Austrian Airlines Onboard Chef Video

While not new, I was pointed to an interesting video about Austrian’s inflight catering today:

Unfortunately the video is in German. As I’ve said a dozen times before, if there’s one reason to learn German it’s because of all of the awesome airline themed documentaries there are, especially about Lufthansa. I’ve posted lots of them over the years.

Clearly the video is at least a few years old, though it’s still rather interesting. For one, it shows just how ugly Austrian’s cabins and uniforms are. Austrian is one of my favorite airlines to fly in business class, though my gosh, between the colors of the seats and the colors of the uniforms, I’m happy I never flew their old cabin. At least their new cabins are less aesthetically offensive.

Austrian’s new Boeing 777-200 business class cabin

Austrian isn’t the only airline to have an onboard chef. Turkish has one in business class as well, and Etihad has one in first class.

And there’s no doubt Austrian does have phenomenal catering, among my favorite in the sky. It’s done by DO & CO, which I find to be the best catering kitchen of inflight meals. Austrian’s business class service is really much like first class on other airlines, given that each course is plated at your seat to your specifications. I really enjoyed my flight on them in business class from Vienna to Tokyo Narita last year.

Austrian business class starter

Austrian business class main course

Austrian business class dessert

The irony is that while the food is great, I find it has almost nothing to do with the onboard chef. The concept as such is complete puffery, in my experience. It’s not like the chef is actually “cooking” aboard, but rather he’s just responsible for prepping the food, which a well trained crew could do just as well.

I’ve flown Etihad Airways first class twice from Abu Dhabi to New York, once with an onboard chef and once without an onboard chef. And there’s no doubt that the one with the onboard chef was better, because he asked how I wanted things prepared. But still, ultimately that’s no different than Asiana, where I’ve even been asked how I wanted my steak cooked without an onboard chef.

Anyway, I believe 90% of the credit for Austrian’s great inflight catering goes to DO & CO, while maybe 10% goes to the onboard chef.

For those of you that have taken a flight with an onboard chef, what was your experience?

And for anyone that speaks German (or finds the language sexy — said no one ever) and wants to spend their Saturday watching German airline documentaries, here are a few of my favorites:

This one follows a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 around the world in 66 hours:

This one is about a female Lufthansa A380 pilot:

This one is about the training for someone to become a Condor 757 pilot:

This one follows the cockpit of a Lufthansa 747 from Frankfurt to Los Angeles:

(Tip of the hat to @FlyingDutchBlog)

Filed Under: Austrian, Videos
  1. JFI, the chef actually is employed by Do&Co and not by Austrian (or Turkish if it’s on Turkish).
    Not that it matters much, but it’s still interesting, I guess.

  2. I thought the catering on Austrian was fantastic….. and not sure that I really care why… but the chef– he had the hat! and a funky flourescent euro-watch! That was worth it right there….

  3. @Charlies, perhaps if you love whips and chains. It’s been well demonstrated in literature that love poems do not work in German. Just force your way through the Sturm & Drang period and you may end up committing suicide (thanks Lotte!).

  4. Is there a big difference in quality of DO & CO food on Austrian between short- and long-haul flights? Wasn’t very impressed by the food on an OS DME-VIE flight (obviously, no chef); much preferred food on LX PRG-ZRH flight even though OS flight was almost 3 times longer.

  5. I agree that the old cabins were ugly, but there is nothing wrong with the new ones. They look just fine. Not sure what you find wrong there. If you want to talk ugly uniforms try Alitalia and even Lufthansa has no style. You must have a problem with the color red.

  6. I find that the chefs on OS (courtesy of DO&CO) make a big difference, even if much of the prep has been done on the ground. The food arrives at the right temperature, not overcooked (a common hazard with those onboard convection ovens), and well-presented. Contrast that with EY’s ill-trained chefs in first, who manage to make things taste worse (biriyani should NOT come drowning in vinegar-y chili sauce), deliver lukewarm soup, and generally add little value. Note that OS also gives the chef a space to work. The EY galley consists of some pull-out trays at the bulkhead.

    I like the new OS color scheme, which was carried over from Tyrolean, which operates OS flights due to a long-running feud involving the OS union.

    If only OS would change those all-red (including the shoes!) FA uniforms. The FAs look like devotees of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

  7. @ Ivan Y — I find their shorthaul catering to be excellent as well. Admittedly longhaul catering is better, but I’ve always found shorthaul to be better than average as well.

  8. @ Michael — Didn’t have anything negative to say about the new product. But the uniforms I just can’t deal with.

  9. I flew with Austrian a couple of months ago VIE-PEK. The food quality was excellent as I expected, except that they didn’t offer any light bites between two meals. In terms of the on board chef, well he, along with all the other crew working in the business cabin, wasn’t very impressive. I guess at least one of the reasons to have the chef is to add some nice personal touches to the dinning experience, which unfortunately wasn’t lacking on that flight. The chef appears to me as just another flight attendant who dressed like a chef. I was actually wondering if he was changing between the two uniforms.

  10. I LOVE OS! I will miss that USDMiles is no longer *A. The new OS biz class is FAB! Love you Austrian!!!

  11. Wirklich toll wie Austrian probiert sich zu verbessern. Im 90-er jähren war das Essen fast unmöglich. Ein bissen schwierig zu verstehen mit diesen Accent (: auf ganz ein anderes Fach, ich hab gesehen aufs Netz das Emirates jetzt ,,Motorboot Chauffeur” hat wenn man in Venice fliegt. Das müssen sie wirklich probieren, na ja?

  12. Really enjoyed the videos, but maybe some links to the “awesome airline themed documentaries”, please ?

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