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Kenzo Modugno F&B Manager, Etihad Airways

Hub Events

Kenzo Modugno F&B Manager, Etihad Airways

Born and raised in Luxembourg with Italian heritage, Kenzo has been an F&B Manager with Etihad Airways since 2015. He is a hospitality expert with experience of working in the best hotels and restaurants around the world.
He will guide you through our dine on demand concept with our various menu options and recommend the perfect accompaniment for your meal, whether that is a refreshing mocktail or a glass of wine from our boutique cellar.
Kenzo accumulated his service skills through training received at five-star hotels including Four Seasons, St Regis and Sofitel. Valedictorian of his class at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, after meeting an Etihad recruiter at the university, he knew where he wanted to be.

Can you tell us a bit about your background as an F&B Manager?

From a young age, I enjoyed travelling with my parents and eating out at fine dining restaurants. Through my own experiences, I found myself passionate about service and minute detail. This is what spurred me to attend a hotel management school, to immerse myself in the industry from an early start. At the same time I studied accounting and finance in order to receive further understanding of business operations. Moreover, through the years my passion for wines increased which drove me to specialise in wines and spirits before joining Etihad Airways.

What is your day-to-day role with Etihad Airways?

I am responsible for ensuring our guests in Business Class receive a memorable dining experience. As the menus change regularly, I prepare myself by reviewing the major ingredients and cooking methods in order to propose the best-tailored recommendations for our guests. This includes wine pairing recommendations as I also provide a sommelier service. But it does not stop there. I try my best to ensure our guests have an outstanding and relaxing stay on board so that they arrive well rested at their travel destination. Furthermore, hospitality and sommelier coaching for my colleagues is an important part of my job, which I take great pride in.

How did you become an F&B Manager at Etihad Airways?

With a passion for travelling and food, when I met the Etihad recruiter at Les Roches, I knew this was the role for me. To travel for my career has opened the door for me to try unique cuisines across the globe. It is a rare opportunity and one I am thankful for.

What is greatest challenge of being an F&B Manager on board? How is it different to being on the ground?

The biggest challenge for me on board is the limited space that we have. I was used to spacious kitchens and service stations, whereas now I have a small station where I have to work in such a way to be quick, precise and safe. Turbulence can be unexpected and needs to be considered when planning service in order to keep the team safe.

When interacting with your guests onboard, what do you look for?

The most important is to understand that every guest has different preferences and expectations. The goal is to exceed those expectations and to create ‘wow’ moments. Whenever I am dealing with our guests, I want to ensure my service has made them go ‘wow’. It is by having an eye for the little things and paying attention to detail that I aim to achieve this goal. For example, on a flight from Zurich to Abu Dhabi, I briefed the crew about the importance of serving our guests that are travelling together in a synchronised manner, as any fine dining establishment would. On this same flight, in the middle of the lunch service one of our guests was so impressed by our service delivery that he said loudly ‘wow’ to his wife when we delivered his main course in a French service style. For me, that was one of the most memorable experiences. Not only was our guest impressed but the crew felt extremely encouraged to continuously offer a high level of service to our guests to achieve the same results.

What is the best thing about being a Food and Beverage Manager?

The opportunity to taste and travel the world while working in a restaurant in the clouds. We’re a global airline servicing destinations around the world and those adventures continue to inspire the food and dishes we serve.

How does the design of onboard menus differ to those from regular restaurants?
When it comes to crafting the onboard menu, we have a highly skilled culinary team who work continuously in designing menus that are suitable for every destination. We set our quality standard so that all catering companies we work with around the world comply with our quality standard as well as our food philosophy. In the end, we want to deliver the same consistent dining experience in every destination our passengers fly across our network.

How often does the menu change?
In First Class, an enhanced canapé service is offered with the aperitif after take-off. Our ‘A la carte’ menu offers dishes influenced by high-end restaurants around the world, as well as Emirati traditional dishes on board to promote the tastes of Abu Dhabi to a global audience.
In Business Class, our menus are inspired by modern bistros from around the world and feature dynamic menu items prepared with fresh and seasonal ingredients. Our ‘Dine Anytime’ menu offers a three-course dining experience with a wide range of options to suit any taste or mood. Among the four main courses, we offer a Gulf-inspired recipe, three different types of protein and a vegetarian delicacy. There is also a selection of fine desserts, cheeses and nibbles available to accompany an extensive beverage list.

All our menus are also influenced by the destinations we fly to, keeping in mind the high quality and seasonality of the produce.

Our menus change every 2-3 months