Green food takes flight with Cathay
CELEBRITY chef Daniel Green has been talking about eliminating saturated fat from diets and living by the bible of clean eating for the past 20 years.
Having lost a tremendous amount of weight as a teenager through a low-fat diet, the self-taught, British-born chef has gone on to international success as a healthy food proponent, writing books on the subject and judging on shows like the Food Network's Kitchen Inferno.
Now, even airlines are getting on board.
Green recently collaborated with Cathay Pacific to introduce a library of over 60 clean-eating meals on the airline's first and business class flights from Hong Kong to North America and back, which began on Aug 1.
The move capitalises on what Green posits is a gap in the market for clean eating.
"I think there is a massive gap and potential for healthy eating in more places.
"When people go on flights, they eat unhealthy food because they don't have a choice. I wanted to give them choices," he said during an interview at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya.
Green's culinary oeuvre for Cathay Pacific includes a seared Ahi tuna with a Japanese dressing, a mango and crab salad and a Thai vegetarian curry.
"So the concept of Cathay Pacific's new menu is clean cuisine... if I could stick to no cream, no butter, no cheese, no deep-frying, whatever comes out of the kitchen won't be high in fat," he said.
He was given a lot of decision-making power in terms of the produce selection for the menu, which includes luxury items like Alaskan crab and smoked salmon from Scotland.
The celebrity chef, whose good looks earned him the nickname The Model Cook, spent a year developing and writing the recipes, working closely with Cathay Pacific chefs, doing multiple tasting sessions and testing the food in the airline kitchen in Hong Kong.
Green said one of the challenges of creating an airline menu is getting meals to attain the texture he wanted.
"Food can dry out on an airplane so meats like chicken can be very dry, so I was very thoughtful about how the texture would hold up," he said.
He found inventive ways to add juiciness to his meals, by incorporating natural stocks so that meat and pasta wouldn't dry out, and steering clear of oils, which he said airlines traditionally use to add moisture to in-flight meals.
His year-long collaboration with the airline ensures his clean meals will continue well into 2017, and might potentially creep into economy class meals.
Green said eating healthy in-flight is important, especially on long-haul flights.
"In 16 hours, I can walk miles around Hong Kong, but if you're on a 16-hour flight, there's not much you can do, so you won't want stodgy food," he added.
ASIA NEWS NETWORK