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Singapore Airline’s Book the Cook now available from Seattle

Feb. 29, 2020
7 min read
Singapore Airline’s Book the Cook now available from Seattle
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Here’s some tasty news for flyers traveling to Singapore from Seattle.

At the end of March, Singapore Airlines will expand its signature “Book the Cook” inflight dining program to its Seattle to Singapore flights, which operate four times a week.

The program allows flyers to pre-order off a menu of specially cooked meals as early as from the time they first book their flights to up to 24-hours before they fly.

“It’s very popular,” said Antony McNeil, Singapore Airlines’ Director of Food & Beverage. “Some passengers have their favorite dishes and make their Book the Cook selection 10 months before they fly.”

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For the Seattle flights, the Book the Cook program will allow business-class and premium economy passengers to pre-order their meal from a menu that includes both customer favorites such as shrimp wonton with char siew noodle soup and two Pacific Northwest dishes: Wild Alaskan salmon and Dungeness crab cakes.

This dish, wild Alaskan salmon with shiitake relish, will be exclusive to Seattle as a Book the Cook choice for Singapore Airlines. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines)

While in Seattle recently to meet with chefs at the flight kitchen that will prepare Singapore Airlines’ Book the Cook choices, McNeil demonstrated for TPG how the dishes will be prepared and plated. He also offered a preview tasting of the exclusive Pacific Northwest-themed dishes.

Our quick take: thumbs up on both PNW dishes.

A generous piece of wild Alaskan salmon is served unsullied by sauces and paired with shitake mushroom compote and a cornbread pudding. The Dungeness crab cakes, however, are the standout. A serving includes two crab cakes made with exactly the right balance of crab to breading and a side of potato salad and a seasonal baby vegetable.

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“We’re not like other carriers that have multiple flight a day,” said McNeil. “We have one flight from Seattle and that gives us the opportunity to provide great, next level ingredients.”

A Singapore Airlines Book the Cook menu item: Dungeness crab cake with potato salad and baby vegetables. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines)

While subject to change to allow for seasonal availability, the Book the Cook menu for business class passengers flying from Seattle to Singapore includes:

  • Dungeness crab cakes with borlotti bean bacon ragout broccolini and seafood nduja sauce (Seattle exclusive);
  • Wild Pacific King Salmon with Point Reyes toma and chili cornbread pudding, oven-roasted Brussel sprouts and shiitake mushroom relish (Seattle exclusive);
  • Chicken Biryani;
  • Marrow roasted New York strip with Yukon gold potato, Parmesan cream spinach and Café de Paris butter;
  • Shrimp wonton and char siew noodle soup;
  • Black mushroom and sliced chicken congee; and
  • Penne pasta Arrabbiata with broccoli and mushrooms

The Premium Economy Book the Cook options include: Chicken biryani, Dungeness crab with spicy seafood nduja sauce (Seattle exclusive) and stir-fry noodle with char siew pork.

Singapore Airlines 'Book the Cook' menu choice: Chicken biryani for premium economy. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines)

An increasing number of airlines, including American, Delta and United, allow passengers to pre-order meals on select flights in addition to offering choices from a set in-flight menu.

But Singapore Airlines is the airline best known for this service, having introduced it 21 years ago. Its Book the Cook option is offered from more than two dozen cities, including Newark (EWR), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX) and (starting the end of March 2020) Seattle (SEA) in the United States.

Meal options vary by departure city and cabin, but the airline’s lobster thermidor (available on flights with Suites and First Class) is an AvGeek classic.

And while the Book the Cook program offers passengers extra control over their flight experience, the pre-order meal program also allows the airline to reduce cabin waste, which is an issue that airlines are paying closer attention to globally.

Related: Singapore Showdown: Lobster Thermidor (First Class) vs. Seafood Thermidor (Biz)

Singapore Airlines 'Book the Cook' menu choice: Black mushroom and sliced chicken congee. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines)

“Putting specific meals on the aircraft for specific people means we don’t have to load so many additional meals,” said McNeil, “That saves on resources and reduces waste and overproduction.”

The Book the Cook program is also one piece of Singapore Airlines’ strategy to offer passengers a healthier inflight experience, often with ingredients sourced as close to the airport as possible.

On its Newark-to-Singapore flights, for example, the airline offers “Farm-to-Plane” salads made with Aerofarms’ aeroponically grown greens cultivated within five miles of the airport.

And while in Seattle, McNeil visited farmers and fishers in the region, from Medford, Oregon to Bellingham, Washington, in search of West Coast suppliers the airline might be partner with in the future.

“People don’t really understand the lengths the airline goes to secure great produce and other ingredients,” said McNeil. “But wherever we have the opportunity, we want to source leafy greens, produce, seafood, beef and cheeses locally.”

Related:Singapore introduces (really) fresh, local produce on flights from Newark

Singapore Airlines 'Book the Cook' menu choice: Stir-fry noodle with char-siew pork. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines)
Singapore Airlines 'Book the Cook' menu choice: New York strip steak with creamed spinach and potato gratin. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines)
Singapore Airlines 'Book the Cook' menu choice: Shrimp wonton and char siew noodle soup. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines)
Featured image by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees