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It's all about taste – creating Finnair's modern Nordic menu

A new winter menu will start on Finnair flights on 24 January 2024, designed for the first time by Finnair’s new Development Chef, Sami Oksava. The theme of the menu is winter flavours and, of course, modern Nordic cuisine.

“The guiding thought is 'Keep it simple'. The most important thing in food is how it tastes, and good taste requires, above all, clean, good and high-quality ingredients,” Oksava says.

Oksava was introduced to cooking at home through her chef father. In addition to influence from home, Oksava has both education and long experience in the food industry.  

“We made a lot of food at home, and there I learned to appreciate ingredients and the fact that good food should not be taken for granted – you always have to work for it,” says Oksava.

Selection on European flights depends on the length of the route

The menu on our European flights depends on the length of the flight. In Business Class, on our long- and medium-haul flights, we offer breakfast or a hot meal. In the winter menu update, we will renew the selection of sandwiches available on shorter flights. In the future, our Business Class customers can choose from a selection of sandwiches that change every two weeks. The choice varies from smoked salmon to turkey or ham.

“The Nordic flavours and experience are at the core of all Finnair meals. In addition, we consider destination, flight length and, for example, the typical customer base of the route. Dishes are designed and tested together with Finnair's partners before the final decisions,” says Oksava.

On most of our European flights in Economy Class, we offer blueberry juice or water free of charge. Depending on the route, you can pre-order a fresh sandwich or tasty hot meal or buy snacks and drinks during the flight.

New menu on long-haul flights leaving Helsinki

Modern Nordic is the design principle, whether for long-haul or European flights. “The special feature of inflight meals is that they are always prepared in advance and stored before use. Ingredients and preparation methods are chosen depending on how well the dish will last from cool storage to heating and consumption,” explains Oksava.

The winter menu change will only impact on long-haul flights departing from Helsinki. In Economy Class, we serve Japanese miso chicken or spaghetti and meatballs after departure, depending on the destination. Before landing, depending on the length and time of the flight, we offer a light snack, breakfast or a light meal on most of our long-haul flights. On our New York and Dubai routes, which have relatively short flight times, there is no second service, but you can purchase drinks and snacks from the onboard menu. 

On our routes to Haneda, Narita and Hong Kong, we are testing a service in Economy Class where customers can choose between two main course options. The test will last until September, and we are monitoring customer satisfaction on these flights particularly closely.

In Premium Economy Class, our customers can choose from two main course options. For example, on flights to Tokyo, the options are braised beef and chicken with carrot spaghetti.

The warm flavours of winter in long-haul Business Class

Business Class for long-haul flights departing from Helsinki offers a completely renewed winter menu that includes ingredients such as salmon and pike. The flavours of winter are warmed by the apple-cinnamon pie served for dessert and the sautéed reindeer served before landing.

“When planning portions, we try to take customers' wishes into account and we continuously monitor customer feedback. Our customers in Business class can also pre-order the main course for long-haul flights departing from Helsinki in advance to make sure they get the meal they want on the flight,” Oksava points out.

Read more about pre-select meals.

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