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Redefining In-Flight Catering

Executive Chef Sal Lano – New York / New Jersey

Executive Chef Sal Lano

Today we are bringing Executive Chef Sal Lano into the spotlight. Sal has been on our New York / New Jersey team for over six and a half years. Learn more about him and his culinary influences you will find in the New York / New Jersey Regional Menu in the interview below.

Hi Sal, we all know you have been the executive chef in Teterboro for quite a while, but how long have you been in the industry?

Hard to believe, but it has been 26 years now.

What made you decide to become an executive chef?

I started my career when I was 16 and wanted to get a part-time job. My family had friends who owned a restaurant and I started as a dishwasher. Then I got promoted to be their salad guy, then again to the hot area. They then gave me a recommendation letter for college.

Sounds like you have truly found your passion! Where did you attend culinary school?

I am a proud Culinary Institute of America (CIA) graduate.

Being a seasoned chef, do you have anything you would call your specialty?

In the in-flight catering realm we cook such a wide variety of cuisine that it is hard to pick just one specialty. If I really had to choose just one thing, I would say hard-boiled eggs. You may not realize it, but it takes a true level of artistry to do them right.

Looking back on your career, what would you say had been a highlight?

I have been invited to be the executive chef at the James Beard House Dinner twice. This is a highly-prestigious event in which they invite chefs from outside to be their chef for the evening. Admittance is by prepaid ticket only, so it is pretty exclusive to attend as a diner.

Which business aviation conventions and tradeshows do you attend?

As much as I would love to attend one of the shows, we are always busy, so I have not yet had the chance.

What is your favorite destination?

Hawaii, without a doubt!

What are your favorite cuisines and restaurants in the world?

The local flavors of Hawaii are amazing. In Aruba, I have had the best steak ever.

What is your favorite hometown food?

I enjoy going to Jackson Hole Burgers or a local sushi bar, like Yukihan. As much as I love fine dining, I’m just as happy with casual dining.

What are your favorite items on your regional menu?

My sandwiches; I themed them after the Sopranos. Even though the show is over, it is still very popular and the setting was in our city. I created the “Bada Bing Sandwich” with chorizo, Serrano ham and cured pork lion since the Sopranos ran out of a butcher store.

What are some activities you would suggest for a member of the business aviation community visiting your city for the first time?

Visit the city and see a show and dinner. There are so many to choose from based on what you like, you are sure to have a great time.

Any tips for helping a corporate flight attendant visiting your city for the first time?

Visit Chinatown and Little Italy to experience the areas of concentrated culture. There you will come across locally-owned shops, restaurants and things you will not find anywhere else.

What do you feel are important skills for anyone interested in in-flight catering as a career?

You have to be adjustable. You have to be able to rearrange your day at a moment’s notice; it is never set in stone. You definitely have to be open to other people’s ideas and preferences. You have to be able to follow custom recipes your clients provide and not adjust them based on how you think it should be. Always provide the client what they asked for.

What tips would you give someone placing an in-flight catering order for the first time?

Speak directly to us. You can reach us at +1 (201) 641-6006. Our phones are always on.

Do you have questions for Sal or about in-flight catering in the New York / New Jersey area?

Contact him at slano@airculinaire.com.

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