A question to frequent flyers: What is it that you look for when joining an airline’s frequent flier membership? I mean, obviously we join to accrue mileage, but what are the added benefits that draw you? Earning points through shopping? Bank affiliations?
What about insider-benefits? To be more specific, getting first dibs or insider information on food and wine?
Last week, I was invited to attend a Qantas Epiqure event to witness the journey of food from producer to first and business class cabins.
…is an online food and wine community offering Qantas Frequent Flyers access to expertly selected wines from their award-winning First & Business class lounges, for them to enjoy at home.
If you are already a Qantas Frequent Flyer member, you can upgrade to a Qantas Epiqure membership, and you can gain exclusive benefits like invitations to member-only events (such as this Produce to Plane dinner).
Another great benefit is that Qantas Epiqure members gain 3 Frequent Flyer Points for every dollar spent (versus 1 Point per dollar spent on normal Qantas Frequent Flier membership)
Last week, Qantas shared their First and Business Class Menu journey with an evening of food, film and wine.
It was held at the Qantas Service of Excellence Centre in Alexandria. This place is normally closed to the public (as this is where Qantas trains all their staff), but for that evening, it was open to invited guests.
We first were treated to a short film showing how and where Qantas sources all it’s ingredients and produce for its First and Business class menu. It’s all Australian produce so it was so interesting to see how diverse Australia’s soil is to be able to sustain a full menu for Qantas. (If you remember my initial post on the Qantas First Class Autumn Menu tasting session, it takes 11 months to make a First Class Menu and this changes every season).
And then the big screen opened up to reveal what was in store for the evening:
It was a sit-down dinner event that also had an interactive talk-show format as the key producers for the Qantas Menu were interviewed and they shared insights of how they ensure their produce is top notch and what supplying for Qantas’ First & Business Class menus mean to them.
The producers were:
David Bicknell – Oakridge Wines, Victoria
Alex Olsson – Olsson’s Sea Salt, South Australia
Les Apps – Frasier Isle Spanner Crab, Queensland
Jamie Oliver – Cape Grim Beef, Tasmania
Pepe Saya – Australian Cultured Butter, New South Wales
The menu for the evening is of course what is served on some of Qantas’ First & Business Class flights but the highlight of the dinner (for me anyway) was the Fraser Isle Spanner Crab with Creme Fraiche, Chives, Radishes and Peas:
This dish made its debut on flights the very next day. These are the seasonal offerings that Qantas serves on its First & Business class menu.
I loved the fresh crab meat so much I wished there was a whole crab leg (or two) to devour 🙂
Now this butter. I never gushed about butter in one evening. It was so creamy it was like spreading ice cream unto bread. Absolutely the richest and finest butter I’ve ever had.
Watching the video of how they churn the butter also made me appreciate it more. There’s more to butter than just being ‘blocks of fat’. If you are meant to have butter once in a while, that once in a while better be worth it and rich!
The other highlight was the steak. I had this at the First Class Autumn Menu tasting a week earlier but it still impressed me like the first time. I probably eat beef once in what, 2 -3 months (if at all!) but this steak was just amazing. No seasoning, just cooked and seared to the tenderest perfection. And with just a smidgen of mustard sauce in every bite…oh my.
This dessert combines tartness and sweetness so it wasn’t overly cloying. While I will always prefer a chocolate-y dessert, this proved to be a great end to the dinner.
The full Producer to Plane Menu:
Roast beetroot and goats curd tartlet with thyme
Capsicum and olive empanada
Oakridge Blanc de Blancs 2010
Olsson’s salt Cured Ocean Trout with Pickled Red Onions, Coriander Seeds and Toasted Brioche
Oakridge Qantas epiQure exclusive Chardonnay
Fraser Island spanner crab with crème fraiche, chives, radishes, and peas
Oakridge LVS Chardonnay Lusatia Park Vineyard 2012
Rockpool Bar and Grill Style Cape Grim grass fed beef fillet
Oakridge LVS Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Mac ‘n’ cheese
Roast pumpkin and sweet potato and garlic yoghurt and burnt butter
Sugar snap peas
Lemon curd sandwich with raspberries and Pepe Saya mascarpone
Oakridge Botrytis Riesling 2012