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QANTAS: promises catering will be bigger & better on international and domestic flights and lounges

QANTAS: promises catering will be bigger & better on international and domestic flights and lounges

If you have been thinking that Qantas has been skimping on the quality and portion size of its food onboard and in lounges, looks like you were correct. Well at least that is the corollary of the Qantas media release today that promises ‘the biggest investment in Qantas inflight and lounge ding in a decade’.

Higher quality ingredients from premium Australian producers‘ are also being promised, which kind of confirms that they have been feeding us crap.

a bottle of wine and a box of food
A Qantas Domestic Economy ‘Hot Lunch Box’ meal in 2022 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

What’s new

After a lashing on social media, in October 2022, Qantas introduced more options to cater for people with different dietary requirements including vegetarian.

Looks like Qantas is finally reacting to the harsh words used around that time to describe their catering, some even calling for the sacking of the Qantas Creative Director of Food, Beverage and Service, Neil Perry. Well, after 25 years, he is still at the helm, promising:

“We are spoilt for choice in Australia when it comes to being able to source top quality food from fantastic Australian producers, and together with generous servings and great service, these are the key ingredients to creating an enjoyable meal.”

Neil Perry, Qantas Creative Director of Food, Beverage and Service
a plate of food on a table
New Dish: Qantas International Business – Seared Snapper with black bean sauce seasonal-greens & salted chilli [Qantas]

A lot of meals

Apparently, each regular menu change requires Neil Perry and his team to create nearly 250 new dishes across the domestic and international network.

Domestic meals have already seen the beginning of the change and international meals are being rolled out from 29 March, featuring Autumnal ingredients including a rollout of plant-based options in all cabins.

a plate of food on a table
New Dish: Qantas International Business Korean fried chicken with pickled radish [Qantas]

Food on Flights

Here is what you can expect across the various cabins:

  • International First
    Calvisius Caviar on Buckwheat Blinis with Pepe Saya Crème Fraiche, Queensland Spanner Crab and Sweet Pork Salad with Green Mango, Cashews and Nam Jim Dressing, Crumbed Margra Lamb Cutlets with Lemon Myrtle Celeriac Puree, Seared Glacier 51 Toothfish with Saffron Sauce, Steamed Potatoes and Braised Fennel, and Riverine Beef fillet with Green Beans and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes.
  • International Business
    Seared Grasslands Beef Fillet with Café de Paris Butter, Bannockburn Free-range chicken Kyiv and Seared Snapper with Black Bean Sauce, Seasonal Greens and Salted Chilli. Second meal on Asian runs: Crumbed Snapper Roll with Pickled Cabbage and Tartare sauce, and Stir-fried Noodles with Wombok, Cucumber, Sesame and Chilli Oil.
  • International Premium Economy
    Salmon with Tomato Fennel Sauce, Red Quinoa and Brown Rice, and Braised Lamb Shank with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce and Potato Puree and a starter salad, plus an ice-cream service on all flights.
  • International Economy
    Cajun Prawns with Spiced Rice, Korean Chilli and Garlic Chicken with Kimchi and Black Pepper Beef with Oyster Mushrooms. Second meal on Asian runs: Chicken Fried Rice, and Sage and Lemon ravioli with Kale and Napolitana sauce.
  • Domestic Economy
    Continuing menu introduced in October 2022 including vegetarian options.
  • Domestic Business
    Ploughman’s and Cheese plates, Free-range Chicken and Pistachio Terrine, Charcuterie and accompaniments, Chicken and Corn soup with Dill, and Green Pea soup with Mint. Starter salads in Business on long flights, Grilled Prawns with Asian slaw and Edamame and Tasmanian Smoked Salmon with Kale and Sweet Potato salad, snacks from Koko Black, Brookfarm and Carman’s. Finally the return of pre-takeoff water and juice on long domestic flights.
a glass of chocolate pudding with a spoon
New Dish: Qantas International First – Dark chocolate cream with hazelnut cake caramel pear & chocolate pearls [Qantas]

Food in Lounges

  • International First Lounges
    Plate-of-the-day including Steamed Blue Eye with Pickled Daikon, Sesame and Shiso Vinaigrette, and Eight-hour Beef Brisket with Potato Puree, Tarragon and Shallot Butter, Chocolate Ganache cake
  • International Business Lounges
    Fresh Ricotta and Crisp Pancetta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Sourdough and Beef, Bacon and Dark Ale Pies and Ice cream, Chocolate Ganache cake
  • Qantas Clubs
    Ice cream – sorry, you are just not a priority for innovation!
a plate of food with a lemon and zucchini
New Dish: Qantas International First – Seared Toothfish with zucchini ribbon, lemon and extra virgin olive oil [Qantas]

2PAXfly Takeout

You can all rest easy because they are not fiddling with, but retaining favourites such as the Steak Sandwich in Qantas First lounges, of which they serve 30,000 per year worldwide. That’s a lot of chilli relish! Also being retained are the Salt and Pepper squid, and deconstructed Pavlova.

a plate of fried food
The famous Qantas First Lounge salt and pepper squid [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

I have always held it is Qantas’ service, particularly in premium cabins on international flights that set them apart, along with their usual great selection of wines. It’s the food offering that lets them down – except for a golden period at the start of the pandemic where both food and service in the lounges were exceptional.

Let’s face it, I am not the only one frequenting the lounges where if I see one more Accor catering Spag Bolg or chicken something with a red sauce and rice, or I have to make another do-it-yourself toastie, I will throw up.

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