‘I loved the pressure’ - Ayala dishes up on starring in BBC Three’s Hungry for It

Naomi and Ayala on task in the first episode of BBC Three's Hungry for It

Ayala Daly (second right) had barely stepped into a kitchen before appearing on Hungry for It. - Credit: Jack Barnes/BBC

A rookie chef from Welwyn Garden City has been handling the heat of the kitchen as she continues to impress on BBC Three’s new cooking show, Hungry for It.

Ayala Daly has starred on the show despite learning on the job, admitting to the Welwyn Hatfield Times she had barely stepped into a kitchen before.

“It was quite daunting at first, but I just feel privileged to have had that opportunity,” she said.

“It was my first time being in a kitchen, so to even have that felt really cool.

“We were shown things I’ve never thought about before and it was all a massive learning curve, but I just wanted to absorb as much as possible.

“It was so intense but rewarding at the same time and I loved it all. I’ve never really cooked for people or the public before so that was crazy, but my favourite part, I think.

“Obviously we were living together as well, so I got to meet some amazing people who I’m still in contact with.”

Most Read

Hosted by Stacey Dooley, the show puts the 10 contestants through a series of Masterchef-style challenges. In each episode, one cook is knocked out.

Along the way, the cooks are mentored by chef Kayla Greer - a Los Angeles-based chef who has cooked for the likes of P Diddy, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber and Drake - and double BAFTA winner Big Zuu.

Hungry for It mentors Chef Kay Kay and Big Zuu with presenter Stacey Dooley

Hungry for It mentors Chef Kay Kay and Big Zuu with presenter Stacey Dooley - Credit: Jack Barnes/BBC

Some of the industries most respect faces have been judging the food coming out of the Hungry for It Hub, including Nando’s general manager Trent Devlin, renowned food photographer Hayley Benoit, and Ramael Scully, executive chef at Scully St. James’s and co-author of Nopi: The Cookbook.

Challenges for the rookie chefs have seen them each create their own fresh twist on a party food favourite, serve burgers and chicken for hungry diners and level up ordinary dishes into something special.

Despite the intensity of the show and being surrounded by big stars, 21-year-old Ayala revealed she enjoyed the pressure of the kitchen.

“I loved the pressure. Just being in the kitchen was such a buzz,” she said.

“The heat from the grill, people rushing around shouting at each other, the rush from all of that was addictive.

“Before the show, I didn’t think I wanted to be a chef because of the pressure, but now that’s the most appealing part for me.”

Ayala dealt with the pressure in episode three as she survived the Knives Out Elimination Challenge, seeing fellow cook Ola go home after both prepared microwave chocolate cake.

Her food journey started when she launched her Instagram, showing off the best cooking from around the UK.

Hungry for It contestants Danny, Ola, Naomi, Ayala and Beth on task in episode one

Hungry for It contestants Danny, Ola, Naomi, Ayala and Beth on task in episode one - Credit: Jack Barnes/BBC

She was inspired by her grandmother and a trip to Asia, saying: “I really love food. My parents always say to me I only talk about food.

“Recently I started cooking with my grandma who is Nigerian, so I’ve been trying to learn those recipes.

“I started an Instagram account doing food reviews and that’s where it all started for me. I’ve been dedicating more and more time to it.

“I also went travelling to Asia when I was 18, and that was my first experience of proper food. You can get a street food meal for 50p and it will be the best meal you’ve ever tasted in your life.

“It was beyond anything I ever knew and I’ve loved that kind of food ever since.”

Hungry for It has seen Ayala take her first steps into the culinary world, explaining: “I’ve been lucky enough that since the show, I’ve started to how with one of the home economists who appeared on the show.

“He took me under his wing and I’ve been junior assistant on a cook book, which was an amazing first gig.

“I’m also a food researcher on a new cooking show, so I feel very lucky to have been given those opportunities. I’m loving life at the moment.”

As for a favourite moment on the show, she added: “All of the services have to be my favourite moments. Being in a group, working together and supporting each other was brilliant.”

You can catch Ayala and Hungry for It on BBC Three or BBC iPlayer every Tuesday at 8pm.