own restaurant, of course. Otherwise he'll track down an airport deli. "A nice selection of Italian meats, a little glass of red wine, some sliced apples or pears with some parmesan cheese, I'm like a pig in s---," he said.
Why is plane food so bad?
Perhaps the biggest issue – and the one which Blumenthal spent much of his time trying to overcome – is scientific.
At high altitudes our taste buds simply don't work properly. The low humidity dries out our nasal passages, and the air pressure desensitises our taste buds, which is why airlines often opt for salty stews or spicy curries.
Airlines planning a new menu will often taste food and wine on board a flight before clearing it for public consumption, because of the variation in taste.
Some airlines install sealed rooms in their kitchens room to replicate the experience of eating in the sky.The other major problem is logistics and costs - for a full explanation of these issues, see our detailed guide to the pitfalls of plane food.
The worst in-flight meal of all time?
A hilarious email sent by Oliver Beale, an advertising executive, to Virgin Atlantic, perhaps best illustrates how airline meals tend to disappoint.
He described – with accompanying stomach-churning images – a "culinary journey of hell" involving "yellow shafts of sponge", "dessert with a tomato", "sour gel with a clear oil on top", a "cuboid of beige matter", "more mustard than any man could consume in a month" and a cookie that was like "biting into a piece of brass".
The letter even got the attention of Richard Branson, who saw the funny side.
The Telegraph, London
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