Marcus Samuelsson makes airplane food yummy

Chef Samuelsson's turkey & chutney sandwichLet’s be real–if you’re not flying in an upper class aircraft cabin, the options for sustenance are under par. Flavorless chicken slabs, runny green beans and a rocky roll of cold bread that’s only good for pelting at a disorderly child. Economy class gets no love.

But, American Airlines stepped their game up and partnered with the famed chef and owner of Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, Marcus Samuelsson. The collaboration was born in 2011 and I’m clearly delayed in getting this info because my stomach has to start eating itself before I’ll purchase food on planes, so I had no idea.

Since I was reaching that I’m-so-hungry-I-can’t-be-held-responsible-for-my-heinous-attitude level, I ordered a sandwich. There were two options: Turkey or roast beef. I went with turkey, but it wasn’t your typical unspectacular turkey sandwich, it was a turkey and chutney sandwich. Here’s what was in it:

Whole grain bread, smoked turkey breast, apple slices, apple cranberry ginger chutney, romaine lettuce.

Simple enough, but it was something about the combination of flavors and whatever magic went into making that fancy chutney that easily made this the best turkey sandwich I’ve ever had. And take it from a person who never spends a dime on in-flight fare, this $10 sandwich and chip combo was good enough that I seriously considered dropping another tenner for seconds.

I didn’t, but next time I fly American I’ll skip eating in the airport to save room for another one of these. If coach class food for purchase was this well done, I can only imagine what treats the first class passengers were enjoying behind the curtain.

I should have known from my experience at Red Rooster, that Samuelsson would be a culinary genius with whatever he gets his hands on. If you’re in NYC, check out the restaurant. It’s different, but definitely a meal to remember.