Etihad Airways to give passengers personal onboard chef

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Passengers traveling in Etihad Airways first-class section will get their own personalized chefs onboard in an in-flight dining program designed to be a "five-star restaurant" in the sky.

The national carrier of the United Arab Emirates plans to launch its new first-class menu on select routes in October and give passengers their own onboard chef who can customize meals according to their preferences.

The introduction of professional onboard chefs has become a growing trend among airlines which are constantly trying to up the ante in in-flight dining.

Turkish Airlines, for instance, provides a "Flying Chef" service on some of its international routes like Hong Kong-Istanbul and Istanbul-New York.

BusinessFirst passengers on Continental Airlines flights from Mumbai to New York also dined on meals prepared by a top Indian chef in 2009.

Etihad is currently on an international hiring spree for the new program first unveiled in May and is planning to build a team of a hundred professional chefs from starred hotels, restaurants and culinary institutions around the world.

Chefs will work under the direction of Thomas Ulherr, a three-time gold medal winner of the IKA Culinary Olympics.

According to industry trade publication Big Hospitality, the new menu will also emphasize the use of fresh ingredients and encourage chefs to be more adventurous in developing the revamped in-flight service.

Last month, Spanish airline Iberia also announced a new Mediterranean-themed in-flight catering service developed by some of the country's top Michelin-starred chefs like Paco Roncero of Madrid's La Terraza del Casin; Ramón Freixa of Ramón Freixa Madrid; Caceres chef Toño Pérez of Atrio; and Malaga's Dani García, chef at Calima restaurant in Marbella.

Air France has also tapped into its domestic culinary talent pool, recruiting celebrity chefs like Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon to help promote its in-flight dining program.

http://www.etihadairways.com/sites/etihad/us/en/home/pages/home.aspx

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