Here in a small test kitchen on a dead-end street downtown, some of the food world’s greatest minds are at work. Their task might seem impossible, but they believe they can make a difference for millions of Amtrak riders, one roasted chicken at a time.

Amtrak has gone gourmet — or at least it’s trying to. In exchange for frequent traveler miles, the rail agency has hired some of the most accomplished chefs in the country, who come together each spring to brainstorm new dishes for Amtrak’s menus.

… But even the most talented chefs admit that improving Amtrak’s food offerings can be an uphill climb. Like airlines back in the days when they actually offered meals to everyone, trains face particular logistical challenges.