BlueSky Business Aviation News

Paula Kraft, founder and President of Atlanta, GA-based Tastefully Yours Catering.

The scent of fall is in the air

h yes, I love this time of year. The days have cooled, the leaves have turned, and the world is busy preparing itself for winter. There's something magical about the clear brisk days and the anticipation of an evening fire to take the chill out of the night air.

What are you sipping in your teacup? cocoa, tea or a hot toddy? I particularly love fall baking - especially pies and desserts.

Maybe it's the ever familiar smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in the air. I seem to bake more during the fall through the December holidays than any other time of the year.

For me, it's relaxing. I have a sense of accomplishment when I see the steam venting off a freshly baked pie or cake. I love the feel of creating something so awesome with my hands and watching the smiles on the faces of those eating the finished product.

It is my passion. I love the crisp apples and creating endless different things with them. I wish you could taste my home made apple sauce with bits of fresh apples scattered throughout - or my mom’s apple cake. Our clients at Tastefully Yours are already asking if we have started making it this year. Fresh apple muffins, apple chutney, dried apple slices to add to muesli. Oh, how I love baking.

We shouldn't forget the winter squashes and pumpkins. I know I tend to go a bit over the top with pumpkin, but, until you have dipped a super thin gingersnap into my silky whipped pumpkin mousse, you haven’t lived. It works really well on the aircraft and the presentation is totally a fall classic . . . served from a mini pumpkin, surrounded with the colored leaves of fall.

And have you tried pumpkin soup for the aircraft, with a slight hint of white wine and garnished with crunchy bits of gingersnaps? Or butternut squash soup, roasted and part of a roasted vegetable platter? A bit of crème fraiche for dipping roasted vegetable sticks with a hint of spice is not only healthy, but different from the standard crudité.

If that is a bit over the top for you, add the roasted squashes and gourdes to create a medley for an entrée accompaniment. You might consider switching those breakfast potatoes with pumpkin or sweet potato hash. Simply sauté diced pumpkin or sweet potato with a diced tart apple and caramelized onions to bring in the savory fall flavor. It's new and trendy.

With every season comes new flavors and we have to experiment with them. The heartiness of the fall crops translate well into foods that hold up to the abuse of aviation. The colors are warm and cozy, its scent and taste are home; it’s warmth and comfort; it’s family, it’s memories and tradition . . . and it’s delicious!

If you are able to provide foods that conjure up a fond memory for your passengers or flight crew, then you have succeeded

One whiff of cinnamon and this warm scent can instantly make you feel cozy, and I recently read an article detailing that recent research has shown that the smell of cinnamon can help boost brain function. Great aroma to have on board, wouldn’t you agree? I also read that apples - a super fruit as you'll recall - could actually ease headache symptoms and shorten a migraine episode. They're also shown to reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Interesting, right? To assist the anxious passenger, that same study found that the scent of green apples reduced anxiety during stressful situations. I have to say that this 2010 study really intrigued me to research a bit more on smells, aromas and the positive effects on your mind, soul and body. I have always been intrigued by aromatherapy and the essential oils and aromas that I was introduced to by flight attendants.

Not only can the nutmeg and cinnamon enhance your morning coffee, but the rich, earthy aroma of nutmeg also has countless health benefits. When used in incense, nutmeg is a go-to scent for sleep, as it can induce muscle relaxation and stress relief. The spice may also help your memory. Research shows that myristicin, a property found in nutmeg, can restrict the enzyme that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease.

I began to wonder if the smell of these spices from foods cooking in the aircraft would have the same result. I have asked my dear friends flying to take the test and try out a few ideas and they report a resounding yes that it appears to have worked. I asked them to try steaming a spoon of nutmeg, ginger and/ or cinnamon in the oven or microwave in a small amount of water and see how that freshened the aircraft interior. Many tell me that their passengers commented immediately upon boarding how the aroma made them feel as if they returned home, it reminded them of something their mother had once prepared, or inquired about what they were preparing for the flight that smelled so delicious.

If the aroma made a difference, how could these spices make a change or help in the way someone felt? Ginger relieves an upset stomach, calms nausea and motion sickness and has also been proven to relieve pain and reduce swelling from arthritis.

Ginger does have a down side though; it is known to thin your blood - especially if you are already on a blood thinner. In small amounts or a cup of ginger tea or ginger beer however it is ok to consume.

When I smell nutmeg, I think of holiday cookies, apple pie and fruit filled cakes (I'm talking about the bottle-of-whisky-soaked fruit filled cake here). Funny how I associate so much with the taste of food, isn’t it? Nutmeg sprinkled on top of a dollop of cream or on your cocoa or coffee will help regulate your digestive tract and assist in sleeping. (That was reported in Glamour Magazine . . . should we believe it?).

Cloves are another of the fall spices. I think of clove studded hams and clove studded oranges to scent a room. The clove studded oranges are a natural way to freshen the aircraft interior. Since I love trivia - did you know that a half teaspoon of cloves have more antioxidant power than a half cup of blueberries or even cranberries? Season your sweet potato mash with a light sprinkle of cloves, add it as a garnish to the top of a soup, or with meats. You will be pleasantly surprised. Another great trick to add dimension to your meal is by creating flavored butters. Imagine a warm bread smeared with a cinnamon butter and honey, or a gingered butter or even a hint of cloves in a butter used to flavor a baked squash or sweet potato. The smell of fall is almost here. Explore, experiment, let your mind go crazy and try adding one of the smells of fall to your next catering request.

Variety is the spice of life.



About Paula Kraft . . .

Paula Kraft is the founding partner of the DaVinci Inflight Training Institute located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and the founder/president of Tastefully Yours Catering, an aviation specific caterer, located in Atlanta, Georgia for over 35 years.

Paula is active with many aviation and catering-related groups including the International Caterers Association, the International Inflight Food Service Association and is a board member of Women in Corporate Aviation. She is the past chair of the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee Caterer’s Working Group for 15 years perfecting unique catering training sessions for NBAA conferences and events. Currently, she serves on the NBAA Flight Attendant Advisory Committee and is a member of the Training and Safety Subcommittee. Paula was a founding member of the Steering committee for the creation of a European Flight Attendant Committee and conference and serves as a subject matter expert to the board of International Standard for Business Aircraft Handlers (IS-BAH).

After founding Tastefully Yours Catering, she has been offering culinary and food safety related training to the general aviation community. With a strong dedication to improving catering safety, risk mitigation and safe food handling, she developed and introduced the concept of “catering safety management systems”. As a certified food safety instructor, Paula offers catering SMS and culinary classes for all aviation professionals.

Paula’s first-hand experience, business acumen, research, and relationships make her an industry expert - one which allows her to share information that will help raise the professional training level for flight attendants today that will reduce the risk of food-related concerns tomorrow.

click to visit DaVinci Training Institute

From Paula . . .

I have coordinated training programs and clinics for NBAA and EBAA conference attendees for over 10 years, created mentoring programs for caterers and flight attendants to broaden their aviation culinary skills, and to assist them in adapting to the unique challenges and constraints found in catering for general aviation. I recognize the need for training and have worked closely with flight departments, flight crews, schedulers and customer service reps at the FBOs to ensure that catering specific training provides information and skills necessary to reduce risk while assisting them in their job duties that include safe food handling, catering security, accurate transmission of food orders, and safe food production, packaging and delivery.

I fell into aviation catering quite by accident. I was the in-house caterer and bakery supplier for Macy’s department stores in Atlanta when catering was ordered for a Macy’s customer which was soon to change my life. After the client enjoyed the catering provided, I was summoned to the client’s corporate office to provide several of the items delivered through Macy’s to the executive dining room. Within a week, I was providing food for the flight department and my first order was for the President of a foreign country (as I was too be told soon after).

So, here I am, some 35 years later, still loving every minute of every day in aviation catering.

Got a question?

Paula welcomes your comments, questions or feedback


©BlueSky Business Aviation News | 9th November 2017 | Issue #438
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