Airplane meals often get a bad rep. Some airplanes serve good food, but some serve average or even bad food. Monotonous food choices and tasteless food are the major cause passengers tend to have a love-hate relationship with airplane meal.
We tend to think that low-quality ingredients and poor handlings make airlines food taste bad. But its all wrong, at Aerofood ACS In-flight catering facility on the outskirt of Soekarno Hatta airport they only use fresh and good quality ingredients.
It’s not easy to enter Aerofood building. Stringent security standards have been enforced. We need to go through several security checks, and also body temperature examination before we enter their catering facility. Hair-net, face mask, and disposable white coat is an obliged uniform to wear before you go into their kitchen.
Aerofood ACS In-flight Catering Service
Since it established in 1950, Aerofood ACS has been providing catering services for national and international flights. Besides Jakarta, Aerofood also has branches in several major cities in Indonesia such as Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Lombok, Balikpapan Medan dan Pekanbaru.
As the largest Aerofood’s facility, this kitchen in Soekarno Hatta can produce up to 50,000 meals per day. No wonder if this kitchen looks very busy, as they continue to operate for 24 hours a day.
Last week I and some other bloggers had a chance to visit Aerofood Kitchen in Tangerang, Banten. Before visiting the kitchen, we had chatted briefly with Pak Afdal Amir, Aerofood Vice President of Marketing.
There are several reasons why airline food seems slightly off, says Pak Afdal Amir., “the combination of dry air and low pressure heavily impacts our ability to taste and smell and it makes the food slightly tasteless on air.”
From Pak Afdal we also learned that Aerofood partnered with Kemenpar RI (Indonesian Tourism Ministry) to promote Indonesian signature dishes to the world. Supported with the Indonesian Tourism Ministry, Aerofood presents 5 Indonesian Signature dishes on Garuda Indonesia flights. Sate, Soto, and nasi goreng are some of the examples of food.
As a subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia, Aerofood also serves for Presidential Flight, VVIP/ VIP Flight and the majority of international flights that fly to Indonesia. Having a halal-certified flight kitchen, Aerofood also providing catering services for Hajj and Umrah flight.
Aerofood ACS Kitchen Tour
Visiting this enormous kitchen is such an interesting experience. Once I entering the food reception area I can see pallets of fresh fruits and vegetables are being unloaded.
In the food reception, the first step of quality control is carried out. All the raw materials are checked for quality and weight specifications. All these food ingredients then sent to separate rooms to be cleaned, washed and sterilized.
Before sending it to the kitchen, all the food ingredients must go through a micro bacterial examination in the food laboratory. After the laboratory ensured that food ingredients did not contain harmful bacteria then food ingredients could be processed
Their kitchen divided into hot kitchen, cold kitchen, pastry kitchen and special kitchen for business and first-class flight. In this kitchen everything made from scratch- from salad, pastry, and all dessert.
Their pastry kitchen smell heavenly. The fragrant smells of freshly baked croissant and banana bread float through the kitchen air and hit my nose. Rows of bakery racks filled with an enormous amount of cake, chocolate, pudding, and many other baked goods. It’s all looks irresistible and I’m suddenly hungry.
In the hot kitchen, food is being prepared like any other restaurant, just on a very big scale. Besides the taste, hygiene and food safety are the most important aspects of air catering. Therefore all the food handlers must wear gloves, masks and a safety headgear.
Once cooked, the food then needs to cool quickly, because bacteria grow fastest between 80 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In other room chilled food then precisely weighed per portion, packed and labeled with the flight and meal details.
After the quality controls for weight specifications and bacterial count are done all the food then send either to assembly room or chilled storage.
All the flight requirements prepared in the tray assembly room. Here, all the tray set-ups are done, the meal carts are loaded and other catering requirements are readied then taken to the loading bay.
Aerofood ACS Industrial Catering
As part of the company’s effort to serve nationwide, Aerofood ACS expanded its business through the commercial services division with business units such as a premium banquet, commercial lounges, and industrial catering.
Aerofood Industrial Catering service implement the same food safety and hygiene standards with Aerofood In-Flight Catering service. So far Industrial catering service has served more than 50 national and international companies ranging from hospitals, schools, city manufacturing, oil mining, gas sector, and special events.