Etihad Airways is intending to transform its in-flight dining, with the introduction of international chefs serve up menus in its Diamond First class cabins.
The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan said the introduction of this new position on board Etihad flights represented a major departure from traditional in-flight service.
“This development will enable us to offer a five-star restaurant style of service in the sky, with our First class guests receiving unparalleled attention and choice – for example, the opportunity of having their personal chef tailor make dishes based on their individual tastes and preferences,” Hogan said.
“We know how important the in-flight dining experience is to our guests, which is why we have invested consistently in this area, benchmarking our food and beverage selection and service outside the airline industry and against the most outstanding examples from the global hospitality industry.
“The introduction of our food and beverage managers, recruited globally from hotels and restaurants, serves as an example of this, as is the introduction of our highly successful Inspired Service concept across all aircraft cabins.
“We will, however continue to push the boundaries so that we continue to impress and surprise our guests. The introduction of highly skilled chefs will enable us to make a dramatic shift in the way we serve them.”
Hogan said the addition of this new position to its onboard professionals would elevate the dining experience for Etihad passengers.
“In addition to this onboard role, chefs will contribute to menu development for both lounges and flights in order to orchestrate a more consistent culinary experience for our guests, whether on ground or in air.
“This innovation will also enable us to dedicate our highly esteemed Food and Beverage Managers to Pearl Business class, enabling us to offer an enhanced service in that cabin also.”
Etihad is recruiting 100 chefs this year, and has already started looking for professionals with formal culinary training and experience in hotels, restaurants and culinary institutions from around the world.
To oversee the introduction, training and ongoing quality control of the onboard chefs, Etihad has appointed chef Thomas Ulherr to the position of Corporate Executive Chef. Most recently, Chef Thomas served as Senior Manager Catering and Executive Chef for Royal Jet.
The new chef service will be introduced progressively on selected routes from October this
year and will be available on all flights offering First class by the end of 2011.