Bhaji in the custard: witty passenger invited to select Virgin meals

January 29th, 2009 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 29 (IANS) A passenger who wrote a witty letter complaining about the Indian meal on a Virgin Atlantic flight to Mumbai has been invited by the airline’s boss Richard Branson to help select food and wines for future Virgin flights.“Look at this Richard. Just look at it…” Oliver Beale said in a 1,133-word letter illustrated with five photographs after his Dec 7 flight.

“I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the dessert?”

At one point, the mystified Beale wrote, “Richard…. What is that white stuff? It looked like it was going to be yoghurt. It finally dawned on me what it was after staring at it. It was a mixture between the Baaji [bhaji] custard and the Mustard sauce.

“It reminded me of my first week at university. I had overheard that you could make a drink by mixing vodka and refreshers. When I attempted to make the drink in a big bowl it formed a cheese Richard, a cheese.

“That cheese looked a lot like your baaji-mustard,” Beale wrote in his letter, which has been circulated around the world and praised for its pointedness and humour.

The London-based passenger has since received a call from Branson inviting him to come to the airline’s catering house next month to help select the food on future Virgin flights, the Daily Telegraph reported Thursday quoting an airline spokesman.

“While we investigated his complaint seriously, and following Richard Branson’s phone call we’ve invited him to our catering house to select the next range of meals and wines we serve on board,” the Virgin Atlantic spokesman said.

“It is worth noting, though, that the passenger was given the option of a Western-style meal but chose the Indian menu instead. We hope he takes us up on our offer to have his say on what food should be served,” he said.

Virgin Atlantic’s “award-winning food” is very popular on its Indian routes, he added.

Elsewhere in his letter, Beale says, “I know it looks like a baaji but it’s in custard Richard, custard. It must be the pudding. Well you’ll be fascinated to hear that it wasn’t custard. It was a sour gel with a clear oil on top.”

Beale accused the corporation of serving “dessert with peas”, and “two yellow shafts of sponge” in what he described as a “culinary journey of hell”.

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