Five stars at 30,000 feet

There's much more planning required for very high-altitude cuisine than there is a mere mile above sea level, as Andres Jimenez is learning. Starting May 1, the exec chef at the Ritz-Carlton downtown will be the first of four Ritz-Carlton chefs to take on a two-month stint creating high-end, sky-high cuisine for U.S.-to-Germany travelers on Lufthansa Airlines.

"We started with menu proposals," explains Jimenez, "and considered factors like seasons for each menu, general preferences of frequent first-class passengers, personal influence of each chef, appearance, flavors, ease of execution by the flight attendants and costs."

His Ritz-Carlton crew and Lufthansa's people then narrowed the list from 62 to 12 acceptable dishes. Those dishes are not full of fusion, because Jimenez wanted to avoid "food that had too strong aromas or uncommon combinations. Classics are classics for a reason."

Here's what you might expect on your next first-class ticket to Germany. "Being originally from Costa Rica, I particularly like the Costa Rican Hearts of Palm and Baby Potato Salad," Jimenez says. "For the entrees, I like the Pan Seared Chicken Supreme Fillet with Sicilian Green Olives Salad and Café de Paris Butter classic flavors but combined in a new, fresh way. And as far as the desserts, I really like the Vanilla Panacotta and Strawberry Consume served with a Sugar Cookie."

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