Experience the flavors of famous chefs with American Airlines’ First Class cabin [classic article]

Though I travel all over the world and experience lots of different cuisines, I haven’t tasted all the gourmet chefs’ creations out there. That’s why, when I was being hosted to experience American Airlines’ First Class cabin, I was so excited to hear about their dining!

Celebrity Chef Richard Sandoval is a consultant for American Airlines’ First Class and Business travel throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. My journey took me from Baltimore to McAllen, Texas, through DFW. AA describes Chef Sandoval’s professional gastronomy as “modern Mexican, to coastal Mexican, to Latin-Asian, Chef Richard Sandoval’s diverse collection of restaurants explores the potential of Latin cuisine.” He’s earned numerous awards, including received numerous awards, including Bon Appetit‘s prestigious Restaurateur of the Year in 2006 and was named one of the Best Chefs of 2003 by New York Magazine. He has also been honored internationally as Mexican Chef of the Year.

People talk a lot about luxury airline travel in the past vs. today, but one of the traditions that I’m glad that American Airlines upholds is serving hot mixed nuts to their premium passengers. It makes for a more elegant Happy Hour than I’ve seen even at luxe hotels and what can I say? It’s swanky.

Ken Chase is their wine consultant . . . I like to think of him as a sommelier in the sky! He is a wine resource for the Young President’s Organization, Texas; Chairman of “Toast to Humanity”, a cause branding business dedicated to raising funds for charities worldwide; and the viticulture/oenological team leader for both the Andean wine project in Mendoza, Argentina and for Perugian “Super Umbrian” vineyard project. Chase has also studied aviation, so I’m sure he’s well aware of the flavor challenges present when flying at advanced altitudes. I know just the teeniest bit about wine — like the vast majority of consumers — so I’m always open to specially selected wines. A Malbec Roble had interesting character for sipping with my meal.

For a morning meal, I had the choice between muffin or biscuit, cereal or omelette. Now, I would describe the omelette as more of a quiche creation, but I really enjoyed it. It was rich and cheesy, served in a slice presentation. It was paired with oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted asparagus, polenta. Also on the tray were cubed fresh melons. Juice served in real glasses somehow tastes better!

An afternoon meal had a roast beef wrap with a generous portion of tender, not overly cooked beef, roasted red peppers, roasted yellow peppers and a touch of mayo. Celery, carrot and cucumber strips accompanied the wrap, with a little dill-sour cream dip on the side. The items were flavorful and easy to eat. The dip was thick enough not to be drippy, so important while flying. I appreciate when chefs think of such things!

At the end of the afternoon flight, they offered freshly baked chocolate chip cookies . . . but I have to keep things to a dull roar. It sure made the cabin smell great, though! Like real estate agents would tell them, I think they should be baking cookies the whole flight!

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