Biography

Ayesha Kalaji creates incredible food.

Ayesha is a classically French-trained chef specialising in Modern Middle Eastern cuisine, showcasing the best local and sustainable produce. Of Jordanian descent, she was brought up in Anglesey in Wales, she studied at SOAS in London and then went on to achieve a Diploma in Food and Wine at Leiths School of Food and Wine. Ayesha is a Chef patron of Glastonbury-based restaurant The Queen of Cups

With a background in Middle Eastern Politics and History. Ayesha’s degree also entailed an ISP in the semiotics and traditions of Middle Eastern cuisine and how it varies throughout the region. She is passionate about mental health in hospitality and working towards a kinder and better future for all in the industry

Ayesha’s first professional training took place at Leith’s where she was awarded a merit. With a passion and dedication to food, she trained as a butcher at the highly acclaimed Parsons Nose in West London, before beginning her first kitchen job at The Palomar and Bubala before working at Michelin-starred Sosban, the Old Butchers in Wales and then The Good Egg.

As Ayesha didn’t grow up around her Jordanian family, her culture was something she sought out for herself. Spending summers with her grandma in Jordan, she was surrounded by wonderful Middle Eastern food and ingredients, but it wasn’t until she went to SOAS, University of London, to read The Semiotics of Middle Eastern Food she really delved into the history of her culinary culture, researching recipes that harked back to the Ottoman era. 

Awards

Bib Gourmand for the Queen of Cups, in 2022
Great British Pub Awards Best Chef Finalist 2022
Food Magazine Best Chef Finalist 2023
Estrella Gastropub Awards Newcomer Finalist 2023