Crafty, Creative, and Resourceful
Crafty, creative, and resourceful, are 3 words that can definitely describe some very important corporate cabin attendants attributes..
On the normal days, we present and serve pre-requested meals without a hitch. We have properly calculated exact portions needed and even have a bit left over for seconds and crew meals. The clients are happy because they received EXACTLY what they asked for and we are happy because THEY are happy!
On NOT so normal days, we run into some snags: extra pax may show up when its too late to order more catering, the request details were not communicated perfectly ( IE. An allergy or vegetarian was not accounted for), or simply- the clients have changed their minds once in flight! These are the flights that make us nuts.. However, if we ALWAYS plan for these possibilities, we may never have to break a sweat!!
So how do we plan for these kinds of things?
First, most of us have learned the hard way in the beginning so we almost never fall for the same problems again. We do things like: order a little extra in case of those surprise guests, We have staple food items such as veggies to make salads and deli meats and cheeses to make some sandwiches if needed. We also carry with us a variety of herbs, maybe a mini cookbook, and our own crafty minds that can create new meals, sauces, dressings, and condiments out of everything we have on board!
I was once flying a group from Paris to New York. It was a well-known pop star and her “entourage”. They had ordered a great deal of food and I was successful in getting everything they requested. What I had not planned on was their late night needs for new munchies ( after lots of drinking!) They began asking for things that I had definitely not brought onboard due to the fact it was NOT requested..
Of course I must point out that many of our clients, specifically the ones that fall into the “ entourage” category and do not fly private often- honestly think that we have some sort of restaurant stock on board.
They began ordering things like chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce, nachos, and macaroni and cheese ( like I said, “ munchies food).. At first, I didn’t know if I should laugh or just flat out say- sorry!! But then the professional in me realized that neither of those responses would have been acceptable and both would have gotten me in some trouble. So, I said; “ OK.. Give me a few minutes”..
I went back to my galley and started pawing through my cabinets, plane stock, and left over catering.
“Kathryn, you can do this I said to myself, and began with the chicken tenders..
I did have some left over chicken and bread onboard so I created a breadcrumb mixture with some herbs I had. I sliced up the chicken I had left, and created the tenders. I baked/broiled them to crispy and it worked! Then I used honey, mustard, some lemon and sugar and created the honey mustard sauce. Wow.. I impressed my self at this point and knew I could keep going!
The macaroni and cheese was created using uncooked pasta I had in the cabinet and boiled it in the microwave. I have a few different types of cheeses (which I combined), and since milk is always a staple on board, I was able to properly complete the mixture. Then baked that mac and cheese to perfection!
The nachos? No sweat! I had chips on board and just through together all different toppings I knew would go over well.
I presented the new munchies to my clients and they were satisfied.
I was too… At the way my mind, resourcefulness and creatively took over!
When you are new at the job, you start off a little limited in thought to the basic catering protocol of seeing a meal request, ordering it to the best of your ability, and not planning for the above changes and challenges. After you have been in the game for a while you slowly realize “ nothing is constant but change”! You begin to plan meal services with all the necessary backup and contingency plans. And you also develop your own creatively skills.
Cabin attendants begin to travel with a ” culinary emergency bag” so to speak. If you are a contract flight attendant and constantly work on planes that are unfamiliar to you, then you NEED this bag more than anyone! The part 91 cabin attendants that are assigned to one aircraft know what is onboard because they have put it there.. but still need to plan on additional catering and staple items to create more food if needed.
What was in MY bag?
An herb variety kit, a wine opener, disposable cutting boards, gloves, a mini book containing recipes for fast meals, sauces, etc, a portable omelet maker, poached egg maker , natural cold remedies, nail clippers, a flashlight, and a CPR mask.
All I needed was a cape right?! ☺
Those of you newbies that may read this, I encourage you to create and carry with you- your own bag of goodies.
For all of you seasoned FAs, I would love to hear your stories and comments!!!
Cobblestones and Heels