Michelin-star chef Heston Blumenthal has unveiled the Olympic and Paralympic Games inspired menus created by rising star Simon Hulstone, which cabin crew will serve to three million British Airways customers during the Games.
Simon spent the past year being mentored by Heston Blumenthal as part of the BA Great Britons programme, which supports British talent in the run up to the London 2012 Games.
With a nod to Heston’s creative approach, Simon’s dishes take inspiration from the airline’s menus dating back to 1948 – the last time the Games were held in London. Popular ingredients from the time have been incorporated into his menu, with some dishes reinvented for a modern day audience – rich in umami and using local produce. To complement the menu there is a specially commissioned on-board soundtrack which customers can listen to – featuring uplifting music and commentary from iconic British moments from previous Games.
British Airways mentor Heston Blumenthal, said: “Simon has created an exciting, delicious and well-balanced menu that pays homage to the Games in a clever and subtle way. The dishes celebrate our rich history and British talent at its best. As a mentor, chef and friend I’m very proud of what he has achieved.
Heston spent the past year mentoring the 37-year old from Torquay, as part of the BA Great Britons Programme, which offers a global platform for up and coming British talent in food, art and film in the run up to the Games.
Michelin-star chef Simon Hulstone, said: “It’s an honour to have created a menu that millions of people will experience during the Games – I can’t think of a better platform to showcase British cuisine.”
Simon has created four menus, which will be available on long-haul flights from London Heathrow from July in; First, Club, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins.
Working with Heston and his experimental team, Simon researched food in post war Britain, as well as the 1948 airline menus. As food was rationed at the time, ingredients that were indigenous and plentiful such as ox cheek and fish played an important part of people’s diet during these austerity years. Even athletes at the 1948 Games enjoyed a diet rich in fish, with the British Trawler Association donating 40,000lbs of seafood to them! It is no surprise that fish consumption was at a record high (250-300g per week) at this time.
Simon’s menu reflects these trends, and includes; ‘Rillette of mackerel dressed on a pickled cucumber carpaccio with sour dough croutes’ and ‘Fish pie using sustainable sourced hake, dressed with parmesan pomme puree and a warm tartare sauce’.
Certain cuts of beef were also used at the time, with dishes such as ‘Steak and mushroom casserole’ and ‘Braised beef chasseur with young carrots and chateau potatoes’ featuring in the airlines’ 1948 menus. Simon has reworked this chasseur dish for a new audience with umami rich ingredients, to become ‘Potted braised beef with a potato and horseradish topping, served with hispy cabbage, baby carrots and roasted shallots with a rich jus’.
When looking at desserts, tinned fruit was a common theme both on board flights and also as part of the regular diet. Simon has attempted to pay homage to this in some of his dishes including a Lemon curd cheesecake with raspberry and basil compote.
In honour of the Games, British Airways is putting particular emphasis on ingredients from London. This includes locally sourced salmon, and sugar from East London. In keeping with the drinks list from 1948, Gin from London is also available on-board.
Frank van der Post, British Airways managing director of brands and customer experience, said: “We are very proud to be quite literally bringing a taste of the London 2012 Games to our customers! We have a very proud heritage with our in-flight menus, which Simon and Heston have tapped into in a credible and exciting way.”
Over the past year, Simon has worked with Heston and the teams at British Airways to refine his menu. This took him on ‘taste testing’ trips to Los Angeles and New York, as his dishes were tested and tweaked to perfection. He will continue working with Heston over the coming months for a special menu for the British Olympic Association ‘Our Greatest Team Rises’ ball catering for athletes and dignitaries at the Royal Albert Hall on May 11, 2012.
As well as Simon, the other Great Britons include; Prasanna Puwanarajah, a screenwriter from London who has produced a short film starring Timothy Spall, with support from actor and director Richard E Grant – and Pascal Anson an artist-designer from Brighton who was mentored by Turner-prize nominated artist Tracey Emin to create ‘The Dove’ artwork for a number of celebratory aircraft.
To celebrate the launch of the Great Britons projects, the airline is launching an exclusive airline themed pop-up venue – ‘Flight BA2012’, celebrating the best in British talent in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tickets are available from March 20 at www.facebook.com/britishairways