You have to cre­ate wow fac­tors that make din­ing on­board an ex­pe­ri­ence

Onboard Hospitality - - In Conversation -

Gate­group is go­ing back to its roots and fo­cus­ing on food. Got­tfried Menge, vp group culi­nary ex­cel­lence, ex­plains how peo­ple are key

We're link­ing culi­nary ex­cel­lence with op­er­a­tional ex­cel­lence by in­vest­ing in peo­ple and equip­ment.

For ex­am­ple, Gate Gourmet is now work­ing with state-of-the-art ovens from Ra­tio­nal and hold­ing work­shops so that our chefs re­ally un­der­stand the po­ten­tial of the tech­nol­ogy. It's not just about put­ting the food in and press­ing a but­ton, we can pro­gramme these ovens to work for dif­fer­ent needs and we've even worked with Ra­tio­nal to de­velop an app which al­lows us to see the per­for­mance of our ovens across the world.

As proud as we are to be im­ple­ment­ing this fast-mov­ing tech­nol­ogy, Gate Gourmet is still a peo­ple busi­ness and we are in­vest­ing heav­ily in our staff.

We've hired new chefs across all re­gions, even re­cruit­ing from the Miche­lin-star field – chefs like Den­nis Pochert, the youngest ever Miche­lin-star chef in Switzer­land, who is now work­ing on menu de­vel­op­ment in our Zurich kitchen.

As well as an ex­ec­u­tive chef in ev­ery re­gion we now also have an op­er­a­tional ex­ec­u­tive chef who is re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing the over­all process.

Aware­ness through train­ing

It's hard to con­trol what hap­pens once our food is on­board but by hir­ing the right peo­ple and work­ing with crew to help them un­der­stand our meals we can pro­duce what peo­ple ex­pect these days, a restau­rant ex­pe­ri­ence in the sky.

We hold crew days and work­shops where chefs cre­ate and ex­plain the food in front of them. Any waiter is proud to serve food if they are em­pow­ered by knowl­edge about it.

We must not pun­ish those who can­not af­ford First! Don't serve a tray with 15 items which add up to noth­ing - you have to cre­ate wow fac­tors and make din­ing on­board an ex­pe­ri­ence. At Gate Gourmet we aim to cre­ate meals with at­mos­phere.

Be brave

The air­line in­dus­try is vul­ner­a­ble so risk tak­ing is not com­mon but we will never be scared of mak­ing changes and mov­ing for­ward. The Ab­so­lutely One con­cept for LATAM was un­charted ter­ri­tory – bring­ing a one plate restau­rant-style con­cept to its long haul Econ­omy – but this went on to win the On­board Hospi­tal­ity Awards Cater­ing In­no­va­tion award this year.

This is just the start of a jour­ney. We have ex­cit­ing and cre­ative man­age­ment and culi­nary is back at the fore­front of what we do - it's in our DNA.

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