Cooking Alaturka

Cooking Alaturka was opened in 2002 as Istanbul’s first cooking school and has remained a top choice for travellers ever since. We believe cooking together and sharing food is the quickest way to discover a new culture.


Hi, I’m Rocco Strazzera. I became the proud new owner of ‘Cooking Alaturka’ in 2015. After working for 20 years as a chef of high quality Mediterranean cuisine in Palermo, London, and Istanbul, I came across this brilliantly taught cooking school (Istanbul’s first cooking school opened in 2002 by Eveline Zoutendijk) and fell in love with it. My wife Leyla introduced me to Turkish cuisine when we moved to Istanbul in 2006. I became a dual Italian-Turkish citizen and began to combine my Italian passion for Mediterranean food and culture with the varied flavors of Turkey. I love to work with local products, regional dishes, and the rich array of spices that make the current Istanbul culinary scene so vibrant and colourful.


We are happy to introduce you to our chef Nazlı Yıldırım from Sivas in Anatolia where most of our dishes have their origin. She always loved cooking and being an outgoing person, she is able to interact with people from every walk of life. Has been living in Istanbul for the past 18 years and has worked as chef for 9 years at Cooking Alaturka. She never misses the opportunity to laugh or make a joke. She has the ability to let you feel at home while she helps you produce an outstanding meal. After few hours cooking with her you will feel like a confident connoisseur of Turkish Cuisine.


Co-owner of Cooking Alaturka is a vivacious, energetic person. As a true İstanbulite born and raised here, she is very enthusiastic about her culture and proud to share it with others. She graduated from Istanbul University, Faculty of Communication. Having worked in a Sultanahmet hotel as concierge over a decade, she is very knowledgeable about main tourist attractions and the best things to do in Istanbul. She can help you with your planning if you take your class at the start of your holiday. She likes walking, talking and eating. So much so that she is responsible for our food walks. She will let you feel comfortable from the moment that you step in to our premises.