Business aviation in-flight catering provider Air Chef Holdings has rebranded all of its divisions under one new name, Air Culinaire Worldwide (Booth No. 3024) and moved its headquarters earlier this month from Columbus, Ohio, to Tampa, Fla. Air Chef was founded in Columbus in 2000 by Paul Schweitzer, Air Culinaire’s current president, after he departed from NetJets as its vice president of vendor services. While at NetJets, he observed that the business aviation catering business was “fragmented,” so he formed Air Chef to help consolidate this segment.
At 41,000 feet, catered meals are a pleasant diversion, no matter the length of the flight. London caterer Alison Price On Air has set its aims just a bit higher than a pleasant diversion. Maybe a lot higher.
The London-based business aviation catering start-up is new to business aviation, but its parent company, Alison Price & Company, is well known in London’s corporate and social circles for its high-end cuisine and service at such events as Sir Elton John’s 50th birthday party, and at such venues as Kensington Palace and Lords cricket ground.
Universal Weather and Aviation (Stand 7091) has acquired in-flight catering and concierge group Air Chef Holdings for an undisclosed price. Air Chef, which provides catering for charter operators, corporate flight departments, fractional operators, flight attendants and FBOs, now is a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal.
While the faltering economy may demand cost-cutting measures, caterers have not abandoned creativity.
Chef Rob Sobkowski at Silver Lining in Pompano, Fla., recently created cupcakes with the face of the client’s new baby. Sobkowski also happens to hold the world record for the largest Mickey Mouse made of popcorn. “If it’s not on the menu,” said Silver Lining director of marketing and sales Kris Goodman, “we’ll make it.”
While much of the business aviation industry remains mired in a slumping economy, Air Culinaire has just expanded to a new location in Signature Flight Support at Memphis International Airport, bringing to 85 the total number of airports served by the Arlington, Va.-based caterer.
Naples, Fla., is the site for Air Chef’s 14th business aircraft catering facility in 11 metropolitan areas. The 2,500-sq-ft kitchen, said president Paul Schweitzer, is distinguished by a “collection of fine wines.” The Naples location marked the third opening of a new Air Chef catering kitchen this year. Two new facilities in Chicago were launched in June.
Air Chef, launched just two years ago, is bidding to become the premier business aviation caterer in the U.S., and it is making plans to expand abroad as well. The company, headquartered in the Columbus, Ohio suburb of Worthington, was the brainchild of president Paul Schweitzer and CEO Scott Liston, who created the business plan and raised the outside capital.
Business jet passengers and crews who move regularly through the Carolinas will discover a new business aviation caterer at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Flight services specialist Universal Weather & Aviation selected Air Chef as the preferred business aviation caterer for its clients at four U.S. locations: Dallas and Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and South Florida. Columbus, Ohio-based Air Chef provides training and standardized menus to approved kitchens at 15 locations nationwide and expects to add another 20 locations by the end of the year.
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