A Saudi chef’s journey, from industrial to culinary engineering

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After spending two years studying engineering, he surrendered to his long-held desire for the art of cooking and switched his life around.

“Before deciding to get into hotel management and culinary, I was always active and excited to open my own restaurant in Saudi Arabia” Rayan al-Ayesh told Al Arabiya.


Ayesh is a Saudi chef who spent years exploring the culture and philosophy of cooking before finally deciding to pursue it as a career.

He was first attracted to the culinary world at the age of 13 when he faced his first cooking challenge in the shape of a chocolate soufflé.

“I used to always look at hotel management courses but I didn’t have the guts to face myself let alone my parents,” he added.

At first, when Ayesh had to choose his university major, he was left with few options that he had no interest in.

His journey to being a chef wasn’t an easy one, with the social stigma often attached with this job in Saudi Arabia.

So he was left with “very limited” options choosing a university major, he said.

“The direction I was going to was industrial engineering, being told by everyone that it will build a good future for you,” he said.

Ayesh describes his two years of engineering studies as “a very long and exhausting journey.”

“When I first graduated from school I had no idea or ambition of what I wanted to do,” he added.

With the lack of motivation and interest, Ayesh found himself drifting away from his education background and coming closer where his heart lies.

“After failing my course, it hit me that I don’t belong here and this is not what I wish to pursue as a career…Engineering in Saudi was my breaking point,” he said.

He then became a culinary enthusiast instead of an industrial engineer. He toured Europe and decided to go into culinary education there.

He studied international cuisine and international hospitality management at the Institute Hotelier Cezar Ritz in Switzerland and obtained a diploma in French culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu College in London in March 2013.

In April 2013, he became executive Chef of modern Gourmet cuisine at Garnish Restaurant in Jeddah.Three months later, he launched a YouTube show, Food mn Almwjood, seeking "to teach local Saudi families something easy and delicious from existing ingredients in their own kitchen."

Al Ayesh's Best dishes

Eggplant sushi with honey feta cheese, red peppers and fresh basil. (Photo provided)

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