Portrait of the Chef Ghayda Aouni
Ghayda Aouni is a member of the exclusive circle of partners chosen by Excellence Riviera to provide exceptional service to its clients. This private chef works within the Excellence villas to perfect the experience of each of the travellers who discover with delight her talent and energy.
Her atypical background makes her a professional with many qualities. Combining an inspired cuisine with an open mind to international cultures, Ghayda embarks her clients into her universe. A universe marked by oriental roots combined with solid international experience.
Ghayda grew up in Morocco in a family that cultivated a cuisine of sharing. It is with her family that she developed her passion for cooking and sharing. Cooking and picking fruits and vegetables from the garden structure her taste for good products.
The dynamic young woman is also a great competitor and it is not surprising that she leads several sports commitments at the same time, to win championships in Laser sailing, Tae Kwon Do or hurdles. An inveterate sportswoman who is multi-faceted, since her curiosity and thirst for discovery led her to study art before embarking on an entrepreneurial venture in the world of cosmetics and beauty.
A passion for cooking above all
However, it is driven by her passion for cooking that Ghayda decides at 26 years old to resume her studies to structure her knowledge in cooking and pastry, with one ambition in mind: to put her talent at the service of a unique clientele, in the intimate setting of private villas. After a pastry training course with Jean-Michel Llorca in Vence, she consolidated her apprenticeship with chef Philippe Colinet at the Bastide de Saint-Tropez, a chef who would become her mentor and who continues to accompany her in some of her projects today. At the Bastide de Saint-Tropez, she passed all the ranks, to evolve from chef de partie to second chef.
Determined to achieve her goals, Ghayda Aouni made her dream come true by quickly starting a home-based chef business in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez and beyond. Her talent, her high standards and her taste for effort quickly led her to be in demand from Saint-Tropez to Courchevel, from Marrakech to Verbier and Geneva, via Dubai, Thailand and the United States.
A unique bond between the chef and her clients
The special relationship she builds with her clients is the main reason she chose a career in private villas, as she can “develop a unique relationship with the clients”. “Something human happens” she describes with enthusiasm.
She especially appreciates the freedom it gives her: “being able to choose the products you like, both high-end and simple, gives you a lot of freedom to express yourself and to pass on your love of cooking” she continues. I’m not going to work,” she assures us, “I’m going to please myself and my customers.
A sunny and sharing cuisine
Inspired by her travels, she is particularly fond of Italian and Asian cuisine, “universal cuisines that allow you to travel at any time” she likes to describe.
Being a woman allows her to bring softness and femininity to her cooking, combined with her smile and the sunshine of her origins, all sprinkled with a committed character and great rigor. A perfect combination to deliver creations combining sensitivity and technicality.
Her dual French-Moroccan culture allows her to master the subtle art of spices and to add sunshine to each of her dishes.
She is proud of her signature dish worthy of the greatest restaurants: a raviole, langoustine with spicy broth and a touch of caviar. She also cultivates another strength: her taste and experience in pastry making. She takes pleasure in making trompe l’oeil fruits or in destabilizing the taste buds by proposing vegetable-based desserts.
To surprise her customers a little more, she finds the best products. She goes to the Saint-Tropez market every week to find Vincent, her fishmonger, or David, her butcher. As for the sunny fruits and vegetables that she cooks with passion, the Provencal market is full of them, offering exceptional products to Ghayda’s privileged customers.
The promise of a unique experience…
She works to deliver a unique experience to her guests, by surrounding herself with experienced professionals in the kitchen and in the dining room. Sommelier and butler come to accompany the tasting of the customers, who savor even more their meals.
Her ambition is to make her customers travel through her cuisine. To ensure a journey of the senses, she consults them as soon as they meet to find out about intolerances, allergies and preferences. She then generally has free rein to propose varied menus to each of the guests, who like to be guided and surprised by Ghayda’s creations.
In addition to the daily meals prepared with passion, Ghayda offers cooking classes for a captivated audience. Guests at the villa enjoy the experience of culinary discovery and learning a new skill, which they are sure to share on their personal social networks.
Even for the youngest
Cooking workshops are sometimes offered to the villa’s children. The mischievous chef takes great pleasure in playing with tastes and textures to break down the a-priori of the little chefs, to “transform the food so that the child takes a taste for it without realizing it. This allows children to be reconciled with dishes they don’t like,” she says. The young mother quickly understood that seducing the taste buds of the little ones is essential.
Her experience with Excellence Riviera
During her time with Excellence, Ghayda has worked in the kitchens of the Villa Cassiopée and the Villa Amazing Capon. She has also been a regular at the White House, where she has been working for 9 years. She appreciated the professionalism and the facilitating force of the Excellence teams. After more than 4 years of collaboration, she is looking forward to continuing the adventure for the next seasons in Saint-Tropez.