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Cider Mustard Braised Lamb Chops With Cider Braised Pearl Onions by Chef Geena Wanjiru Gichuhi, H&S Chef Of The Month

Cider Mustard Braised Lamb Chops With Cider Braised Pearl Onions by Chef Geena Wanjiru Gichuhi, H&S Chef Of The Month

H&S Chef Of The Month

Chef Geena
Chef Geena Wanjiru Gichuhi

Nationality: Kenyan

Interview With H&S Magazine

Who Is Geena Wanjiru Gichuhi?

I’m a young food lover who isn’t afraid of experimenting and loves that I get to incorporate my multiple talents into what I do.

I’m a Private Chef and Food Stylist, currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. I’m in my fourth year of work. As a Private Chef, I primarily handle meal preps and small gatherings, such as celebratory lunches and dinners. As a Food Stylist, I collaborate with Food Photographers and Marketing Agencies, styling food mainly for advertising purposes. Combining these two roles has been a great epiphany for me. I’ve interacted with many people I could never have dreamt of meeting, and the joy and satisfaction once the job is done are immeasurable.

My work has allowed me to travel around the country and experience different people, their ways of life, and various foods.

My favourite line is, “I serve a smile on a plate.”

 

Type Of Cuisine?

I absolutely love my heritage and where I come from, so everything I cook is heavily influenced by Kenyan Swahili culture. My mum’s smoky pilau and biryani, along with all the lovely sweets like kaimati, jalebi, mitai, and many others that are so close to my heart, are why I prefer Swahili cuisine.

 

What Inspired You To Become A Chef?

My earliest memory of myself in the kitchen is when I decided to make a yoghurt cake. I had just watched Martha Stewart bake on TV. I was 9 years old, it was a big flop, and I was forced to eat it all by myself! I also remember how I would only read magazines and books for their illustrations and pictures of recipes. I can name numerous instances that inspired me to become a chef. The one that fully cemented the idea is that both my parents worked as chefs in their lives, so if it’s clearly in my blood, why would I want to fight nature as it takes its course?

 

What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?

My biggest challenge in my line of work is knowing when to stop. Sometimes, as an entrepreneurial chef, it’s so easy to get caught up in the wheel and forget to take rest because you’re always aiming to hit your goals. Therefore, every day I make sure to practice gratitude and remember what’s actually important to me instead of always running after the next milestone.

 

What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?

So far, my biggest achievement is being able to incorporate my artistic self and my talent to cook into one. For some time, I could only work as either, but now being able to do both is amazing. Not many people can boast of coming in as both a Food Stylist and a Pro-Chef.

 

When It comes To Cooking, What Is More Important To You, The Technique, The Ingredients Or The Creativity?

I’d say technique is the most important, because no matter how high the quality of ingredients one is working with, without the knowledge of how to work with them to create the tastiest dish, it’s all for nothing.

Creativity comes in second. As a chef, you need to be able to come up with great flavour combinations that may seem unusual to others but work together beautifully. Being solution-oriented is also part of being creative. The lack of some ingredients and menu creation require one’s creative juices to be flowing.

Recipe Of The Week: Cider Mustard Braised Lamb Chops With Cider Braised Pearl OnionsCider Mustard Braised Lamb Chops

The Lamb Chops & Onions

Ingredients:

• 1kg lamb chops
• 200g pearl onions
• 1 Tbsp oil

The Cider Mustard Sauce

Ingredients:

• 500ml apple cider
• 100g Dijon mustard
• 1 Tbsp white vinegar
• 2 sprigs rosemary
• 20g honey
• Salt to taste

 

Preparation: The Lamb Chops

Begin by trimming all the fat off the lamb chops, in the meantime heat a pan and once hot, add in the trimmed fat. Once ready, remove the trimmed fat and set aside. Add the lamb chops to the marinade (prepared below), and let them sit in the marinade for at least 5 hours. Heat the same pan and sear the chops on a hot pan until browned on both sides (approximately 2 mins on each side) & keep the excess marinade aside. Now wrap the chops in aluminium foil and bake in the over at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. Remove the lamb chops from the oven, uncover the lamb chops and baste the lamb with half of the reduced marinade sauce as prepared below, then add back to the oven, reducing the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius and cooking for another 15 minutes in the marinade, once done, remove from the oven and allow the lamb chops to sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, to a heated pan, add the peeled whole onions, and braise the onions in some oil until tender but crunchy.

Preparation: The Cider Mustard Sauce

Chop the rosemary finely. In a bowl, combine the Dijon mustard, vinegar, honey, rosemary, apple cider, salt to taste and the trimmed fat and mix and set aside for the lamb chops. In a hot saucepan, add the remaining marinade (whatever is left in excess) and reduce the marinade until it thickens.

 

Plating

In a plate, place your lamb chops along with the onions and add garnish with some rosemary and serve hot!