Chef Gurpreet Sadyora’s cool job brings travel and food together

An in-flight chef since 2012, Gurpreet Sadyora is shaping the culinary landscape 35,000 ft. above land. Thanks to Etihad Airways, the spirited young chef’s job is straight out of the career dreams of a five-year-old (travelling and whipping up meals is just as good as it sounds).

The 30-year-old New Delhi native is known for her signature tandoori kebabs in the first class cabins and three-room suites called The Residence, on selected flights via Etihad Airways. Not only this, but Chef Gurpreet promises to wow you with the best culinary experience based on your personal health preferences, with a tailor-made meal on your future travels with Etihad Airways. We caught up with the globe-trotting chef to understand how she pulls it off.

ELLE: What inspired you to become a chef?

Chef Gurpreet Sadyora: Growing up, my interests have been deeply rooted in the culinary industry; I have always thoroughly enjoyed cooking for friends and family. My passion for cooking is what led me to this profession, so being a chef was an easy career choice for me. 

Over the years, my affinity for travelling grew along with my love for cooking. That’s when I thought to myself, what better way to integrate the two than working with an airline?

Etihad Airways’ in-flight dining in First Class and The Residence

ELLE: Being a chef isn’t easy, let alone be one 35,000ft mid-air. Let us in on a challenge you faced while on the job. How do you overcome those challenges?

CGS: Cooking is my true passion, so that helps me grow everyday as a chef and think fast on my feet. Nevertheless, there are some limitations while working in a confined space. My biggest one is being unable to use a flame while cooking, but thankfully it can be overcome by the use of uncommon equipment provided to us onboard.

ELLE: Is there a myth about your job you’d like to bust?

CGS: It’s a myth that airline food comes with lots of imitations. On Etihad Airways, while the menus are predetermined, we use our creativity to provide a fully personalised in-flight dining experience. In fact, we prepare tailor-made meals for guests, in the first class and The Residence cabins, on select flights. 

Chef Gurpreet Sadyora

ELLE: What’s your go-to dish that never fails to impress passengers?

CGS: The most popular Indian dishes on-board Etihad Airways have been Tandoori Kebabs and Indian Chaat itemsthese dishes have not only been popular among the Indian guests but have also featured in menus on flights to Europe. Chicken biryani, chicken tikka, and masala dosa are few other popular Indian dishes served on-board. 

ELLE: What are the five things that you must have in your pantry at all times?

CGS: Five things that I need to have in my galley at all times are: A spice kit, a protein box, herbs, gloves, and a food and equipment carts.

ELLE: What are some of the differences between cooking for in-flight meals vs cooking at a restaurant?

CGS: We don’t get to have one-on-one interactions with the guests, working in a hotel or a restaurant. On flights, I really enjoy talking to every single one of our guests, understanding what they want and being able to provide them with a dining experience of their choice, which keeps me motivated. This combined with the appreciation we get for the meals, makes it a much more satisfying experience than at a restaurant.   

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