The new flavors of SAS
For more than two years, SAS Head Chef Peter Lawrance scoured Scandinavia to source the finest and freshest local ingredients for the airline’s new food and drink concept. One of his biggest challenges was finding farmers, suppliers and other producers who could deliver the large volumes needed to expected standards.
“It’s not difficult to find organic and local products in Scandinavia – we have plenty available,” says Peter Lawrance. “The challenge was finding farmers who could supply SAS with what we consistently need – for example, 1,000kg of organic beef of a particular cut, every day, or large quantities of quality carrots.”
In order to make this happen, Lawrance worked closely with producers to increase their production volumes and as a result, he has built long-standing and trusting relationships that allow SAS to offer locally-sourced, seasonal meals on short- and medium-haul flights.
Once Lawrance had the ingredients sourced, he could turn his attention to creating new menus that reflect the SAS New Experience and the new food and drink concept.
“I had an idea of the style of the recipes I wanted to create, but I couldn’t move ahead on those before I knew which ingredients we would be using,” says Lawrance. “Once that was settled, we went to work on the menus, building and developing them, with everything based on Nordic produce and other seasonal ingredients.”
The menus and recipes reflect Scandinavian flavors and cooking, but it’s not just dill, cream and fish. With Nordic cuisine having such an impact on the international food scene in recent years, it’s the perfect time to introduce new flavors alongside more familiar ones.
“One thing we’ve done is developed ten new breads that are a mixture between bread, muffin and scone and are filled with Scandinavian flavors. So instead of a piece of hard bread and cold butter, you’ll get a bread flavored with mushrooms and pine or with Jarlsberg cheese baked into it,” says Lawrance.
Another has different colored carrots and each bread is matched to the main meal they will be offered with, which could include anything from Norwegian salmon smoked at Grisslehamn in Roslagen to dill croutons made with flour from Strängnäs Valsmill or almond potato mayonnaise with Västerbotten cheese.
At any given time, SAS has hundreds of different menus flying around the world. On the short- and medium-haul flights featuring the new Cube concept, there will be multiple breakfasts, lunches and dinners that will rotate on a daily basis, so if you fly to Oslo in the morning and back to Stockholm the next day, you will be served a completely different meal.
Additionally, using seasonal ingredients means the menus in rotation will also change regularly.
“This summer, we’ll start with an asparagus salad, but we can’t predict how long it will run because it will only be on the menu for as long as we can source the right volume of fresh asparagus from Stenehuse Farm on Gotland. When that’s no longer possible, we will move on to the next menu that allows us to use the freshest ingredients, always reflecting the seasons.”
As far as fitting and adapting the new food concept to the new Cube concept, Lawrance says it’s a great Scandinavian design, reflecting the modern Nordic aesthetic.
“Very often, meals are presented quite flat and spread out. With the Cube, everything is in layers, so we had the challenge of finding new ways to build a meal that keeps the produce separated, but also attractively presented. I love that the Cube will cut down on waste and it’s been fun being a part of this whole new onboard dining experience.”
Text: Judi Lembke
Published: November 14, 2017