How many times, if ever, have you heard someone step off their flight and utter the words – ‘Wow – the food was just incredible!’ It just doesn’t happen, despite the conscious efforts made by various airlines to improve their menus. So who do we blame, the chef ?! Perhaps, the fussy clientèle? Well in reality, the real reason we do not enjoy our plane food is because our taste buds have almost gone numb.
Grant Mickels, the executive chef for culinary development of Lufthansa, (seen in video above), has said that ‘at 35,000 feet, the first thing that goes is your sense of taste.’ Research carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute, revealed a method of testing different meals within different levels of pressured environments. The tests proved that high pressured environments can make you lose around 30 per cent, if not more, of taste bud sensitivity. Mickels adds that the atmosphere passengers deal with whilst in a cabin can make ‘your taste buds go numb, almost as if you had a cold.’
Grant Mickels, and the chefs at Lufthansa are currently attempting to over come this taste bud dilemma. Their secret, they say, is umami which can be found in foods such as tomatoes. By using the right combination of flavours, Mickels believes his team will be able to create an in-flight menu that people will continue to talk about.