Airline Food

American Airlines partners with James Beard for upper crust meals

American Airlines partners with James Beard for upper crust meals

spinach ricotta rotolo pasta
Mmm, spinach ricotta rotolo pasta. Photo courtesy of AA

Fort Worth-based American Airlines has forged a partnership with the James Beard Foundation to add chef-designed items for its most rarefied levels of travel.

The new items will be served on Flagship First and Flagship Business flights from the United States to Europe and South America, and just a few transcontinental flights: between JFK International Airport and either Los Angeles or San Francisco.

They'll also be available in Flagship Lounges, AA's premium lounge located at five U.S. airports in Dallas, Chicago, L.A., Miami, and JFK/New York.

Travelers booking those flights can pre-order on starting 30 days before or up to 24 hours before departure.

The dishes include an appetizer, pasta entrée, and dessert in Flagship First Dining; a salad in the Flagship Lounge; and a pasta entrée onboard.

A release says that the menus will be designed by James Beard Foundation's "portfolio of established and up-and-coming chefs." IE, chefs who've won James Beard awards.

The benefit for American customers is that they'll enjoy what the release calls a world-class culinary experience, while introducing the Beard's roster, says Janelle Anderson, AA's VP of marketing.

"A premier culinary partner like the James Beard Foundation provides unique and delicious offerings for our customers," Anderson says. "We're honored to work with their roster of award-winning chefs who embody diversity, modernism and sustainable practices in the culinary world today."

The first chef at bat is Sarah Grueneberg, a Top Chef alum who works at Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio.

Dishes at Flagship First Dining include:

  • Grilled Roman-style Artichokes: black truffle, fontina fonduta, fresh lemon
  • Mushroom Bolognese: fusilli pasta, cremini and porcini mushrooms, peas, carrots, Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Dark Chocolate Budino: candied citrus, mandarin olive oil, feuilletine chocolate crunch, fresh whipped cream

Dishes at the Flagship Lounge include:

  • Tuscan Kale Salad: beets, apples, goat cheese, spiced sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seed medley, tahini dressing
  • Flagship First and Flagship Business from US to Europe, US to South America and transcontinental flights between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles or San Francisco.
  • Artichoke Ravioli: blistered cherry tomato sauce, green olive pistachio pesto
  • Spinach and Ricotta Rotolo Pasta: pomodoro sauce, basil pesto, pine nuts

The partnership doesn't stop at these dishes. American will also be involved in the Foundation's programs, including Taste America, a culinary pop-up series featuring unforgettable dining experiences in 20 cities across the country; the James Beard Awards annual gala in Chicago; and events at the James Beard House in New York City.

James Beard was beset by a financial scandal in 2004 when its then-president was imprisoned after having stolen more than $1 million, and its scholarship donations were found to be a fraction of the millions of dollars it took in.

The foundation holds hundreds of dinners and lunches at its headquarters at James Beard House in Greenwich Village, most of which rely on chefs donating their time and money.

The foundation also hands out awards to chefs around the country; ethical standards of behavior were added to the voting process in 2018.