_A Monitor Correspondent back from Dubai 16 Mar, 2019 | 247 Views | -+
Members of the media on a familiarisation trip visiting Emirates Flight Catering in Dubai
A partial view of the state-of-the-art kitchen of EKFC
Dubai : During air travel, airlines serve delicious in-flight food. However, none gets to take a peek behind the curtain to see the culinary expertise put into the making and presentation of these food.
Many are unaware of the fact that the ingredients, equipments, culinary style and hygiene standard used to make in-flight food are different than the food we consume in restaurants or at home. Because, the height in which the plane flies and the internal environment of the cabin manipulate the food's taste and the passenger's taste buds along with digestion process.
Considering these, the airlines try to prepare the meals ensuring that nothing comes in the way of passengers meeting their tummy-cravings with utmost satisfaction.
Recently, a team of five Bangladeshi media representatives visited Dubai at the invitation of world's leading airline Emirates. The purpose was to introduce us to the international standard service of Emirates along with the airline's notable centres based in Dubai, among which, one is Emirates Flight Catering.
Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) is an in-flight catering service which provides catering and support services for Emirates Airline and all other airlines based at Dubai International Airport.
It is operated from Emirates Flight Catering Centre, having a total footage of 163,250 square metres (equal to 1785 football fields), making it the largest of its kind worldwide.
The team of media representatives had pre-permit to visit the centre. For utmost hygiene maintenance, everyone had to wear special clothes and shoes before entering the centre.
It was not possible to visit every part of the enormous centre; hence we only got to witness the main operations. Food Store Manager Adil Akbar, Warehouse Deputy Officer Royal Eu, Executive Chef AR Madhukumar, Flight Operations Manager Dinesh Ravi and many other staff of EKFC showed and explained the operations to help us understand.
In the centre, latest concept has been adopted for processing, cold chain, food safety, environment and energy saving. Ultramodern technology and automated equipment handling system are used for culinary purposes.
For the convenience of transport, they have 2.55 km long electric monorail cart transport system. It is designed to transport meal carts from the off-loading bay to the ware wash area where the meal carts are manually stripped and then transported for washing and sanitising. Over 20,000 meal carts, 3000 bar carts and 14,000 standard unit containers are handled per day.
The centre is so advanced in automation that it even has an automated food chilling system.
For the sake of food safety and environmental protection, there is vacuum waste handling system. The garbage is collected throughout the facility by a series of 600 metres of vacuum waste pipes that lead to a central waste collection point.
In this modern flight catering centre, Emirates has more than 11 thousand employees, among which there are 1800+ chefs preparing more than 1,500 different menus.
EKFC produces on average 2,25,000 meals per day for Emirates Airlines, 105 other airlines and airport lounges. They cater for an average of 700 flights per day.
Considering the food trends and taste buds of people from different regions, Emirates prepares regionally focused menus. It changes the onboard menus monthly and continuously reviews its recipes.
Since, Emirates is a global airline, it prepares seasonal menus too for celebrating occasions like Christmas, Eid and even country specific occasions such as Lunar New Year and Oktoberfest.
Emirates focuses on perfectly cooked dishes emphasising fresh ingredients of the highest quality. Thus, they have many global partners through who the airline brings the finest products on board.
If you travel by Emirates, then the airline has its own food channel in store for you on their in-flight entertainment system - ice. It will allow customers to have a behind-the-scenes look at how EKFC creates its onboard menus and works with its global partners.
The role EKFC plays in environment protection is worth appraisal. The centre sorts and recycles 21,000 kg of aluminium every year. The amount of recycled plastic per month is on average 3 ton, cardboard is 90 ton and paper is 5 ton. EKFC also collects and repurposes 58,000 litres of waste oil annually.
As part of Emirates diversification strategy, EKFC has developed some products for the retail market: Emperor Ice Cream and I Sapori Pasta. Come 2020, they will also be supplying leafy greens from their vertical farming facility which will be the largest in the world on terms of output.
Since Emirates Flight Catering's humble beginnings in 1982 up to June 2018, they have produced a staggering amount of 760,856,444 meals. And now, the leading airline serves more than 110 million meals a year with the same attention to detail in First, Business and Economy Class. Not to mention, from children to adults of various age, EKFC prepares and serves food suitable to all.