H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef Archie Alvin Athanasius
H&S Chef Of The Month
Interview With H&S Magazine
Who Is Archie Alvin Athanasius?
I am a down to earth happy, funny and generally happy individual. Being a highly seasoned executive chef with over 25 years’ experience in the industry; I am very passionate about my profession, I thrive for excellence by creating memorable meals from diverse and trending cuisines for my guests.
Type Of Cuisine?
My background is French cuisine, but over the years I’ve made a point to branch out at every opportunity by researching trending and exciting cuisines and learning other techniques and styles from different chefs. I’m just as likely to be influenced by Indian, Mediterranean, African and pan Asian. This allows me to be creative and come up with dishes that are sometimes a blend between two different styles and cooking techniques.
What Inspired You To Become A Chef?
Everybody in my family is great at cooking, from my grand ma, mum, dad, uncles and aunties, so I thought to take it to the next level, hone my skills and see what magic I could create within the kitchen! Besides, I heard the pay was great… still waiting, LOL!
What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?
Every day is a challenge for an executive chef; it keeps me sharp and on my toes… by researching for new trending ingredients, dishes or techniques, motivating/mentoring staff and managing budgets.
What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?
Besides cooking for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II back in Kampala and getting a letter of appreciation from Buckingham Palace, training and watching follow Kenyan chefs grow through the ranks and becoming executive chefs themselves in various hotels and high-end restaurants both locally and internationally.
When It comes To Cooking, What Is More Important To You, The Technique, The Ingredients Or The Creativity?
The perfect balance of all three, finished off with perfect food presentation.
Recipe Of The Week: Cold Wild Berry Cheesecake
•25g unsalted butter
• 25g caster sugar
• 2cps egg yolks
• 25g ground almond
• 3g salt
Rub in these ingredients together and, bake at 160ºc for 15 min.
• 50ml milk
• 40ml caster sugar
• Pinch salt
• ½ lemon zest
• 1pc egg yolk
• 2 leaves of gelatin
• 60g whipped cream
• 120g soft cream cheese
Make a crème anglaise with milk, sugar, yolk and salt over bain-marie while mixing with hand whisk. Soak gelatin in cold water, melt it and set aside. Add cream cheese to the milk mixture while still over bain-marie & mix until smooth. Remove from the heat and add melted gelatin and set aside to cool. Once at 30˚c, fold in whipped cream. Use cheesecake bond to line your mould, let it cool in the fridge for five minutes then pour your cheesecake mix. Keep it in the freezer for thirty minutes to set.
• 15g blueberry paste
• 5g mirror glaze
• ½ leaf gelatin
Melt gelatin then mix with blueberry paste and mirror glaze, use it to top your cheesecake.
Serve as per photograph, using assorted berries and edible flowers when plating.