Saturday,24 March, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)
Saturday,24 March, 2018
Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Dining in the sky

A flying dinner table is turning dining out into an unforgettable experience, writes Omneya Yousry

Al-Ahram Weekly

Afraid of heights? Then the Dinner in the Sky is probably not for you. This new dining experience, offering customers a taste of the high life, is an extraordinary experiment that lets you dine in the sky. It allows 22 guests the chance to enjoy a fine meal 50 metres above the ground, transforming a social or business event into a magical moment that will be remembered forever.

The soft opening and first flight testing of the new concept took place in October last year at the Movenpick Resort & Spa in Gouna, a destination that can be visited all year round, and where the sea is never too cold to take a dip. A second test took place last summer in Porto Cairo, where it caught the eyes of Cairenes and attracted lots of adventurous clients.

Tickets are LE600 per person and include a meal cooked during the 45-minute flight. This year’s sky dinners are taking place at Porto Marina. The idea of sky restaurants was launched in 2006 by David Ghysels, a 49-year-old Belgium.

“This is the kind of surrealist story that Belgians love so much,” said Hassan Samy, Dinner in the Sky project manager for Egypt. “In 2006, Hakuna Matata, a communications agency specialising in gourmet pleasures, and the Fun Group, a company specialising in amusement parks, joined forces to make a child’s dream come true: a flying dinner table called Dinner in the Sky that allowed 22 young European restaurant owners to don their chef’s hats.”

He continued, “Dinner in the Sky has now crisscrossed the skies of 45 countries — in Europe, to be sure, but also in Australia, Japan, India, Dubai, South Africa, Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Canada, China and now Egypt.

“During this time we have arranged more than 5,000 events in cities from Paris to Las Vegas, as well as in Sydney, Cape Town, Dubai, Bogota and Sao Paulo. These events were unique and one of a kind. They were incredible dinners, of course — the event in the skies above Monaco for Prince Albert took place with France’s starred chef Joel Robuchon in command.”

Dinner in the Sky has been developed with safety and exclusivity in mind. “Safety is our foremost priority, and that’s why the tables are made according to German certification norms, one of the toughest safety certifications worldwide,” Samy said. Every aspect of the concept, from the seat belts for the guests to the type of crane used to suspend the table, has been scrutinised to ensure maximum safety for clients and staff.

“We want to provide our clients with the most exclusive experiences ever dreamt of in a totally safe way. This obsession with safety is probably one of the reasons why Dinner in the Sky is now operating in more than 40 countries,” he added.

In addition to the guest experience, Dinner in the Sky also has hundreds of square feet of advertising space, which makes it perfect for driving brand awareness. Another important issue is innovation.

“This had led us to develop a great many concepts allowing people to live their dreams. Innovation is why four years ago we also launched Meeting in the Sky, which gives companies the opportunity to organise product presentations, conferences, or meetings for up to 30 guests,” Samy said.

“Marriage in the Sky offers couples the opportunity to get married like they would in church or a mosque, with a priest or sheikh, witnesses, family members and friends, and an organ, but in the clouds and 50 metres above the ground. The platform can also be used for Swing in the Sky, which gives golfers the incredible experience of playing their swing from 50 metres up.”

According to Heba Bakr, a 35-year-old fashion designer, this is an experience everyone should try. “Dinner in the Sky not only lifted up our bodies but lifted our souls too,” she said. She recommended the event for its great service, people, atmosphere and unique concept. “Sincere congratulations on such an excellent result,” she added.

Hatem Al-Zoghby, a 28-year-old engineer, also enjoyed the experience of going to Dinner in the Sky in Porto Cairo with his family. “The wonder of having a gourmet dinner 50 metres up in the air overlooking Cairo at night was enchanting. The operators and wonderful chef truly made our trip one that we will never forget,” he said.

“It’s fantastic. Dinner in the Sky at the north coast was really great. I recommend it to everyone. It’s a bit scary to start with, but once you are up there it’s fine. Only people who are brave enough can join the club, though. Luckily, me and my wife are among those people,” said Fady Taha, a 32-year-old accountant.

The Dinner in the Sky operators are now seeking permission to make the sky above the Pyramids their next location. So, if you haven’t managed to catch the experience yet, there could soon be a new opportunity. This is an experience that is just a memory waiting to happen, and now is your turn to watch the clouds rolling over the skyline.

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