East Meadow, NY – August 7, 2009 -- For the first time this September and October, Lufthansa will offer its premium-class passengers a selection of dishes inspired by an iconic regional American cuisine. Acclaimed Southern Louisiana culinary master John Besh, the newest member of the airline’s award-winning Star Chefs program, will create a menu featuring Creole- and Cajun-inspired dishes for First and Business Class passengers departing from Germany to Lufthansa’s 83 intercontinental destinations.
Chef Besh’s full First Class menu will include an amuse of Creole tuna with soy sauce and citrus fruit salad; a selection of starters such as Louisiana crawfish in gelee with lemon and tomato vinaigrette; and an assortment of entrées, including grilled beef tenderloin served with the chef’s signature steak sauce and macque choux, and Cajun vegetable ragout. Dessert includes a streusel pear tear tart or passion fruit and grapefruit jelly, marshmallows and pecan with lime leaf sorbet.
First Class passengers may opt for the shorter express menu, featuring lighter choices such as crabmeat salad with marinated beetroot, king prawns with Creole remoulade, or heart of palm and goat’s cheese with grapefruit, followed by a cheese plate and fresh fruit.
Business Class passengers may choose one of several starters, including terrine of braised beef with beans, tomatoes and red onion chutney. Guests bound for the U.S. may sample Chef Besh’s short ribs with mushrooms and macaroni and cheese or select one of two other appetizers that also will be offered to passengers travelling to other destinations worldwide. Main course selections include breast of chicken with tomato and bell pepper sauce served with corn bread puree, followed by a cheese plate and blueberry crumble with stewed fruit or fruit salad for dessert. A lighter Business Class menu of hot and cold dining choices will also be available. Depending on the itinerary, the selection of entrées may include smoked trout with potato salad and Black Forest ham with pickled vegetables or pumpkin-filled ravioli with mushroom ragout and chestnut, followed by a dessert of bourbon pecan pie.
Chef Besh is no stranger to preparing fine food for consumption at 30,000 feet, where cabin pressure, altitude and the need to reheat warm dishes create a unique set of culinary requirements. He was one of four remaining contenders to compete in the fifth challenge of The Food Network’s 2007 reality show, Next Iron Chef. The rigorous two-day test involved cooking and chilling the ultimate First Class meal in the Munich kitchens of Lufthansa’s catering arm, LSG Sky Chefs. Meals were then reheated and plated in the galley aboard an actual Airbus A340-600 before being served to a panel of judges.
“The Lufthansa challenge was certainly one of the most arduous of the Next Iron Chef competition as it required an approach to menu creation and execution that even the most seasoned culinary experts have not experienced,“ explained Chef Besh. “I was intrigued by the subtle changes that make or break an in-flight meal and jumped at the chance to partner with Lufthansa to create a full menu for the airline’s global passengers.”
Renowned for combining classical European culinary techniques – honed during a demanding apprenticeship under German chef Karl Josef Fuchs – with the rich traditions and ingredients of his native Southern Louisiana, Chef Besh has earned numerous industry accolades. The proprietor of award-winning Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Lüke, and La Provence, all in New Orleans, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him Restaurateur of the Year in 2008. He earned the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast for 2006 and was recognized as one of Food & Wine’s Top 10 Best Chefs in America in 1999.
Chef Besh is as passionate about his home town as he is about its world-famous cuisine, and has been heavily involved in post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts. His new tome, My New Orleans: The Cookbook (Andrews McMeel Publishing), which will be released in October 2009, contains essays as well as recipes that map out the unique culinary history of the Crescent City by dish and season. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Café Reconcile, a New Orleans-based non-profit organization that provides at-risk youth the opportunity to learn life and interpersonal skills coupled with workforce training for the hospitality and restaurant industries.