Table of Contents
Ayesha Kalaji Biography – Ayesha Kalaji Wiki
Ayesha Kalaji is a British Jordanian Chef and Owner of Queen of Cups, a 17th-century coaching inn, turned modern Middle Eastern restaurant in Glastonbury. The restaurant has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and was shortlisted for ‘best newcomer’ at the Estrella Damm Top 100 Gastropubs 2023.
Ayesha went to university in London for a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and originally had ambitions to be a war correspondent. Ayesha switched her aspiration to being a chef whilst she was studying. After university she then went on to culinary school and never looked back.
Her first kitchen job was at The Palomar in London, before working at Michelin-starred Sosban and The Old Butchers in Wales. She then moved back to London to work at Bubula. She now owns The Queen of Cups restaurant in Glastonbury.
Ayesha studied at Leiths School of Food and Wine. She was named winner of the Middle Eastern Food of the Year category at the Be Inclusive Hospitality (BIH) Spotlight Awards 2022.
Ayesha Kalaji Age
Chef Ayesha Kalaji was born in November 1990. She is 32 years old as of 2023.
Ayesha Kalaji Family
Ayesha Kalaji grew up in North Wales with her British mother and Jordanian father. She lives in the centre of Glastonbury with her three cats.
Ayesha Kalaji MasterChef
Ayesha Kalaji is a contestant on the 16th series of the MasterChef: The Professionals on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The professionals cooking in the first heat of week four include Simon Braz, Ayesha, Casrick and Cecily Rae.
How did you get into cooking and what do you love about it?
“I’ve always loved food – both eating and cooking. I was very lucky that there was always really interesting food at home with my family. During my degree, I realised I was taking a wrong direction – I didn’t see a career for myself in embassy work or anything related to what I’d been studying. Then in my final year I focused my independent study project on the anthropology and semiotics of Middle Eastern cuisine. I poured for hours over 13th century recipe books and I knew I loved everything about them. So it was a natural step for me to pursue this!
As well as devouring the books, I was glued to watching shows like MasterChef and Great British Menu. On my first day at cookery school I had a three hour lecture about eggs and I immediately knew I was in the right place. There was never any other path. I knew I wanted to be in kitchens and have my own restaurant. I love being around food – touching it, feeling it and trying it. It’s wonderful being in the kitchen.I love the rush of service and being around my incredible team, but the food always comes first for me.”
How would you describe your style of cooking and any influences on it?
“My style is modern Middle Eastern, but far from classic. It’s my own interpretation of my heritage. It’s how I connect to who I am. It’s fun, flavour filled, unexpected, and joyous. Some dishes may look traditional, but then you taste them and realise there are flavours you may have never had. My pantry is different to a lot of other chefs’. My style in unconventional and I refuse to be anything but unabashedly myself.”
Why did you want to take part in MasterChef: The Professionals?
“I’d always wanted to take part in the competition but was never sure I was ready. Now I have grown into my cooking and my career and it’s the right time for me to push forward. I wear leopard-print chef trousers and glittery Birkenstocks and my eyeliner is always exquisitely drawn – so I want to prove that you can be yourself and still be a chef! I’m kind and caring and I want to show that you can be a nice person in the kitchen and still be successful.”
Outside of cooking what are your passions?
“I enjoy reading, travelling and trying new cuisines. I own a restaurant, so I live and work my hobby. I love food more than anything.”
Ayesha Kalaji Instagram
Ayesha Kalaji’s Instagram handle is @chefayeshak.