Emirates serves 100 million meals a year with the same focus on details in all cabins – First, Business and Economy Class. Each year, food is served to more than 55 million passengers on flights to and from 144 cities across six continents.
With an investment of $1 billion a year into its catering, Emirates operates a 24-hour kitchen with 1,200 chefs based in Dubai whipping up 12,450 recipes. The finely-tuned operation delivers authentic local cuisine to 590 departures a day to give customers a taste of the destination they travel to.
Emirates’ focus on local flavours makes them one of the few airlines that has food available from every region it flies to. On routes to Japan, for example, authentic Kaiseki cuisine and Bento boxes are served with Japanese crockery, cutlery and tea sets.
After a 14-month long process of consultations with local chefs, the airline recently launched a new menu on its Australian routes inspired by the breadth of the country’s multicultural cuisine. The new menu consists of a variety of traditional local favourites such as minted lamb sausages. To reflect multicultural Australia, the menu also includes Asian flavours as well as dishes and ingredients from the Middle East. This to accommodate Emirates comprehensive passenger mix and represent their global route network.
To keep up with regional and seasonal food trends, Emirates changes its onboard menus monthly and continually reviews its recipes.
The varied menus on each route are also reflected in the bread baskets served on board. Flavoured breads or breads produced with a sourdough base are popular on European routes, while parathas, pooris, and naan bread are served on all nine Emirates routes to India.
On its Middle Eastern routes, customers get to enjoy Arabic bread – Markook – a very thin unleavened bread common in the region, and Manakesh which is either topped with Zaatar or Cheese.
In premium classes, meals are served on Royal Doulton tableware with Robert Welch cutlery specially designed for Emirates.
Emirates says that it focuses on simple, well-cooked dishes that emphasise fresh ingredients of the highest quality. The airline brings the products on board through long-standing partnerships worldwide, supporting local suppliers and artisans. This includes sourcing over 15,000 kilograms of Persian feta from the Yarra Valley in Australia each year. The olive oil served on board is exclusively from carbon neutral producer Monte Vibiano in Italy, a partnership that is now more than 15 years old.
Like any star-rated restaurant, Emirates also pays special attention to its wine lists, boasting world-class champagne and wines. The wines on each route are carefully selected to complement the menu and include exclusives found only on Emirates such as the Dom Pérignon 2005 Rosé champagne and 1963 Graham’s Colheita Port. A long-term buying strategy also means that the airline has 3.8 million bottles of wines currently stored in its cellar in Burgundy, France to be served in the next seven to 10 years.
Coffee and tea are the two most widely consumed beverages on board. Emirates has been serving Dilmah tea across all its cabins for the last 25 years. Over 9.6 million tea bags are used each year with more than 10 tea varieties on offer, including an exclusive blend created for the airline served in First Class called the Emirates Signature Tea. Illy and Nespresso coffee can be found in premium cabins, where espressos and cappuccinos are the most popular requests.
Emirates also offers child-friendly meals for its youngest customers and dedicated menus for medical or religious meal requirements which are designed with a team of nutritionists and chefs.
Additionally, the airline develops seasonal menus where possible, such as a Christmas menu in December and specially created boxes for those fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
In 2016, Emirates’ customers consumed:
– 3 million eggs
– 70 tonnes of strawberries
– 58 million baked bread rolls
– 110,000kg of hummus
– 165 tonnes of salmon fillet
– 27 tonnes of fresh broccoli