Brooklyn-born and bred chef Ayesha Nurdjaja is the executive chef at Shuka, an eastern Mediterranean restaurant in NYC's SoHo neighbourhood. She was also a James Beard Finalist Nominee of 2022 (Best Chef: New York State).
The daughter of an Indonesian father and Italian mother, Nurdjaja was inspired by her father’s cooking from a young age and fascinated by his use of exotic flavours. After pursuing a business degree at Pace University, she realised her true culinary calling, and an inherited love of food, enrolling at the Institute of Culinary Education.
In her first professional role she worked her way up the ranks at Lidia Bastianich's Felidia, before taking on more leadership roles at Bar Artisanal and Michelin-starred Picholine, A Voce, under chef Missy Robbins, at Il Bordello, and most recently at Brooklyn neighborhood favourite Red Gravy.
Together with restaurateurs, Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer, they created Shuka, which opened in September 2017 with a menu that draws on the rustic, vibrant flavours found throughout Italy, Morocco and Tunisia.