Etihad Airways set a world precedent when it recruited over 100 classically trained chefs to work in its first class cabins just over two years ago.
With the introduction of the luxurious three-room living space The Residence on the airline’s upcoming A380s, VIP guests will now be able to enjoy the services of a private on-board chef with access to a customisable menu and the ability to pre-order preferred meals and drinks.
Calum Laming, Vice President, Guest Experience, Etihad Airways, says: “All of our chefs have come from five-star establishments, they already have the qualified background and we don’t really need to train them to cook because they already have those skills.
“Therefore, we focus on enhancing their service skills. The chefs go out and engage with the guest, they establish what the guest wants to eat..”
Laming says Etihad Airways chefs are given the freedom to create individualised dishes meet their guests’ tastes.
“The chefs have flexibility with the equipment; they can use a cognac glass to make a dessert, for example. It’s important that our onboard VIP guests are not limited only to the menu.
“We make whatever the guest wants in most cases. The creation and the ‘wow factor’ is there – this is what the guest wants.
“For The Residence guests, for example, we create a menu that is customised just for them. If the guest desires caviar, scallops, lobster or Cristal champagne we can preorder,” explains Laming.
The VP says Etihad Airways private chefs have access to five different grills. The food comes pre-cooked but can be perfected to taste in the on-board oven.
“If you want a salad with chicken breast, we can do that. If you want a steak sandwich, we can do that and add a few other sides. We also have gluten-free and organic range. That’s the whole ethos – to give the customer exactly what they want,” says Laming.
Guests staying onboard The Residence will also be granted the dedicated services of Savoy-trained butler, who can deliver customised dishes with a silver service flourish.