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Tour of Turkish Do & Co Catering with Turkish Airlines

Gourmantic flew Turkish Airlines Business Class to Europe as a guest of Turkish Airlines and visited Turkish Do & Co Catering facilities at Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

Turkish Do & Co

After the overnight flight with Turkish Airlines from Bangkok to Istanbul and a little rest at Istanbul Airport Arrival Lounge, it was time to visit Turkish Do & Co, the airline’s catering facility.

Turkish Do & Co
Turkish Do & Co

Located a mere five minute drive from Ataturk Airport, the entrance of Turkish Do & Co is somewhat like a hotel lobby than a food and training facility.

The hallway leading to a mock cabin used for training resembles a runway and sets the scene for the initial part of the tour.

Turkish Do & Co
Inside Turkish Do & Co

Over a glass of champagne and canapés served by a Flying Chef, Christian Reisenegger, Head of Flying Chefs presents an introduction to Turkish Do & Co, a joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Do & Co, an Austrian-based company.

Turkish Do & Co
Champagne & Chocolate

Do & Co is known as “the gourmet entertainment group”, servicing more than 60 airline customers with an expanding portfolio including Emirates, Etihad and British Airways and high profile clients such as Formula 1.  In 2007, Turkish Do & Co was founded, an equal partnership between Turkish Airlines and Do & Co. They currently operate 9 airline catering units in Turkey.

Turkish Do & Co prides itself as the “culinary and hospitality ambassador of Turkey” with the motto to “surprise and satisfy customers”. As travellers step on board the aircraft, the first impression of the new destination begins, and the food and service on board is the advertising that leads to word of mouth.

The company employs mainly Turkish staff and offer a full menu design, restaurant style, with many handmade products and daily fresh menu preparation.

Turkish Do & Co
Flying Chef

Flying Chefs work on board long haul flights and some shorter flights, a program that started in 2010 with the goal of increasing quality and achieving new standards. By the end of 2011, 200 flying chefs had been trained by experienced Austrian instructors.

On board the flights, Flying Chefs ask travellers for their meal choice, they cook and finish dishes controlling the temperature, plate the food and ask for feedback on customer satisfaction. Turkish Do & Co has been awarded the best business class on-board catering experience in 2013 by Skytrax.

All the catering for the Turkish Airlines lounges at Istanbul Atatürk Airport is also provided by Turkish Do & Co. The catering facility ensures no pork or alcohol is used in the preparation of food.

Tour of Turkish Do & Co

After the presentation and a quick change into white coats and hairnets, the tour begins at the vegetable preparation facility. where it is emphasised that everything at Do&Co is freshly prepared.

Turkish Do & Co
Vegetable Preparation

Fresh fruit and vegetables are delivered daily to the facility, where they are hand cut by the staff and prepared for cooking. Each employee is designated a job, be it peeling potatoes, slicing peppers, karate chopping capsicums or artful peeling of elongated eggplants.

Turkish Do & Co
Eggplant Preparation

There are 2500 food service workers who prepare 150,000 meals a day, servicing approximately 800 daily flights. They work three continuous shifts and some have roles are on a rotation basis.

Turkish Do & Co
Sandwich Assembly

The sandwich assembly line runs efficiently as do the workers packing smoked salmon into small containers.

Turkish Do & Co
Smoked Salmon Assembly

Further along, the plating of business class meals on ceramic plates is underway. Nearby, the rolling of cutlery and napkins takes place. By now, the dishes are beginning to look familiar.

Turkish Do & Co
Business Class Meals

Every meal that is ready is given a tag which denotes the flight number, date and time it was packed before it is assembled in trays and slid into the refrigerated trolleys.

Turkish Do & Co
Quality Control Checks

In another kitchen, the swirled eggplant are deep fried to a golden colour then flipped onto metal trays, their wonderful aroma permeating the air.

Turkish Do & Co Catering
Deep Fried Eggplants

Chicken breasts are being flipped on the grill plate. Large industrial machines are mixing soup and colourful peppers are bobbing up and down in a steaming bath.

Turkish Do & Co
Vegetable Bath

The bakery section seduces with aroma of dough and freshly-baked goods. The facility produces forty different types of bread.
Deft hands roll pieces of dough into Simit, Turkish sesame bagels and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Turkish Do & Co
Soup Mixers

The tour continues to the cleaning section where used utensils and plates are washed on site, ready for use for the next flight. The entire operation runs like clockwork, with the efficiency of Swiss precision. There is so much to admire in the operation the various kitchen and the concentration of the staff.

Turkish Do & Co Catering
Catering Management Office

The catering management office is the hub that controls the process of transporting meal carts to ensure they reach the right aircraft on time. Much like a control room, it offers the best views, with staff monitoring the movement of the delivery trucks via computer screens and smartphones.

Turkish Do & Co
Plate Settings Display

The tour ends through the offices with a display of all the various plate settings such as plates, cutlery and napkins for all classes of service and length of flight are displayed.

Turkish Do & Co
Business Class Meal

The tour of Turkish Do & Co Catering highlights the effort, dedication and efficiency of the operation and all the work that goes behind producing the delicious food served on their flights. Little wonder that customer satisfaction with the airline has increased from 49% to 96% since the partnership was founded.

Other Turkish Airlines feature articles: Review of Turkish Airlines Business Class, Istanbul Airport Business Class Lounges

Photography © by Corinne @ Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.

UPDATE 29 February 2024: As of March 2024, Turkish Airlines will fly into Australia and offer direct flights between Melbourne and Istanbul starting with 3 services per week with potential to grow to a daily service in the future.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.