Etihad to launch in-flight chef service

Etihad to launch in-flight chef service

Travelers flying in the Diamond First Class cabin of Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, will soon be able to enjoy an unparalleled in-flight dining experience thanks to the airline's decision to hire a legion of chefs to prepare meals onboard, reports SkyClub News.

Under Etihad's new dining program, chefs will join the first class cabin crew on every flight operated by the airline. Rather than simply re-heating frozen meals that had been prepared ahead of time, they will cook dishes to order using raw ingredients, incorporating feedback and requests of individual passengers. This in-flight cooking represents a significant departure from standard dining protocol on other airlines, helping Etihad set itself apart from the competition in the luxury air travel market.

"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 particular tastes and preferences," said James Hogan, the chief executive officer of Etihad.

"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," Hogan continued.

The carrier is currently in the process of recruiting more than 100 chefs to participate in the program, specifically searching for those with formal culinary training and experience at hotels or restaurants.

Moreover, famed chef Thomas Ulherr has been named the program's executive chef. Ulherr, who has won three gold medals at the IKA Culinary Olympics, will supervise the training of new chefs and the overall quality of the in-flight dining experience.

In addition to preparing cooked-to-order dishes while in the air, the new array of chefs will also design and execute a range of delicious meals that will be served in Etihad's premium lounges at airports around the world.

The new service is expected to be introduced in the Diamond First Class cabin on select routes starting this October. By the end of 2011, in-flight chefs are expected to join the first class cabin crew on all routes featuring the top-of-the-line section.

By Christopher Straub

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