Before jetting off on their first flight duty, every new Singapore Airlines cabin crew goes through a four-month training programme. The SIA Training Centre, where classes are held, is almost like a campus – but one with extremely well-groomed “students” in full makeup, and not a hair out of place.
Learning continues past the trainee stage, as cabin crew return regularly for company-sponsored self-directed courses that all of them are encouraged to attend.
Besides learning about the history of wine and cheese, and picking up pointers such as how to differentiate brie from camembert, they are also given tips on presenting a good cheese board onboard the aircraft.
“The course will equip cabin crew with a better understanding of wine and cheese, so they can engage passengers onboard in better conversations while they are on duty,” says instructor Reuben Tang, a wine-and-cheese specialist from The Cellar Door.
During the full-day course, Tang introduces almost 20 types of cheese with condiments such as honeycomb and kaya (coconut jam), which he pairs with blue cheese to encourage those who tend to avoid the pungent variation.
Leading Stewardess Stephanie Lim, who is also a member of Singapore Airlines’ Wine Appreciation Group, chose to attend the course as it complements her role as an air sommelier.
“We are expected to be able to recommend suitable food and wine pairings to our passengers. With the growing interest in cheese appreciation, some passengers expect us to have a certain level of knowledge, so we are able to share with them about various pairings,” she says.
Besides being able to travel to several cities in a month, Lim also appreciates the endless opportunities for self-development at Singapore Airlines.
“There are a lot of courses to choose from, covering topics such as announcements, gastronomy, leadership and personnel management. Attending courses like these help me perform better at work,” she adds.
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings