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23 May, 2024
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H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef Ayaz Nathoo

H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef Ayaz Nathoo

H&S Chef Of The Month

H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef Ayaz Nathoo
Chef Ayaz Nathoo

Nationality: Kenyan

Interview With H&S Magazine

Who Is Ayaz Nathoo?

I’m a 39-year-old chef from Kenya, deeply passionate about cooking, painting, swimming, travelling, and cherishing moments with my loved ones. Living life as an honest, down-to-earth person, I’ve been fortunate to traverse a rich and diverse culinary journey.

My culinary adventure began in childhood, experimenting with flavours in the kitchen at home. This passion fuelled my desire to expand my skills, leading me to pursue further education at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where I earned a degree in Culinary Arts.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of exploring culinary landscapes across Kenya, Canada, UAE, Oman, and Malindi. Now, I find myself back in Mombasa, where I proudly own a cosy family-style restaurant.

 

Type Of Cuisine?

I’ve been fortunate to study and work in various countries, an experience that has greatly influenced my palate. I have a deep appreciation for all types of cuisines and thoroughly enjoy experimenting with diverse ingredients. However, my preferred culinary passion lies in baking. It not only challenges me as a chef but also keeps me focused, tapping into my artistic side and precision.

 

What Inspired You To Become A Chef?

As a child, I always found joy in cooking. Growing up in a family of excellent home cooks greatly influenced my career choice. I was fortunate to have my mum and both my grandmothers nurture my interest in cooking. After completing high school and contemplating my future, I seized a training opportunity at a hotel. The moment I stepped into the kitchen, I felt a sense of belonging. Witnessing the smiles that food brought to people’s faces sealed my decision. I knew then and there that this was my calling, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

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

As local Kenyan chefs, we encounter several challenges in this industry. Among them are inconsistencies in the availability of products, equipment, and training, often accompanied by exorbitant prices when they are accessible. Additionally, there’s the issue of salary disparity. It’s disheartening to see that Kenyan chefs, despite possessing comparable or even superior skill sets, are often underpaid compared to their foreign counterparts.

 

What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?

There have been numerous achievements throughout my culinary journey, from the fulfilment of opening my own restaurant to the privilege of cooking for esteemed celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Neve Campbell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Akon, just to name a few. Additionally, I’ve had the honour of winning several culinary competitions along the way.

 

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

Personally, I believe they are all equally vital and work hand in hand to create the perfect dish and experience for the client. Technique provides the foundation and basic skills that a chef needs to create an outstanding dish. The ingredients set the flavours and quality of the dish, while creativity pushes the boundaries and inspires innovation in the culinary creation.

 

Recipe Of The Week: Kulfi

Kulfi by Chef Ayaz Nathoo
The Kulfi

Ingredients:

• 1 can (14 ounce) evaporated milk
• 1 cup cream (I used half-and-half here)
• 1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
• other flavourings of your choice e.g. handful of nuts, pinch of saffron, pinch of cardamom etc

 

Preparation: Kulfi

In a large bowl, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream, and any other flavours according to your preference. Next, pour into popsicle moulds or Indian stainless steel kulfi moulds, or even a small bowl if you don’t have moulds & freeze overnight. Remove from the moulds by dipping the ends of the moulds very briefly in warm to hot water (notes: do not do this for too long, or you’ll end up with a gooey mess!).

 

Plating

On a plate place your kulfi in the centre, or cut into pieces and place them, then drizzle sauce on top and garnish with nuts of your choice.