Nik Sennhauser flew on an airplane for the first time when he was five months old and spent his childhood traveling between Austria, where he attended school, and Bangkok, where his father worked.
“That’s where my love of air travel comes from,” Sennhauser told TODAY Food.
But Sennhauser doesn’t just love air travel — he also loves airline food.
“I’ve always had an interest in plane food,” he said. “The way food is served on a plane — I’ve always found it fascinating. I was the kid that would spend half the flight sitting in the galley chatting with the flight attendants.”
But when the pandemic brought Sennhauser’s air travels to a halt, he found himself dreaming of airline meals from his Glasgow, Scotland home.
“I used to be on a plane roughly every three weeks, whether to go see friends and family or just to get on a plane.” said Sennhauser, who documents his travels on YouTube. “But I’ve now been grounded for over a year.”
As lockdown continued, Sennhauser, who has collected an airline serving cart, trays and dinnerware over the years, was struck with an idea: He cooked himself breakfast, then plated it like an airline would.
“I thought it was really good fun and it made me reminisce about all my previous trips,” he explained. “Suddenly it wasn’t that painful thinking about travel anymore. It sort of brought joy back to the thought of being on a plane and eating plane food.”
So Sennhauser began preparing, plating and photographing airplane meals at home, sharing photos of them to his Instagram, as first reported by CNN Travel. From waffles and berries with a side of muesli to chicken schnitzel with potato salad, Sennhauser meticulously arranges each tray of food before snapping a picture and sharing it with his followers.
“Recreating plane meals has become a weekend challenge for me and something to look forward to,” Sennhauser continued. “I spend all week thinking about which meal to re-create and finding recipes and then I go food shopping for the ingredients.”
One of his favorite meals he’s created is chocolate mousse.
“I’ve now made dark chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse and milk chocolate mousse and they were all delicious,” he said.
Sennhauser has also enjoyed tweaking what would be considered an economy class meal, such as scrambled eggs with salsa and bacon, into a fancier business class meal by adding additional sides and ingredients.
“I am not a natural cook so making all of this has been a challenge,” he said, explaining he spends about three or four hours in the kitchen making each meal. “I have to find recipes and follow them, which is easier said than done.”
Still, Sennhauser says reconnecting with his love airplane travel has been worth it.
“Plane food to me is not just about the taste of it but also the way it’s presented,” he said. “There’s so much thought and research going into each and every meal, from taste to presentation, storage and the way it is served.”
“When you think about it, you’re sitting in a metal tube that’s pressurized, being flung through the air at 500 miles an hour at an altitude of 30,000 feet. And there’s someone who comes around with a menu to offer you the choice between two hot main courses. If that’s not magical, I don’t know what is.”