Etihad Airways, voted “World’s Leading Airline” by World Travel Awards, plans to transform inflight dining this year, with the introduction of qualified international chefs dedicated to food service excellence in its Diamond First class cabins.
The Chief Executive Officer of Etihad, James Hogan, said the introduction of this special new position on board Etihad flights represented a major departure from traditional inflight service and would cement Etihad’s position as one of the world’s most innovative airlines.
“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.
(The Etihad team, including CEO James Hogan and COO Peter Baumgartner celebrate their victory at World Travel Awards)
“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 our guests.”
Mr Hogan said the addition of this new position to its onboard professionals would elevate the dining experience for Etihad guests across the board.
“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.”
(James Hogan - the CEO of the world’s leading airline)
Etihad is recruiting 100 Chefs this year, and has already started looking for fully qualified professionals with formal culinary training and experience in esteemed 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 acclaimed chef Thomas Ulherr to the position of Corporate Executive Chef. Most recently, Thomas served as Senior Manager Catering and Executive Chef for Royal Jet. Among his numerous accolades, Thomas is a three time Gold Medal winner in the IKA Culinary Olympics.
The new Chef service will start to be introduced on selected routes from October and will be fully available on all flights offering First class by the end of the year.
Etihad was voted “Middle East’s Leading Airline” at 2011 World Travel Awards in Dubai earlier this month. This follows the Abu Dhabi based carrier picking up “World’s Leading Airline” at 2010 World Travel Awards.