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Catering Specialist Offers Taster Into Singapore Airlines’ In-Flight Cuisine

Marie Klianis, who has worked for the carrier for nearly 30 years, offers an insight into the logistics and planning that go into the airline’s meals.

Even in the first class cabin, plane food is still, well, plane food. But whether you love or loathe them, the meals that make their way onto table trays across the globe are still rigorously tried and tested before being consumed at cruising altitude.

For Marie Klianis, a senior customer services officer at Singapore Airlines, good taste is a matter of pride. Klianis has been with the carrier for nearly three decades, first working in reservations and customer service before specializing in on-board catering.

Speaking to Australia’s Courier Mail, she explained what she and colleagues look for when testing the airline’s in-flight meals. “It must look appetizing and be to our specifications — this means the correct portion sizes and that the protein is the correct weight,” she said.

“I can tell immediately if a dish is over- or underweight, or if the taste profile is off. If it’s a Thai or Indian dish, it has to be authentic,” Klianis explained.

Conducting spot checks of food, checking the wine menu, auditing catering equipment and liaising with cleaners are all part of Klianis’ job spec.

In a usual week, Klianis reveals, she samples three meals in addition to Singapore’s normal food audit. This, she explains, is the carrier’s “weekly quality check of randomly selected dishes at our caterer Gate Gourmet.”

Klianis also offered a surprising insight into the quality of the meals across the carrier’s cabin classes. “For Singapore Airlines, some of the best meals I have had are from economy class; the massaman curry in particular,” she said.

But Klianis takes pride in her work and those who bring their food on-board are her personal bugbear. “We go to great lengths to develop high-quality dishes using some of the most premium ingredients we can source for our on-board menus. So I always find it amusing and a little disappointing when I see customers (who are traveling in business and first class) deciding to bring a bag of fast food on the flight with them — thankfully it doesn’t happen too often,” she said.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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