Air Canada plans bespoke ‘Book The Cook’ meals in business class

More choice is on the menu for Air Canada’s international business class passengers.

By David Flynn, June 5 2023
Air Canada plans bespoke ‘Book The Cook’ meals in business class
Executive Traveller exclusive

Air Canada will borrow a leaf from the cookbook of Star Alliance partner Singapore Airlines and roll out a ‘Book The Cook’-style menu on international business class flights.

The Canadian flag-carrier already lets business class and premium economy travellers on some routes select their meal in advance, but that choice is limited to the same menu already offered on board.

However, plans are underway to dramatically expand the selection of business class dishes which can be ordered in the days leading up to the flight.

“If you take Toronto, on any given day we’ll cook 14 or 16 different Signature Class dishes” for different international routes says Mark Nasr, Air Canada’s Executive Vice President Marketing and Digital.

“Some go to Europe, some go to Asia... so there’s an opportunity there to reflect the diversity of cuisines,” Nasr tells Executive Traveller. “Why should you only be able to order a curry on flights to India?”

“As we’re doing new menu designs we now have Korean, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and Latin flavours, plus classic dishes that have made their way onto our North American menus... so we want to fully reflect all the culinary talent that exists in Canada, which we hope to take advantage of as time goes on.”

Nasr didn’t put a timeline on when the new menus would make their delicious debut, but stressed the complexity of rolling this out across the board.

“We operate three hubs” in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, “each with large catering stations, so it’s a little bit more of a complex operation than a single-hub airline, and we’ve got to make sure we get it right.”

For now, the immediate focus is on giving more passengers the ability to order off the standard menu in advance of their flight, both to ensure they can get their first choice of meals and also optimise there loading of meals to reduce wastage.

“We already have the service available from of our international gateways in Canada to about a dozen routes – we’ve been admittedly cautious and conservative in our rollout – and we’re just going to keep rolling it out.”

“It will take us about 18 months to fully ramp that up. The most important thing is having the full operational support so that our caterers are prepared, the right meals are loaded on board our aircraft, and our in-flight service coworkers can deliver.”

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