Koshary in first class; a new look at airplane food
By Liam Stack First Published: November 5, 2006
Lufthansa unveils new gourmet Arab-European fusion menu
Lufthansa Airlines unveiled a new Middle East-themed menu at a lavish event Thursday night at the Marriott Zamalek. The buzzwords for the evening were “New Arabian Cuisine.” The menu will be served to all first class and business class passengers traveling between Europe and the Arab world.
The event was attended by business executives and journalists from the Egyptian press, who were served a broad sampling of dishes from the new menu. An army of waiters and chefs in tall white hats served the guests, passing out small fusion dishes in between promotional videos of the same chefs comically frolicking atop sand dunes.
“This novel style of cuisine provides an outstanding opportunity for those lovers of fine food who may be a little hesitant about unfamiliar flavors to acquire a taste for Arabian cuisine,” said Ingo Maass, the head German chef on the project, in remarks to the press.
True to their word, the menu does combine typical Arab dishes with a bit of Western cocktail party flare. While some might be wary of such combinations, the results are delicious. Shrimp cocktail piled atop bite-sized ta’ameya, hummus with grilled sea bass, taboulah with pineapple and lentil chutney, and gourmet koshary served with roast salmon were among the evening’s highlights.
According to Lufthansa, its menu is making a valuable contribution to East-West dialogue by “providing a healthy model for cultural dialogue on a fresh culinary front.” However, parts of the evening left a clash-of-civilizations taste in one’s mouth.
“Arabs, in general, are very tradition conscious,” Lutz Jakel informed the ballroom full of Egyptian journalists, referring to his audience in the third person. “They do not pay a great deal of attention to cooking, and always prepare food according to tradition. In Arabian cuisine, innovation is something to be regarded with the greatest suspicion.”
Jakel is co-author of the cookbook from which the menu is drawn. Maass, and his co-chef Amgad Zaki, are also credited as authors of the cookbook. The evening closed with the chefs autographing copies of their cookbook, which can be purchased for just LE 350, slightly less than one month’s salary for the average Egyptian.