Kaya Pogacar

Kaya advanced in the culinary world with the help of renowed Slovenian chefs, such as Uroš Štefelin (Vila Podvin, a Michelin star restaurant), Ana Roš (Hiša Franko, a two-Michelin star restaurant), and Bine Volcic (Monstera Bistro, a Michelin Plate restaurant).

She was introduced to the Slovenian public as a participant in the reality show ”Gostilna išce šefa” (A Restaurant Looking for a Chef). It was her approach, distinctiveness and authenticity that let her achieve a high ranking second place. The positive impressions Kaya left on the audience, as well as the makers of the show, led her to participate as a food producer on “MasterChef Slovenia” (seasons 1 and 3).

As a photographer, Kaya contributed to the cookbook Paradajz: velika knjiga receptov s paradižnikom Lušt (Tomato: The Big Book of Recipeswith Lušt Tomatoes, 2016) and The Honey Book: Cooking with Honey (2019) of which she is also the editor. She is the author and  photographer of the plant-based cookbook Healthy Food Made Good (2020).

Kaya continued developing her skills abroad, in Berlin where she collaborated with Chef Dalad Kambhu (Kin Dee, a Michelin star restaurant) and was a member of the bakery team at Five Elephant. Kaya went on to work as the private Chef of the founders of a pioneering digital entertainment company.

Through illnesses and life challenges she learned about the significance of body intelligence and about the importance of food. Food heals, food holds, food connects, food loves. Organic, local, and seasonal. Spices and herbs. Her heart sings the most when people are happy around the table whilst eating food and when they are inspired to make changes in their own personal lives.

Kaya is interested in embodiment practices and trauma healing through breath, body, sound work and cooking. She is a certified 200-hr Integral Transformational Hatha & Vinyasa Yoga teacher and has completed the "Finding Magic in Mundane Course / a class in spiritual mediumship" Level One, under the mentorship of Ashley Torrent. Kaya is currently furthering her knowledge at the American Institute of Vedic Studies, studying Yoga, Ayurveda, Mantra and Meditation, nurturing her love for herbs and the creation of herbal teas.

Kaya is based in Cyprus and works internationally.

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foto: Anca Clivet

a story written by life

I was empathic, sensitive & intuitive from a very young age.

As a child, I remember having an inner feeling that I was going to die because of cancer. There was no fear of death attached to this. This feeling however disappeared after I changed my lifestyle for the first time as I went through a deep transformational journey within myself. In my teenage years I was a punk ass rebel. Mis-diagnosed with epilepsy and with my hormones raging wild, the image of how I saw myself and the world around me started to take shape. At that time, I began to suffer from cold sores, a type of viral infection. Dealing with this condition twice a month for almost a year without any success in using traditional medicine treatments, really affected my well-being, and left me with emotional and mental scars. This is when I started to explore other options. I discovered that physical illnesses can have roots in other layers of human existence before manifesting physically in the form of a particular disease. I continued my journey of healing with this new awareness.

 

In 2014, upon my return from a trip to India, I began to developed a more intimate relationship with food. It was during that time that I noticed physical and psychological changes within me. Chronic illnesses and the way I had lived and eaten up to this moment had led to a build-up of toxins in my body. Accompanied by daily mood swings, constant physical fatigue and body pain, candida, which spread all over my body, became a familiar friend. By that point, the only option I had was to start a physical detox that led to an emotional and mental detox. A whole new world opened up to me when I gradually started to realize how subtle and sensible our bodies are and how important what we consume is. From thoughts and emotions, to food, relationships and even the importance of environment and surroundings. I learned that the body has its own intelligence and memory. The hardest part for me was to break the attachment and addiction to white sugar. What a challenge for a sugar lover such as me! White sugar is one of the greatest poisons of modern times and we consume it excessively as it hides in almost all store-bought foods. That’s why I always read labels when shopping.

 

I stopped eating meat, naturally. The smell of it became unbearable and I heard what my body was communicating to me. Soon after, I deepened my love for herbs and spices. In the right amount and combination, they enrich the taste of food and affect our bodies with their own vibrations. They do their own healing. I overcame my sugar addiction and changed my eating habits.

 

When I took on the job of a private family Chef, the most remarkable and challenging period in my life began. These were the most growth-oriented eighteen months, when I also experienced the “darkest” six months of my life. During this time, I suffered from an overactive thyroid. My inner voice was telling me that it would return to normal after reaching some personal conclusions & closing some chapters in my life– it turned out it was right!

During those months I couldn’t fall asleep without a light. The night had its power. I felt like I was walking a thin line between this world and the beyond. At the same time, I knew what was happening was a real deal. I felt I had to seek out professional help to keep me grounded. At that time, asking for help meant going out of my comfort zone. I was looking for someone who could help me process all that was happening in my life and dreams, with whom I could talk about topics which the majority of people wouldn’t understand. For someone to hold space, so I could heal those parts of me. This meant doing a lot of deep transformational work.

 

By July 2020 I was sleeping without the need of a light again. But the more the end of the year was approaching, the more I was moving towards physical and mental burnout. During this time I lost my passion for cooking.  Amidst the “pandemic” I quit one of the best paid dream jobs to get my life and myself back. I look back with endless gratitude for all the lessons and teachings that led me to this empowering moment. It took me about half a year to physically recover and slowly regain the passion and love for cooking.

Throughout the course of life I have learned that relationships are my greatest teachers & emotional stability in any situation is one of my profound life lessons. Therefore I'm interested in how to make our body tissues like "tabula rasa" so we can create space for new life experiences. I'm interested in how new connections in our brains are made, to improve communication with ourselves and the people/world around us. So instead of reacting and being on autopilot we are actually mindfully responding. My yoga teacher training taught me how to listen to my body better, especially because I’m prone to overdoing and overachieving. In the past year I worked on my inner world and peeled back many heavy layers. I learned how to be gentle with my body, how to actually communicate with it and myself, while taking full responsibility for the life I am creating. For the kind of life I want to live. I also made one of my dreams come true and that fills me with serenity and joy – every time I look out to the window I’m greeted with a view of the sea. I’m living where I feel most comfortable and at home.

I feel I’m only at the beginning of this journey called life, welcoming me aboard!

I am being greateful and honored to be here for you.

Thank you for stopping by & for choosing me to hold a space for you.