Award winning Abu Dhabi based airline Etihad Airways is renowned for continually innovating service excellence in what is an extremely competitive race to the top.

From their ‘Flying Nanny program’ to renowned ‘The Residence’ with their personal butlers, Etihad’s ongoing commitment to best in class customer service and bringing to life their mantra of ‘Flying re-imagined’ is second to none.

But it’s their Inflight Chef program that really stands out versus their competitors as a key point of difference in the sky.

As major sponsors of the recent Taste of Sydney festival, 14 lucky Australian travel industry professionals got to meet Etihad Airways Inflight Chefs, Murray Reason and Shante Tenn, and take part in a Masterclass Workshop where they cooked up a mouthwatering inflight dish together.

Read all about it here and watch the video below.

The Etihad Airways Inflight Chef Program has over 200 classically trained Chefs from 35 countries working internationally on their long haul First Class sectors.

As an example of a typical long haul flight service (Ie: From Abu Dhabi to Sydney), an Inflight Chef might create a six or seven-course dinner, a swish breakfast and snacks in-between for each first-class customer on board.

All of the meals are cooked in a tight 65-square-foot galley space of an Etihad Airbus A380, which is a service that comes with its own set of unique airborne challenges.

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Etihad Airways Inflight Chef Murray Reason shares his expert tips at The Taste of Sydney Masterclass

Etihad Airways Inflight Chef, Murray Reason explains:

“It is a challenge, but one we Inflight Chefs love to solve. For example, for safety reasons, we’re unable to use any open flames when cooking but we do have a range of other devices like convection stove tops, steamers and toasters just like in a real kitchen.”

“You have to be creative in working with these limitations and design the inflight menu accordingly but at the end of the day, it’s what we prepare and how we serve an inflight meal to a guest that matters most.

“Fresh, seasonal ingredients are key and beautiful plating is also crucial.”

Etihad Airways Inflight Chef, Murray Reason

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Being understanding of customers sense of taste at altitude and under cabin pressure is another crucial factor the Inflight Chefs must be sensitive to.

Hong Kong based Etihad Airways In-flight Chef Yazan Abu Ghazaleh says;

“We aim to prepare healthy, tasty meals for our guests, so we avoid over seasoning with salt and pepper, for example. I typically use a variety of different ingredients and pairings to enhance the flavour. In my travels, I’m able to visit many food markets in different countries and have fantastic access to a variety of spices and sauces. It’s the new flavours from these spices and sauces that inspire me to create new combinations.”

Only individuals with at least six years’ experience on a cruise line, at a luxury hotel or in a fine restaurant are eligible to be hired as an Etihad Inflight Chef.

Successful candidates must also have exemplary customer service skills, as a key element of the Inflight Chef experience is the conversation the chefs have with passengers on how they would like their food prepared and the best wine-pairing options.

Would you like to sample the Etihad Airways Inflight Chef experience? Or have you been lucky enough to already? Share your thoughts below.