Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship airline, has unveiled a new partnership with Veda by Ovolo, a distinguished vegetarian restaurant located in the heart of Hong Kong’s Central district, to serve a variety of plant-based meals on its long-haul flights. This collaboration aims to provide health-conscious passengers with more sustainable and nutritious dining options while traveling.
This new initiative offers a refreshing array of dishes that infuse creativity and flavor into high-altitude dining. Travelers can expect to enjoy a range of culinary delights such as Thai-inspired Khao soi with a medley of vegetables, a heartwarming roasted vegetable tagine paired with halloumi cheese and pearl couscous, hummus complemented by harissa roasted cauliflower and tangy pickled onions, and a vibrant Bombay carrot salad adorned with cashews, raisins, and cherry tomatoes.
The inspiration behind this innovative menu stems from a chance interaction between Vassilios Georgakopoulos, Cathay Pacific’s head of dining and hospitality, and the culinary expertise at Ovolo during his stay at Ovolo Southside. Impressed by the quality and presentation of the vegetarian offerings, a conversation sparked the inception of this unique in-flight dining experience.
Veda’s partnership with Cathay Pacific resonates with the growing trend of plant-based eating, which gained significant traction during the pandemic due to health considerations and disruptions in meat supply chains. Research has consistently shown that a diet rich in plant-based foods can offer numerous health benefits, including improved heart health, enhanced energy levels, assistance with weight management, cancer prevention, and diabetes management.
Creating an in-flight menu presented unique challenges, according to Veda and Ovolo Hotels executive chef Raul Tronco. The task was to adapt restaurant-grade recipes for preparation in an aircraft galley oven, considering the changes in taste perception at cruising altitudes. Despite the scale of meal production being substantially larger than in a restaurant setting, the goal remained the same: to deliver aesthetically pleasing and flavorsome meals.
Selecting ingredients that could withstand the reheating process without losing their appeal or taste was a pivotal part of menu design. Tronco carefully curated dishes known for their robust flavors and suitability for mass preparation, ensuring that the nutritional value and taste would remain intact from kitchen to cabin.
Even prior to the pandemic, Cathay Pacific was on a journey to incorporate more plant-based options into its in-flight menu, having previously collaborated with Hong Kong-based Omni foods and renowned healthy eating advocate Chef Daniel Green. The decision to partner with Veda aligns perfectly with the airline’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and passenger health.
The culinary expertise of Spanish Chef Tronco, who has been with Ovolo Hotels since 2020 and embraced vegetarianism in 2017, has been crucial in this endeavor. His personal journey towards vegetarianism, marked by health benefits and increased vitality, has influenced the development of dishes that are both satisfying and nutrient-rich.
Passengers flying in both economy and premium economy classes will now have the opportunity to experience these innovative vegetarian options, broadening the appeal of plant-forward dining to a wider audience and changing the landscape of in-flight cuisine. With this partnership, Cathay Pacific continues to push the envelope, providing a varied and contemporary selection of plant-based dishes designed to delight a diverse range of palates.