Airplane food might be a polarizing topic, but with so few passengers in the skies, it’s become a welcome meal for some on-the-ground diners in Israel. After air travel was halted at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Israeli catering company Tamam Kitchen, which supplies in-flight meals to airlines such as Turkish and El Al, flipped its business model, offering its menu items to the general public—a plan that’s been a hit for its affordability and convenience.
For as little as $3, customers can order pre-made dishes like chicken schnitzel in curry sauce, sweet potato ravioli, or fish cutlets in tomato sauce, neatly packaged in the individual containers you’d get on a flight. “It’s a simple food, not, you know, so fancy,” Tamam’s vice president of operations, Nimrod Demajo, told NPR, which initially reported the story. “You stick it in the microwave, warm it up for five minutes, and then you have a meal.”
Some customers are individuals—many of whom are senior citizens living in isolation—in search of easy eats. Others, including Israeli illusionist Uri Geller, are happy to help out a local company. And some customers are not individuals, but entire companies who are turning to Tamam to stock their cafeterias as other caterers go out of business. In total, Tamam sees about 100 orders per day.
Though the majority of Tamam’s employees are still furloughed, given that international airlift has not yet fully returned to Israel, the company’s delivery service has brought some chefs back into the kitchen—and it’s helping out its neighbors in need. “We have to rethink and reinvent ourselves,” Demajo told NPR. “We came up with this idea, and it was like, you know, like lightning strikes us.”