28 SEP 2017: It was the remark: “Can I have some of yours?” that had me. Normally the talk of airline food sends people running in the opposite direction. But Air Transat is continuing to take its inflight experience to new heights with a second season of the leisure airline’s new Chef’s Menu by renowned Quebec Chef Daniel Vezina.  

In May, passengers on board Club Class and those who pre-ordered meals in Economy Class, first encountered Air Transat’s foray into the fine dining concept with a gourmet-inspired menu from the acclaimed chef.

Vezina, a seasoned chef with 25 years under his belt (he’s the founder and Executive Chef of Groupe Laurie Raphael in Quebec City and Montreal) was in Toronto this week to showcase a first taste of his latest menu.

Select travel insiders from local media and industry partners to foodie journalists attended the exclusive lunch to sample some of the new seasonally-inspired gourmet meals. The new menu will be available on Transat flights starting on December 1. (Club Class, online preorders or through the call centre to passengers in Economy Class in limited quantity.) 

The new menu includes Cheese and Tomato Orzo Risotto, Braised Beef Bourguignon, Turkey with cranberry sauce and butternut squash risotto, Pulled Beef Shepherd’s Pie, and Salmon Fillet with Asian Noodles.

In between morsels the mood morphed into impromptu and unsuaul foodie chatter.  From, “Who’s ordered the Shepherd’s Pie? I wish I had some,” to, “I heard passengers fighting over the Duck Confit Lasagna,” a menu item which was on the first season menu.  It seemed like the culinary excitement could only be matched by the swooning fans of Prince Harry as his Invictus Games was competing down the street.

Dave Bourdages, vice-president of Inflight Service and Commissary at Air Transat relayed how the company embarked on this new unique dining experience idea about a year ago to create a unique experience.

“We felt there was no reason to have bad airline food anymore,” he said.

Bourdages likened Chef Daniel Vezina’s values in his family-run business to Air Transat being a family-focused airline, plus Vezina being a pioneer in Canada against food waste was, “Something dear to our heart.” 

“We try to minimize our footprint in the environment as much as we can. This is a common value we share with the Chef.”

When my Shepherd’s Pie sprinkled in green chives strewn over a baked blanket of mash was presented to me, I thought is it possible that the old perception of airline food could become a thing of the past?

Judging by our empty plates, Air Transat has scored a winning combination of inflight dining and quality service.

See more on Chef’s Menu by Daniel Vezina.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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