By Andy Sambidge
UAE carrier starts onboard chefs initiative on London, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne routes
Chefs are now operating on Etihad Airways flights to London, Sydney, Melbourne and Paris for first class passengers, and will be introduced across other routes by early 2012, the carrier said on Tuesday.
The airline has hired nearly 110 chefs, many from Michelin-starred restaurants, since announcing in May it would introduce classically-trained international chefs in its Diamond First Class cabins.
They will also contribute to menu development for both lounges and flights, Etihad said in a statement.
Etihad Airways' chefs are provided with a pantry stocked with prime cuts of meat, sauces, par-cooked items, spices and freshly chopped vegetables.
The pantry allows them to prepare for service and personalise dishes in the same way as chefs in a restaurant kitchen.
The launch has also seen a redesign of the first class menu, now called The Mezoon Grille.
First class passengers can select from a menu of 4-6 proteins (160g portions of beef, chicken, lamb and seafood), four sauces and four side options, all prepared to order.
Lee Shave, Etihad Airways' vice president guest experience, said: "By introducing First Class Chefs and refocusing our unique Food and Beverage Managers in business class, Etihad Airways has created the most robust inflight culinary team in the skies.
"We have consistently elevated our inflight dining experience by putting culinary experts in airline roles as opposed to airline experts in culinary roles."
Etihad said it requires a minimum of six years of professional experience in five-star restaurants and hotels. Several come from Michelin-starred restaurants.
Remaining first class destinations to launch include Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Narita, Seoul, Brussels, Milan, Munich, Casablanca and New York.