Not many chefs have faced the challenge of serving food for 100,000 customers a day at 35,000ft, so when famously innovative chef Heston Blumenthal asked us if he could try it, we jumped at the opportunity.
The experiment is part of Heston's new Channel 4 series, 'Heston's Mission Impossible' where he pushes the boundaries of food development across a number of great British institutions.
In the one-hour programme with British Airways which aired on Channel 4 on Tuesday March 8, Blumenthal tackled the very specific issue of what happens to food and the ability to taste at altitude, combined with the confines of an aircraft's galley area.
In the behind-the-scenes programme, Heston worked with two of our senior cabin crew members Jackie Simister and Simon Curley, as well as Steve Walpole, one of our development chefs at Gate Gourmet to develop a meal that tastes as good in the air as it does on the ground.
Mark Hassell, head of customer experience and a tasting panel judge on the show, said: "There is a real science to food at altitude and with his innovative and creative approach, Heston's work has been really interesting to us. We have very high standards when it comes to our food and Heston has not only been asked to impress British Airways, but more importantly our customers."
The teams at British Airways are now working with the research results from Heston, which will inform plans for our future menus. Our chefs at Gate Gourmet have already started experimenting with umami-rich ingredients, so watch this space.
There will be another chance to catch the programme if you missed it. British Airways will be screening the programme on board its aircraft in June to coincide with its sponsorship of Taste of London.
British Airways' senior cabin crew member Jackie Simister was involved in the filming of the programme, here she talks about the experience: