Haven’t you ever been curious of how aircraft food is cooked? Let’s find it out while following a regular tomato from the time it gets inside a five-storied mechanized canteen cooking for flights taking off at the Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport till its death from the chef’s knife.
This “factory of on-board meals” is an unusual and unique place – it’s hard to imagine a kitchen where various culinary traditions from all over the world are mixed together.
Food is one of the key elements of an easy trip if you’re going on a long flight. But in a case when a flight is short a normal meal becomes a kind of amusement for a passenger.
Domodedovo mechanized canteen works with over 150 suppliers. All of them are certified and checked carefully. And this is a strict rule – one of the aircraft security specifics. All these suppliers deliver their products through a special gate.
All fruit and vegetables are thoroughly cleaned in a three-level bath. That’s so called cascade washing. After they are cleaned fruit and vegetables are dried, packed in special perforated container, marked and sent to the kitchen.
There in a huge culinary kingdom hundreds of hot dishes are boiled and stewed simultaneously, dainty salads and snacks are cut and served, thousands of aromatic buns and cakes are baked.
Girls are preparing frozen dishes. Yellow rolls are not bananas, they are frozen pieces of potato mash.
Each staff member has a book with photos of ready dishes on their tables. This is so called specification. Here is all information on the future dish as a passenger should get it. Everything is done strictly according to the instructions.
Staff works in sterilized working clothes and special disposable gloves. Mass food production working not only for Russians but for foreign customers should be certified not only for Russian but for international standards. The safety management system here is almost the same as for cooking for space flights.
This bright and motley kaleidoscope of food which seems to be a total mess is indeed thoroughly balanced and well though-out. A big team of specialists involving economists, nutritionists, technologists and cooks worked hard to organize this process.
Here is the separate room specially for aircraft carts. Every airline has its own kind of them. Here carts are washed in a special machine, sterilized and dried.
This mega-kitchen is equipped with modern professional facilities which allow using unique technologies in the process of cooking. For example hot dishes are cooked with “cook and chill” technology which means that they are shock-frozen immediately after being boiled or stewed.
Finalizing tomato’s trip the chef took it back and shredded it for a sample of salad for business menu. This poor vegetable has traveled along all the stages of airport cooking and for this reason it will never be eaten by a passenger because it won’t pass sanitary control.
This is the way of stuffed carts to the plane.