Glastonbury's chef Ayesha Kalaji on MasterChef: The Professionals

By Laura Linham

13th Nov 2023 | Local News

Ayesha (Image: BBC/Shine TV)
Ayesha (Image: BBC/Shine TV)

Glastonbury, typically celebrated for the music festival, is making headlines in the culinary world with Ayesha Kalaji, the co-founder and executive chef of the Queen of Cups, set to appear on BBC1's "MasterChef: The Professionals" tonight.

Kalaji, who grew up in North Wales and now resides in Glastonbury with her three cats, brings her unique culinary style to the national stage.

At 32, Kalaji's journey from studying Middle Eastern Studies with ambitions of war correspondence to becoming a celebrated chef is as inspiring as it is unique. Her passion for cooking, ignited during her university days, led her to culinary school, marking the beginning of a remarkable career.

Her first kitchen role was at The Palomar in London, followed by stints at Michelin-starred Sosban and The Old Butchers in Wales, and then Bubula in London, before she established Queen of Cups in Glastonbury.

Kalaji describes her cooking style as "modern Middle Eastern, but far from classic." It's a reflection of her heritage, a blend of traditional and unexpected, showcasing her individuality and creativity. Her approach to Middle Eastern cuisine is deeply personal, an exploration of her identity through food. "It's fun, flavour-filled, unexpected, and joyous," she says, highlighting her passion for reinventing traditional dishes.

Her decision to compete in "MasterChef: The Professionals" stems from a desire to challenge herself and showcase her unique style. Known for her leopard-print chef trousers and glittery Birkenstocks, Kalaji brings a vibrant and approachable personality to the kitchen.

Apart from cooking, Kalaji's interests include reading, travelling, and exploring new cuisines. Her life in Glastonbury is deeply intertwined with her love for food and her community.

Kalaji's appearance on "MasterChef: The Professionals" is not just a significant moment for her career but also a spotlight on Glastonbury's culinary landscape, demonstrating the town's capacity for diverse and innovative culinary expressions.

The show airs tonight on BBC One at 9pm.


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