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El Al parts ways with top chef Yaron Shalev in bid for better airplane food

Last year El Al announced that Mr Shalev - head chef of Tel Aviv restaurant Toto - was to take over menu planning for the airline to improve the in-flight food experience

    Airplane food (Photo: Getty)
    Airplane food (Photo: Getty)

    Airplane food was dealt a blow this week with the announcement from El Al that their collaboration with Israeli chef Yaron Shalev will no longer happen.

    Last May El Al announced that Mr Shalev - head chef of Tel Aviv restaurant Toto - was to take over menu planning for the airline to improve the in-flight food experience.

    At the time they said: "Shalev will be in charge of the airline's food and culinary services and create new, unique menus served on flights departing Israel to worldwide destinations in all classes of service: Economy, Business and First."

    However Israeli business publication Globes revealed on Tuesday that Mr Shalev, who is known as "the wonder boy" in Israeli culinary circles, stepped down from the role just before the collaboration was due to get underway.

    He said: "We worked for many months to try out the possibility of collaboration.

    "In the end, it was decided that we should part [as] friends. I'll continue to fly with the airline, and El Al passengers who want my food can continue to dine at Toto. I thank El Al's management for their confidence."

    El Al commented: "The company highly esteems chef Yaron Shalev, who is one of Israel's leading chefs. But the company decided together with Yaron to carry on as it has done in the culinary field."

    One Israeli chef commented: "It all starts and finishes with the fact that you have no control over the food preparation and how it reaches the diner. For any chef, that's a difficult formula.

    "Add to that the fact that in the end we're talking about a meal that costs NIS 9-10 [approximately £1.90] to produce.

    "Even I wouldn't succeed in cracking that one."

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