This Catering Company Is Serving Lavish Feasts on Private Jets

A former flight attendant started a private jet catering company based in Frederick

Young Park started her private-jet catering company in Seoul, then moved it to Frederick. Photographs courtesy of Young Park.
Young Park spent most of her career as a flight attendant, first for commercial planes, then on private jets. As part of her duties, she’d sometimes find herself preparing California sushi rolls midair for her clients, who included heads of state and Fortune 500 execs. If the plane had a convection oven, she’d even bake bread.

In the run-up to the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, Park knew a large number of private flights would be coming and going from the country. So the Korean native started her own private jet catering company in Seoul with a professional chef. The business was just taking off when the pandemic halted it, but Park has recently rebuilt the enterprise in Frederick, where she now lives. She named her venture First Chime, after the sound that indicates it’s safe for flight attendants to move about the cabin.

Feeding people at 35,000 feet can get complicated. For logistical and safety purposes, most of the food needs to be prepared in advance, with different components of a dish packaged separately (then paired with instructions on how to plate it all). Park says one of the most elaborate meals she’s catered was a feast including steak, rack of lamb, and baklava for the sultan of Brunei. She flew in halal Wagyu from Japan.

First Chime caters a few flights a day and serves all major local airports. Park gets a lot of requests for Japanese and Korean food, but meals might span from oatmeal to grilled salmon. Often, the orders come in the day before a flight, making it difficult to source certain ingredients.

“If somebody wants sushi at 6 o’clock [in the morning], I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, please.’ If our sushi chef is not available, then we cannot provide it, so we try to persuade them, ‘How about this?’ ” Park says.

She also recently took her services to ground level, opening a First Chime private dining room in Frederick (2401 Whittier Dr.) that groups can rent out for bespoke meals, whether dinner for two or a cocktail party. She offers a set menu with dishes such as chilled cucumber soup and grilled venison. Still, like her private-jet clients, most customers dictate what they want.

“The service on a private jet is top-notch, very exclusive, everything is very high-end,” Young says. “So I’m trying to duplicate the service conducted in a private jet into our dining room.”

This article appears in the May 2024 issue of Washingtonian.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.