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    Conscious diners can now enjoy Veda's plant-based meals when flying Cathay Pacific
    Securing a plant-based inflight meal is now a feast for the senses, thanks to our new partnership
    Veda's new plant-forward inflight meals

    Meat-free dining is about to get an upgrade on our flights as a new partnership with acclaimed Hong Kong vegetarian restaurant Veda takes flight this month. From a vibrant pink, cherry tomato-studded quinoa salad to a creamy Thai coconut curry, flyers can look forward to balanced, plant-forward meals that focus on nutrition and flavour until 30 June 2024.

    Veda, located within Ovolo Central, is led by executive chef Raul Tronco Calahorra, who worked with our catering team to create a set of dishes that taste great at 30,000ft. Veda is known for its meat-free menu inspired by the Indian subcontinent, but dishes for the partnership represent a wider, more diverse range of cuisines from North Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

    Veda's new plant-forward inflight meals

    It wasn’t as simple as transferring Veda’s menu directly to passengers’ meal trays, however. Chef Raul found out first-hand the challenges of dining at altitude as he crafted the dishes, some of which are adapted from menu items at Veda, while others are completely new creations. He began experimenting with different flavours and ingredients before settling on dishes that he presented at several rounds of tasting with the Cathay Pacific team. 

    Meals are designed to be satisfying, nutrient-dense and based around plant-based protein, like tofu or pulses. “The food had to taste good while being as vibrant as possible,” Chef Raul says. “Not only that, but I needed to adapt my recipes to include ingredients that could consistently be sourced for potentially thousands of meals a day. 

    “Can they get the same paneer I’m using, or the same tofu? The challenge isn’t the mass production – you can get a big pot and cook 1,000 litres of a sauce – but the assembly.” 

    Veda's new plant-forward inflight meals

    A total of 16 dishes were created for the partnership, comprising six appetisers and 10 mains. They will be available in Economy and Premium Economy on selected long-haul and ultra-long-haul routes departing from Hong Kong. In 2020, Ovolo became the first hotel group to go completely vegetarian across its venues in alignment with the values of founder and CEO Girish Jhunjhnuwala. “We want to ensure we are doing our bit to help preserve our environment, promote healthy eating and enhance the image of amazing vegetarian and plant-based dining,” he said at the time. 

    Cooking methods on a plane are limited due to space, so most of the preparation is carried out in Cathay Pacific Catering Services’ kitchens near Hong Kong International Airport. Plus, as people’s sense of taste is impaired at altitude, the dishes need to be more strongly flavoured than when served on the ground, requiring the expertise of our culinary team to advise on optimum seasoning levels. 

    Veda’s dishes aren’t the only new veggie-friendly introduction to our planes: meals containing a plant-based pork alternative made by Plant Sifu  also launched at the start of July. The Hong Kong food brand is known for its dumplings and other dim sum items made using its juicy konjac-based substitute, which is low-fat and high-fibre. 

    Veda's new plant-forward inflight meals

    Although vegan, vegetarian and ‘flexitarian’ diets are becoming more commonplace, the aviation industry has typically lagged behind in providing high-quality, flavourful meat-free options. 

    We have previously offered plant-forward meals that didn’t need to be pre-selected for greater flexibility, but with our new partnerships with Veda and Plant Sifu, passengers can enjoy an even broader selection with refreshed and eclectic flavours. 

    The collaboration with Veda is the latest phase of our “The difference is in the detail” initiative – a mission to raise the bar when it comes to inflight dining. It slots in with partnerships with The Coffee Academics, JING Tea and Duddell’s on board, and is one step of the way in our ongoing dedication to inflight wellness and sustainability. This latest project also complements our long-term partnership with Hong Kong environmental charity The Green Earth in guiding travellers to make better lifestyle choices for the planet. 

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