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A female chef prepares food in a kitchen infront of cameras. Hari Ghotra is Global Food and Beverage Manager at Virgin Atlantic
Podcast / Career Conversations
Podcast / Career Conversations

Creating menus for Virgin Atlantic at 35,000 feet

“I literally have the best job in the world,” says Hari Ghotra, Food and Beverage Development (Global Lead) at Virgin Atlantic. “I get to travel a lot, meet some amazing chefs, and eat some incredible food.”

It’s hard to argue with that assessment. If you love food and love travel, this is up there as one of the dream jobs.

Added to that, Hari is also a hugely successful cook, author and entrepreneur, founding the biggest Indian food digital platform in the UK

Her book “Indian for Everyone: 100 Easy, Healthy Dishes the Whole Family Will Love” is proving extremely popular too.

Hari’s job at Virgin Atlantic sees her travelling all around the world, working with caterers, and trying to find the best food to serve in the air.

She manages the menus on all inbound flights to the UK and goes to painstaking lengths to make sure that what is served meets the needs of the passengers and crew.

There are certain challenges to serving 300 meals at 35,000-feet, not least the way our taste palates change at altitude.

There’s also limited equipment to contend with on a plane, and the pure logistics of trying to serve hundreds of meals very quickly in a small space.

Hari and her team go through hours and hours of testing to get the best results. “It is personal,” she says. “The chefs that I work with take it personally if something they’ve created doesn’t come across how they want it to be or if a customer isn’t happy.”

Listen to the full episode to find out how she launched her own business, why she believes loving what you do is the key to success, and why certain wines taste better than others when you’re in the air.

Hari Ghotra, Food and Beverage Development (Global Lead), Virgin Atlantic

Hari Ghotra’s website and social platforms feature hundreds of easy to follow recipes, videos, articles and live weekly cooking sessions that attract a global audience. Her community App is a real time location with a thriving community of food lovers who share pictures and ideas, it’s a place Hari communicates with her followers daily.

She is also the global food and beverage manager for Virgin Atlantic where she manages a number of separate catering units across the world. The catering units are responsible for producing the in flight food for the airline for flights returning to the UK. The role includes managing the Virgin Atlantic food proposition for each of the cabins, the equipment the food is served on, food safety, budget as well as managing the day to day issues.

Having trained as a Biologist at the University of Bath she went on to work for Unilever as a food microbiologist. Hari went on to undertake a Masters in Marketing management for food and drinks related industries at Cranfield School of Management and secured a position on the Tesco graduate training scheme. After 14 years with Tesco PLC working in a number of different disciplines, she went on to create her food business Hari Ghotra.

She then trained at Michelin-starred Tamarind of Mayfair to understand the restaurant world and now contributes to many publications, creates engaging online content and works with many different brands.

Raised in an environment where food played a central role in family life, Hari learned to cook amazing dishes from her mother. Hari quickly understood the difficulty people feel when preparing Indian food at home so continues her work to be the conduit between cookbooks, TV and actually cooking with you, in your home, through her digital presence.

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