For most, eating while flying means peanuts, pretzels and whatever food you bring on board yourself. Those lucky enough to get an in-flight meal have companies like LSG Sky Chefs to thank for their food. LSG Sky Chefs is a leader in the airline catering business, serving over 527 million meals to airline passengers in 2012, according to their website. Both men and women fulfill the roles of chef for LSG Sky Chefs, preparing food for airline passengers, as well as making food for train passengers, and school and medical catering.
Schooling You’ll Need
Chefs for LSG Sky Chefs need a specialized education in the culinary arts, including graduating from a culinary school or culinary degree program. You’ll also need a certified chef executive designation from an organization such as the American Culinary Foundation, the United States Chef Association, or the Professional Chefs Association. Continuing education may also be a part of your job, as LSG Sky Chefs sends its top chefs to workshops, seminars and conferences each year to learn about the latest trends and to pick up new ideas.
Skills You’ll Use
Many airlines want to give its passengers a worldly culinary experience no matter where they are flying to or from. So, depending on your specific training and skills, LSG Sky Chefs will assign you to a certain client or area of the world. For example, LSG Sky Chefs has formally trained sushi chefs working out of Germany to bring Japanese cuisine to European passengers. Whatever area of the world you’re assigned, you’ll need to become knowledgeable about local food customs. You’ll also have to learn what products are available locally and in season at any point during the year, so that you can plan your meals to use the freshest ingredients. You’ll need creativity, the ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines, problem-solving skills and a willingness to work in a team setting.
Tasks You’ll Tackle
As the title suggests, your main duties revolve around menu planning, food preparation and meal service. Chefs with LSG Sky Chefs work on customizable meals; pre-made food items for use in-flight and in retail; ethnic foods; kosher and halal preparation; and meals for special dietary requirements. Some airlines offer boxed meals and snacks instead of full hot meals, and you’ll help come up with the concepts, deciding what types of foods to put together for each type of box.
Other Responsibilities You’ll Have
You’ll also take on other tasks as a chef with LSG Sky Chefs, including managing and overseeing your kitchen. You’ll take part in the hiring of other support staff such as sous chefs and food preparers and may even provide on-the-job training in LSG Sky Chefs procedures and protocols. Other duties include quality control of the food products, sticking to a food budget when preparing foods, writing and updating catering menus and doing inventory.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images