Gate Gourmet, an airline caterer, is selling frozen airline meals in Australia. The program allows everyone to purchase cases of ten meals at AUD $2 ($1.38) per dish. A case of meals costs AUD$20 ($13.71).
I ordered three cases of these meals on 22nd June and was only able to pick them up on 30th June, due to high demand. I opted to order one set of breakfasts and two sets of lunch/dinner options.
Gate Gourmet advises of your pick-up date when you order online. The centres open at 12:00 each day and living in Melbourne I made the 30 minute journey to Melbourne Airport to pick-up my order, I was greeted by a large traffic jam of other airline food enthusiasts.
Once inside the holding yard, a Gate Gourmet employee approached my car and asked for my order number. I was then instructed to proceed to a parking bay, where an employee loaded my meals and sent me on my way.
While waiting I met Nick, who usually drives a catering truck and loads aircraft galleys. He was thrilled at the state of his business.
“I knew it would be popular, but never knew it would be this popular! When this [virus] started, we were all stuck at home with nothing to do; but now, we all have purpose again.”Nick, Catering Operations, GateGourmet Melbourne
Gate Gourmet gave me three dishes for breakfast, but I could not select what I was given. Nick told me that some of the food is also served on Malaysia Airlines, so there were multiple Asian options served. All dishes must be heated for 4-5 minutes in the microwave.
I was also told that a large number of frozen meals were initially prepared for Virgin Australia (the packaging was consistent with Virgin’s long-haul offerings). However, owing to the grounding of Virgin’s international flights, there was excess stock.
Spinach and Feta Frittata with Beans and Sausage
This meal was really good! Although the portion size was small, it was the perfect size for me. The beans were similar to spicy baked beans, the sausage was made of chicken and the frittata was really tasty. I would be happy if I was served this in Economy Class.
Egg White Omelette with Ratatouille and Spinach
This meal was interesting; the omelette was moist and soft, the potatoes were slightly under-cooked and the spinach was well cooked. I did prefer the preceding choice, but this is a great option for those who are health-conscious.
All but one of these offerings was Asian, as these meals were prepared for Malaysia Airlines.
Beef Rendang Curry with Jasmine Rice
This curry was really delicious. The meat was was tender (and Halal certified) and the rice was nicely cooked. The curry had a lot of coconut and chilli. Furthermore, the portion size was generous and made for a delicious dinner.
Chicken Parmigiana with Sweet Potato Fries
This chicken dish was by no means authentic, but still enjoyable. The chicken was tasty and the coating was crispy (even after five minutes in the microwave). However, the whole dish was somewhat lacking in salt and my Italian friend agreed. Overall, a solid dish from GateGourmet.
Mongolian Beef with Stir-Fried Egg Noodles
Gate Gourmet has taken a miss on this Mongolian Beef. The sauce lacked any spice or sweetness and the beef was dry. In contrast, however, the stir-fried noodles were crispy in parts and beautifully seasoned. Overall, this dish was just acceptable.
Gate Gourmet also provided me with Vegetarian Mee Goreng noodles and Cheese Gnocchi. Both of these dishes were flavourful and delicious. In total, I purchased 30 meals.
So, Who Actually Buys This Food?
The clientele was diverse and I managed to interview four different people buying these meals.
“My husband wants to go on a portion-controlled diet, so this is a good way of regulating his serving sizes.”Julie
“My relative is sick and housebound, I thought these pre-made meals would help with her independence at home.”Steve
“My son saw the ad for Gate Gourmet and, being a future pilot, wanted to try it out. My family really likes the novelty and convenience.”Hung
“I saw it and it was too cheap to resist.”Sally
I was really surprised by people’s reasons for purchasing these meals. It remains to be seen if Gate Gourmet will continue this highly-successful promotion into the future.
Gate Gourmet has since announced that all meals are currently sold out in Australia. A new offer and menu will be released soon, which indicates that Gate Gourmet may continue to sell direct to the public for the coming months.
What do you think about this catering offer in Australia? Let us know in the comments.
You can view this offer at https://www.gategourmetmeals.com.au/