Review: Amtrak reinvents ‘traditional’ dining car meals | trains

Ride with ‘Southwest Chief’ kitchen staff reveals upgraded quality and presentation

By Bob Johnston | July 26, 2021

First of two parts

Chef Frank Villasenor grills a flatiron steak. He has observed improving food quality and freshness with the new menu selections. (Bob Johnston)

ABOARD THE SOUTHWEST CHIEF — A month after Amtrak revamped dining-car menus on the five long-distance trains that serve the West Coast — replacing pre-packaged meals in a bowl with freshly-prepared breakfasts, lunches, and dinners — it’s clear the company is aiming for a higher standard than what it previously offered.

“I was really surprised,” observes Chef Frank Villasenor, who, with Food Specialist Brian Garrigues, is manning the Southwest Chief’s kitchen, on the lower level of the Superliner dining car, out of Chicago on July 22.

“This is a step above where I thought we would go, especially with the direction we were going.”

Source: Review: Amtrak reinvents ‘traditional’ dining car meals – Trains