Tour of Do&Co Event and Airline Catering in New York (Cathay Pacific)

Soooo this is what I had for brunch… alone. Spoiled silly at Do&Co Event and Airline Catering!

Follow Me Foodie to Do&Co Event and Airline Catering in New York!

A behind the scenes peek at the catering kitchen for Cathay Pacific Airways and more.

Did you see that?! I’m not kidding. That was my breakfast after breakfast too. I’m not complaining, but there was a lot of food and it was only day 1 of Follow Me Foodie in New York. I anticipated on starting slow, but my first stop upon landing was straight to Do&Co Event and Airline Catering. Pace? Forget it. Grab a fork and let’s get to work.

I arrived on time at JFK airport at 6am aboard Cathay Pacific‘s Premium Economy Class from Vancouver, BC. It was a red eye flight with a complimentary meal service (regardless of what class you’re in) so I wasn’t starving, but nonetheless ready to eat – as always. I was prepared to meet the team at Do&Co Event and Airline Catering at 7:15am for breakfast which turned into a full on feast. It was followed by a private kitchen tour which kind of made me feel like Mr. Rodger’s, or for a modern day reference Marc Summers, host of Food Network’s Unwrapped. Pretty cool.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy ClassI don’t think I’ll ever look at airplane food the same way again. Ugh. The thought of stereotypical “airplane food” is usually blech, but it really depends on what airline. Not only that, but it depends on the catering company for that airline and sometimes the class you’re in too. I’ve had my fair share of airplane food, some better than others, but the nicer the airline the better the food tends to be. It’s not always the case, but it should be.

Being a luxury airline, and customer of Cathay Pacific even before being associated with them, I was confident on their onboard services. They try to keep consistent but it’s not always the same catering company producing the food, so inevitably it may vary.

On my way from Vancouver to New York the food was catered by CLS Catering Services and on my way back to Vancouver it was catered by Do&Co Event and Airline Catering.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 31Do&Co Event and Airline Catering is an international airline caterer with gourmet kitchens in London, Barcelona, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Milan, Malta, Warsaw, Kiev, throughout Vienna, Turkey and Poland. Its only kitchen in North America is in New York, however they will soon be opening a new location in Chicago.

The kitchen in New York is considered a “baby location”, yet the operation seemed huge to me. With 1500 employees including chefs, cooks, packers, drivers, administration and warehouse staff, it’s a well-oiled machine with a lot on its plate.

They have a clientele list of over 60 airlines, but the New York kitchen works with 11 which fly to JFK airport including: British Airways, Emirates Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Air France, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air and of course, Cathay Pacific, just to name some. It’s a solid list with luxury airline brands and they don’t just take anyone. They’re known in the industry as a premium airline caterer so they’re selective and strategic with partnerships. 

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 26Of the 1500 employees in New York, 45-50 are European trained chefs and 10-15 are trained in ethnic cuisines. The European food is their strength, but the diversity of the airlines they work with means having a diverse line up of chefs to execute the various cuisines properly.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 40Chefs making medhu vada (savoury lentil doughnuts from Southern India) in the Halal kitchen.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 29House made kimchi in the Korean kitchen.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 30Do&Co built a special wok kitchen and hired a Chinese chef specifically for Cathay Pacific when they signed on as a client. They wanted the ability to feature and produce regional and authentic Chinese cuisine to accommodate Cathay’s philosophy and clientele.

Taste Testing

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 13Ever wondered what a taste test at a flight kitchen looks like? Well, this is more or less it. I must admit, there was an awkwardness having 8 people watch me eat, although some of them did help me with the desserts. The group consensus to sample every dish with me was “no”, but understandable considering they do this around lunch time every day. They randomly select about 30 dishes from various airlines to sample and then continue with feedback and proper alterations. It’s just one of the ways they maintain quality control and consistency.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 35Meal diagrams at the assembly stations.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 34Assembly stations

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 36I was actually surprised to learn that everything was made in house from scratch every morning too. I assumed everything was preassembled at least a couple days in advance considering they have 20 000 meals to prepare for 27 flights a day, but I was wrong. Impressed to say the very least.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 32Even the bread rolls and all baked goods were made in house.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 08Pastry kitchen – one of my favourite rooms.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 10This was the base for their chocolate mousse which is a house favourite. I was instantly reminded of the scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I refrained from being the Augustus Gloop. 

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 09If you’re ever on a Do&Co catered flight and you see a dessert option featuring banana, chocolate mousse and a feuillantine crust – order it. It’s one of their signatures, although I think only available on first class.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 23Plated version.

Cathay Pacific Food - Do & Co Airline Catering 49On my flight home I ordered the grilled cod with white wine butter sauce, mashed potatoes, balsamic lentils and herb yellow peppers. It was served with a marinated prawns with Mediterranean lentil salad and a lemon drizzle cake with raspberry coulis. The Asian option (being on Cathay Pacific there is always one) was a five spice chicken, egg fried rice, kailan and carrot flower. The vegetarian option was a rigatoni pasta with chunky cherry tomato and mozzarella cheese.

Cathay Pacific became a client of Do&Co Event and Airline Catering in 2005; and according to Do&Co, Cathay and Emirates offers the most dietary meal options to date out of all 60 of their clients. From raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, halal, vegetarian, liquid diet meal, low fat meal, Hindu meal, baby meal, diabetic meal, and even bland meal, they accommodate almost every diet as long as there is advance notice.

Follow Me Foodie to New York!

Win 2 tickets to NYC from Follow Me Foodie & Cathay Pacific!

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Enter to win:

Grand prize: 2 Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Class round-trip tickets from Vancouver (YVR) to New York (JFK).

**Contest Question of the Day**

What year did Cathay Pacific become a client of Do&Co Event and Airline Catering?

Leave a comment below with your answer, or tweet me using #FMFinNY @FollowMeFoodie before March 19. 

From now until March 31, questions are going to be revealed on this site, Twitter and Facebook.

One person can answer each question once. Your chances of winning increase by answering more questions correctly. Even if you don’t catch the first or second qualification rounds, other opportunities to qualify to win the grand prize will come up during the contest period until March 31. You can still enter to win on the last question. Follow along for more clues on when qualification questions will be revealed.

Contest is open to all residents of British Columbia who are 18 or older as at the beginning of the contest period only. Contest is not eligible for employees, their immediate families and anyone living with any employee of Cathay Pacific and/or, or its corporate affiliates, advertising or promotional agencies. Contest prize is two round-trip Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Class Vancouver (YVR)/New York (JFK) tickets, approximate retail value is C$1,699.96. Taxes, fees, surcharges are extra (approximately C$210 per person) and payable by prizewinner at time of booking/ticketing. Travel is valid from March 31, 2014 to March 31, 2015 and subject to seat availability at time of booking. Prize tickets are non-transferrable, non-re-routable and cannot be exchanged or taken as cash. Prize tickets are not eligible for frequent flier mileage accrual. The Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, prohibit any person from entering the contest whom it believes to be abusing the rules. Such abuse includes entering false information and entering using apps or other technical operating systems. Prizewinner must have all the necessary identification and documents to permit travel. Allow one month for prize delivery. retains the right to approve entries. If winner does not respond within 30 days of the closing date of the contest another winner will be selected. The contest begins on February 24, 2014 at 9:00 am PST and ends on March 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm PST. Submissions will not be accepted after contest ends. The potential winners will be chosen by random draw and based on correct answers, which will take place March 30, 2014 and winner will be announced on March 31, 2014.


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