Five Minutes With: Emirates Flight Catering executive sous chef

Five Minutes With: Emirates Flight Catering executive sous chef
Alexandre Szkaradkiewicz
Published: 16 January 2020 - 6 a.m.
By: Claudia De Brito

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in hospitality?
When I was younger, I was studying to become a physiotherapist in Paris and took a job as a barman. It was my first experience in hospitality, and I loved it. I was fascinated by the kitchen. But I was a bit scared by the level of dedication and sacrifices it took to become a great chef. I finally chose to make the leap into the culinary world, and started working in the kitchen at 21 years old, extremely determined, and with a clear goal and vision in mind.

What would you say are three key things that have made you successful?
For me, it was having a vision, and believing in it. This was the key factor that kept me on track throughout my career. My wife and kids have also brought me the strength to always stay positive and thankful.

What is the main challenge you face in your role and how do you overcome it?
Sometimes, I wish I had a clone. There are so many fascinating projects to work on, and everyday is a new challenge, a new mission, and new people to meet and work with along the way. I am part of a great team of amazing chefs from around the globe. Each of them have very different backgrounds and personalities and we all support each other, and this makes us stronger.

On average, how many meals are prepared each day?
Emirates Flight Catering whips up an average of 225,000 meals a day, and this number continues to increase. During Expo 2020 Dubai, it will certainly reach over 300,000 per day.

What is a surprising fact about Emirates Flight Catering that you can share?
Emirates Flight Catering recently switched on a solar farm that generates clean electricity and reduces EKFC’s carbon dioxide emissions by 3 million kilogram annually - the equivalent of the annual electricity use of 518 family homes. Sustainability and environmental responsibility are top priorities for EKFC and we are constantly looking at ways we can introduce new processes and initiatives to help reduce our carbon footprint.

What are the elements that make Emirates Flight Catering stand out from its competitors?
Its people. From our CEO, Saeed Mohammed, to each and every employee, there is a great culture of teamwork and excellence.

Is it becoming easier to source good ingredients? Why/why not?
Yes, Dubai is one of the world’s leading hospitality hubs. The resources, suppliers and technologies available are making everything possible.

What are some trends that you see emerging in in-flight catering?
More than a trend, it is a global awareness to operate with greater sustainability and environmental stewardship. It is our responsibility to future generations to work in a way that reduces our impact on the planet.

Do you have any upcoming projects or new launches you can tell us about?
Yes, Emirates Flight Catering will play a major role in the Expo 2020 culinary experience.
A lot of exciting projects are being developed with the teams, and everyone is really excited to be part of this historic event.

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