Top Billing gets cooking with chef Aya Gope
A private chef sought after by international guests, chef Aya Gope was raised in Khayelitsha by his mother Veronica Gope.
When she would return home late after a day working hard as a domestic worker, Aya offered to cook for her as a treat, and his talent was born.
Today Vanessa is more than a parent and more his ever present source of strength, and it was she who suggested he be a chef, though he initially couldn’t believe people study cooking. Even as a trainee, he thought no one would take him seriously. Until he saw their response to his food!
Four years ago a restaurant owner appointed Aya as Head Chef. Within twelve months they’d won Best Seafood in Cape Town. Now he runs his own business and has been a finalist in the series Top Chef.
Aya had made his mark by staying true to himself, and incorporating traditional recipes like umfino (pap with rice, spinach and cabbage) but making it his own with a few original twists!
In just his second year as a private chef, these wholesome, innovative dishes have seen Aya become a regular guest on Afternoon Express, doing campaigns with huge, global brands and creating his first co-written recipe book.
Next year he hopes to launch a Kitchen Studio in Khayelitsha, the first in a township, a showcase of the diverse talents in his community and a launch pad for many careers.
To see Ryle in the kitchen with Chef Aya, tune in this Saturday at 6PM!