As part of the Inflight Food Trip documentary I’ve been working on, Swiss invited me to participate in a first-class flight attendant training session in Zurich. All I had to do was sit in a cabin mock-up and enjoy a six-course first-class tasting experience. I’ve flown first class only once, and that was with Singapore Airlines, and Swiss are known to have a fantastic gastronomy experience in first.
The training session was held at the Swiss Aviation Academy located near Zurich airport. The trainees are existing cabin crew who applied to work in the airline’s first-class cabin, the training covered many subjects around the inflight service.
The menu that I sampled was created in co-operation with Sven Wassmer from Restaurant Silver from the canton of Grisons in Switzerland.
Firstly, the cabin crew asked what I would like to eat for the starter, there was so much choice that I asked her to surprise me with a tasting plate of her favourite items. She plated up the following starter for me including, Balik salmon, crabmeat with ponzu sauce, black garlic purée, seaweed salad with sesame. A selection of meat specialities from the canton of Grisons Carnaminz, Surselva dried meat, venison Salsiz, Mostbröckli and a potato and spinach terrine with Grisons nut pie crumble. Simply delicious.
Then it was time for the second course. A fresh seasonal salad served with pumpkin and porcini mushrooms. It was a bright, sharp-tasting salad with just the right amount of dressing.
What a large soup plate. The chestnut and apple soup with savoy cabbage, pumpkin sour cream and smoked quail breast was creamy and full of flavour, I enjoyed it so much.
I was starting to feel a little full already, and it was now time for the main meal. In Swiss first-class, there are four meal choices; during this experience, they were:
Beef tenderloin with jus Capuns and carrot purée with chilli.
Braised veal cheek with truffle sauce Smoked potatoes, kale purée, caramelised onion.
Marinated cod Pearl barley risotto, fresh herb salad.
Mushroom stroganoff, Baked rösti, peppers, paprika, parsley.
Undecided, I asked the crew member for her recommendation, and she advised that I must try the beef tenderloin, I trusted her entirely as her food and menu knowledge was excellent. It was a pleasant experience to allow her to guide me through the Swiss first clas gastronomy experience.
The meal was plated beautifully and looked very appealing, something akin to an exceptional dining experience at an upscale restaurant. The beef was delicious, and the red wine jus paired perfectly with the meat.
Capuns (the green item next to the carrot purée) is a type of dumpling and come from the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland and made from Spätzle dough (a kind of pasta). They then add pieces of dried meat, and it’s rolled in a chard leaf. Finally, it’s boiled in gravy and covered in grated cheese. All in all, this dish was mouthwatering and just incredible.
Next up was a delicious plate cheese from the canton of Grisons. My favourite part of the dish was the very spicy sauce similar to Wasabi served alongside the cheese.
Finally, it was time for dessert, and I settled on the Apple brioche bread and butter pudding with caramel Calvados custard, macadamia nut ice cream. It was heavenly, the brioche bread was light and fluffy, and the custard and ice cream made it very moreish, it wasn’t hard to finish this dessert.
I enjoyed my faux first-class experience on the ground; it was great to see the crew learning through the training. Everyone served each other and then sat down to eat the meals of their choice, an excellent way for them to not only learn but also experience first-class.
The below gallery has additional photos from the day. A big thanks to Swiss for hosting me, I loved every minute of it thank you!