Meet the Chef: Ashraf Saleh, Owner/Chef at Coya

We catch up with this passionate and innovative owner/chef who has successfully changed the local culinary landscape with his plates of stunning colours and textures.

How would you best describe the experience at Coya to a potential diner?

Coya provides a unique experience for diners. There’s no million-dollar ocean view, no spectacular decor, but there are mouth-watering dishes and warm personalised customer service. Coya’s dishes are great for sharing … but sometimes they’re too good to share! Other than the à la carte menu that's great for family sharing, the 6-course degustation menus are extremely popular for their quality and value. One degustation is particularly dedicated to vegan diners and the other is a meat-focused selection of dishes.


What specific qualities and experience do you look for in someone looking to join your team?

Common sense is essential and crucial, as is character – someone who is humble in their confidence, yet courageous in their nature. We look for passion about what they do, what drives them, what motivates them.


You are a small independently owned restaurant. Can you tell us some of the challenges you face on a daily basis?

As an independently owned restaurant, we don’t have buying power with suppliers; however, we pride ourselves on our use of top-quality organic produce. Managing staffing – with bookings, cancellations and no-shows, it’s challenging to get it right. And then there’s cash flow – another minefield for the small independent operator!


What motivates Ashraf Saleh in the kitchen?

I love what I do! Creativity and curiosity motivates me most.


What, in your opinion, does G&M bring to Australia?

A community that brings together the best people from hospitality industry. G&M offers a great media platform that assists chefs and restaurateurs. As a result, we have received so much support – both physical and mental.



1/61–63 Carawa Road

Cromer   NSW   2099

(02) 9981 7053