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08 Dec, 2022
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Healthy Herbed Butternut Soup

Healthy Herbed Butternut Soup by Chef John Njuki, H&S Chef Of The Month

H&S Chef Of The Month

Chef John
Chef John Njuki

Nationality: Kenyan

Interview With H&S Magazine

Who Is John Njuki?

I am the firstborn in a family of three. I am a food entrepreneur & TV host/chef at ‘Our Delicacy Show’, on KUTV.

I am a very passionate chef, having knowledge in all areas of commercial kitchen, though I am an expert mostly in the meats & desserts section.

I have pursued a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management, majoring in Hospitality Management, awaiting graduation this December 2022 from Kenyatta University.

Having trained in every area of the kitchen in different facilities like Maiyan Villas a 5-star resort in Nanyuki, Tamarind Hotel banqueting team, Swatch Place in the grill section among others enabled or rather inspired me to open a mobile hotel company last year, known as Hotels Utamu Wa Africa (HUWA), where we offer catering services for all events big and small, private chef services, events planning and management, house staff trainings & cookery lessons among other services.

At the moment I play 3 major roles in my company as I am the executive chef, the sales & marketing director and definitely the manager on the ground for most of our events.

 

Type Of Cuisine?

I love African cuisine because of the fusion of freshness, our heritage and above all room for creativity when it comes to food preparation, cooking and plating.

 

What Inspired You To Become A Chef?

From an early age, my mum always tagged me along in her kitchen, and at around the age of 10, I could make very nice chapatis. It was this that led me to developing my interests in food and in cooking. Because I have always loved good food, I preferred cooking for myself rather than eating out and I continued this practice throughout my campus life, which has brought me to where I am today.

 

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

Quitting my job and starting my own hotel company from scratch has been a big challenge but I thank God for all that I have achieved thus far.

 

What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?

Starting and building my company that offers a variety of services in the hospitality industry and being able to give opportunities to over 30 students from different colleges who come work with us on part-time basis, seeing them learn, grow and becoming better every time, is by far the biggest achievement for me.

 

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

I believe the three are inseparable, and they are all imperative if you want to create great food.

 

Recipe Of The Week: Healthy Herbed Butternut Soup

healthy herbed butternut soupServes 2

Ingredients

• 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 1 cup onion, chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 500ml chicken broth
• 8 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into small cubes
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp dried rubbed sage
• 2 tsp sugar
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• ½ cup heavy cream
• Mint leaves for garnish

 

Preparation

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic in butter until soft. Next, add chicken broth and squash, and simmer until squash is very tender (fork should go through easily). Let it cool, then use an immersion blender & purée soup in the pot, alternatively, purée soup in the blender with mixed herbs and return to pot. If the soup seems too thick, add a little more chicken broth. Add herbs, salt and cream, and stir well. To make one day ahead, chill the soup and rewarm over medium heat before serving.

 

Plating

Pour the soup in soup bowls, garnish with a dollop of cream and fresh mint leaves, & serve hot.

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