S.S. AMERICA, S.S. UNITED STATES sailing on the 'All American' team to Europe

Boeing Stratocruiser dining

Pan Am’s Boeing Stratocruiser Presidential service provided a stellar dinning experience .

Boeing Stratocruiser dining
Boeing Stratocruiser dining

In the early days of Boeing Stratocruiser transatlantic flying (the 1950’s) competition for passengers did not depend so much on the fares (they were all high) as it did on the quality of the food and service. In that regard, Air France established a radiant reputation for airborne cuisine. The American carriers, TWA and Pan Am envied the French airline’s stellar reputation and were not about to be left behind.

TWA sent an airborne culinary spy on board Air France flights. Borrowing from the Air France expertise, TWA introduced what it called the ‘Royal Ambassador Service.’ The airline bragged that “There hasn’t been anything like our Royal Ambassador First Class menu since Henry VIII invented banquets.” Passenger favorites included Roast Sirloin of Beef, Sauce Bordelaise, Charbroiled Filet Mignon, with a choice of Parsley or Roquefort butter. All washed down with the best wine and limitless quantities of Mumm’s Cordon Rouge champagne and vintage wines. Not to be outdone Pan Am took a different approach to the French connection. The airline partnered with the renowned Paris Restaurant Maxim’s the restauranteur of tycoons, presidents, and show biz luminaries. The arrangement united Maxim’s 60 years of French gastronomic experience and Pan Am’s latest technological improvements in food preservation and distribution. This Franco/American marriage provided a cuisine defined by the airline as international in character with the universally accepted French accent in preparation. Pan Am introduced its upgraded ‘Presidential Serice’ in 1957 on the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser flights between New York, London, and Paris. Check out the menu below
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The galley had its own ovens, and there was usually a beef tenderloin cooked on board. Stratocruisers leaving New York in the late afternoon for London had had exactly 112 fresh eggs aboard. They were cracked and cooked to order the next morning as the plane approached the Irish coast
Accompanying these seven-course President Special meals is the rare Charles Heidsieck Blanc du-Blanc champagne, Meursault Beaune white wine or Château Haut-Brion red, with a choice of Cointreau, Benedictine or Cognac after dinner.    
The prime charcoal-broiled steak was one the favorite as entrees.

Each month, the Pan Am flight kitchen at Idlewild airport in New York purchased 9182 pounds of meat, 3,093 pounds of fish, and 19,448 pounds of vegetables

Pan Am Historical foundation
Presidential special dinner service

Tables set with gleaming linen clothes, highly polished silver, and Rosenthal China were set for Boeing Stratocruiser President Special passengers.

Pan Am historical foundation

Pan American’s food officials have found in their surveys that prime charcoal-broiled steak still rates a three to one favorite as an entree and note, a little wistfully, that it remains and will remain on every first-class menu despite the airline’s claim that it offers the only choice of three entrees in transatlantic service.

“Ewe, I don’t like peas” the photo was taken prior to the introduction of Presidential Special service in 1957

Take me back to the Stratocruiser page

The days of civilized air travel

Inside a 377 Stratocruiser

DINNING ON A sTRATOCRUISER. Serving more than 12,000 meals aloft every day, Pan American has developed a unique and intricate system of food preparation, preservation. distribution and service which assures passengers boarding flights even in remote corners of Africa and Asia of meals comparable to the best served in New York or Paris restaurants.

This worldwide, airborne catering service unlike any other food establishment in the world, is described by Kenneth Parratt, Director of Passenger Service for the airline, as an important aspect of service that la making Pan American a sort of “Claridge’s of the air.”

S.S. AMERICA, S.S. UNITED STATES sailing on the 'All American' team to Europe