What’s Cooking? With Aida Shaaban

Aida Shaaban

Chef Aida Shaaban has been passionate about food from a very young age. “Growing up, I used to help out ‘Om Yasser’ the part-time cook at home. She had recognized my obsession with food at a very early age,” she says.

“Using the Cimeter to mince Molokheya for the first time at the age of four, a chef was born!”

Burrata Pasta by Chef Aida Shaaban
Burrata Pasta by Chef Aida Shaaban

This passion only developed, and her curiosity led her to diverse cooking skills and techniques. Yet, something has changed for her since she became a mother.  “It made me a lot more health-conscious and not just with the ingredients I’m using. I also started focusing on how the cooking process affects the nutritional value of these ingredients,” Aida tells.


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Starting out as a chef was a challenging part of Aida’s journey.

Smoked herring and eggplant mousse on toasted balady bread and pickled beetroot discs
Smoked herring and eggplant mousse by Chef Aida Shaaban

“I was a teacher by day, culinary student by night, and a young mother to a one-year-old. A very tough kick-off to my career, years of taking on any job I can get,” Aida continues.

“I’m a firm believer that when you want something bad enough and you work hard enough for it, sooner or later you’ll get there.”

As for the food industry in Egypt, Aida Shaaban has ideas on how it can improve…

“The two main challenges we face as chefs in the food and beverage industry in Egypt are consistency and efficiency, whether it’s from the suppliers or the employers, it really is a struggle,” Aida explains.

Seafood Pasta by Chef Aida Shaaban
Seafood Pasta by Chef Aida Shaaban

Sexism is a very real issue that plagues the food industry in Egypt, Aida knows this all too well. “It definitely still is an issue in industrial kitchens. But, we’ve come a long way since six/seven years ago when I first marched into this career,” she recalls. That being said, Aida has her own way of dealing with it, “I don’t pay much attention to it,” she says.

“I’m lucky to have found my passion in life and nothing can stop me from doing what I do best.”

Chocolate Cake by Chef Aida Shaaban
Chocolate Cake by Chef Aida Shaaban

Aida’s realm of comfort food depends heavily on her mood, “it varies from Molokheya and stuffed pigeons to sushi and sashimi to pasta and burgers,” Aida concludes.

Follow Aida on Instagram to stay up to date on her sizzling culinary journey!

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