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.
She is a certified 200-hr Integral Transformational Hatha & Vinyasa Yoga teacher, has completed the De-Armouring Training Level One, under the mentorship of Sunny Ju and "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 and herbal himalayan salt mixtures.
Kaya is based in Cyprus and works internationally.
foto: Anca Clivet
Behind the scenes
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. 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, 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. 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.
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 the most important 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. During this period I experienced immense learning, growth, expansion in many areas but also the "dark months of the soul". These months were one the most difficult times in my life. There was much going on, outside and inside of me, through my dreams as well. For a year and a half Ana Drevensek was my psychotherapist, a Jungian, and i couldn't imagined anyone else for the support and transformation i needed.
I also suffered from an overactive thyroid. I deeply felt it would return to normal state after reaching some personal conclusions & closing some chapters in my life– it turned out it was right.
It was the end of 2020, and I almost burned out. I was drained and exhausted, mentally & physically, and I felt I would never cook again as I completely lost the passion for cooking. I stopped cooking and life stopped for some time as well. For almost a year I was mostly resting my body. The first few months of 2021 I was sleeping a lot, from 10 to 13 hours per day and I remember one day one of my best friends worriedly asked me if I was depressed. I felt overworked, drained and tired. I was trying to accept the situation as it is, without any labels. They are limited and you can become overlyidentified with them. I was amazed that even the most simple physical exercise exhausted me.
The life I had known before collapsed. From being super active, always doing something, I was forced into stillness, to rest. Something I really didn't know how to do. I did listen to my body sometimes but most of the time I was consciously blind, not wanting to see the warning signs. Every time it slowed me down with getting sick out of nowhere. I was in cycles of hyperactiveness and sickness. If we are really honest towards ourselves, the body always communicates with us. It has always been a super intelligent being, our guidance, and a home for life which we are experiencing on this planet.
Slowly I began to accept the situation and I was letting my body rest as I knew the life I was living before was not the way I want to live my future. I've started to heal the wounds and to learn again how to listen to my body's daily needs. What kind of food, nourishment, herbs, relationships, conversations and exercises it needs. Listening to my body is still an ongoing daily practice and process.
As I had started physically healing, I began to heal also emotionally and mentally and on other leves as well. Feeling like a snake shedding its skin, going through the cycle of transformation again, re-birthing.
My healing journey started with integral Transformational Hatha & Vinyasa Yoga teacher training at the end of 2021. Regardless how much inner healing has someone done, there is always the base to be returned to - and the base is the body. Body together with the stillness of the mind is where the magic happens. What I love about Yoga is that your mind doesn't have to know everything - the healing and transformation is happening here and now - as much as you are consistent with the movement and presence. @iranajianyoga_coach inspired me with her presence and wisdom. I reconnected with the body, started listening to it on a daily basis, learned breathing techniques that helped me balance the nervous system, move pranas and many other things. Yoga is a way of life, much more than just asanas.
Soon after I attended @ashleytorrent29 Finding Magic in Mundane Course. It was such a blessing finding her as it had been a long time since I met someone like her. She radiated and holded the space with unconditional love. Heart-full presence. There were nuances of gentleness, compassion and care. In this space I found a connection with some of my old gifts that were waiting for the right moment to appear as there is always a divine timing for everything.
In spring there was the birth of this website.
Middle of the summer was the perfect timing for Astrology Crash Course with @instituteforaliveness. The base was Shamanic Astrology. It opened a new world for me; a world where I can play & have a little bit of more fun. Of course I went to the deep dark waters first as I was faced with some old fears and wounds again. At the end, I embodied the inner knowing of “being able to rise above any conditioning and definitions”. My mind used to love to grasp and hold on to things. I deepened the relationship with myself and specific traits, got some confirmations for my inner world - all of a sudden some things made sense.
The cherry on top of the cake 2022 was @sunnyjulove De-armouring training at the end of the summer. After months of being back home I'm seeing clearly how deeply the training has changed my life. The integration process was intense, chaotic, transformative, old inner and outer structures had completely crumbled for the new - that was seeded in the training - to be able to arise. There is this lightness that I feel more, changeness in outer perception of the Nature and my body speaks to me louder. Nervous system regulation is much easier & quicker, seeing my stories and patterns clearer. More responding, less reacting. Being gentler with myself, easily holding boundaries and loving myself much more are some of the changes since the training. The life itself got a deeper expression.