What’s inside the bento box?
Meet Finnair’s first Japanese chef – Rica Maezawa – who brings her unique seasonal cuisine to Business Class passengers on flights between Tokyo and Helsinki.
Chef Maezawa joins a select group of notable international chefs offering enticing dining experiences on Finnair long-haul flights.
A successful restaurateur in Tokyo who also teaches traditional Japanese culinary arts, Chef Maezawa focuses on seasonal, vegetable-centric dishes that recall home cooking styles of an earlier era in her native Japan.
“Homestyle culinary practices during the Edo period in Japan (1603-1868) have been of great interest to me and have heavily influenced my professional training,” says Chef Maezawa.
“A foundational aspect of my cooking style is the use of traditional cured and dried ingredients. When re-introduced into our menu, they bring a unique, more intense depth of flavour we believe our diners will savour.”
Chef Maezawa has designed four seasonal Signature Menus, each with her own adaptation of the classical Bento Box presentation. Included to the autumn Bento Box are simmered grilled eggplant, steamed taro potato, grilled Spanish mackerel with kyo miso, deep-fried maitake mushroom, and dressed edible chrysanthemum and crown daisy, among other selections.
The autumn main course dish selected to appeal to both Japanese and non-Japanese tastes is fillet of beef steak and sautéed mushrooms with white miso and mustard sauce, accompanied by steamed rice with walnuts.
Maarit Keränen, head of Inflight Service at Finnair, notes that the selection of Chef Rica Maezawa was a careful process driven by local Finnair staff who did extensive research and visits to her restaurant in Tokyo.
“Chef Maezawa is a highly respected restaurant owner, chef, and follower of traditional Japanese homestyle food preparation, often not seen in typical restaurants in Tokyo,” says Keränen. “We believe her culinary leadership will mean delightful Business Class dining experiences for our passengers onboard between Tokyo and Helsinki.”
Psst: When flying in Finnair Business Class on intercontinental routes, you can pre-order your main course.
Text and photos Michael Larkin