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12 Jul, 2024
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H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef Geena Wanjiru Gichuhi

H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef Geena Wanjiru Gichuhi

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: Berry Yoghurt BowlBerry Yoghurt Bowl

The Berry Yoghurt Bowl

Ingredients:

• 200g natural yoghurt
• ½ punnet strawberries
• ½ punnet raspberries
• 1 pc kiwi
• 20g chia seeds
• 3 pcs oatmeal cookies (crumble)
• 1 Tbsp honey

 

Preparation: The Berry Yoghurt Bowl

Wash all fresh produce properly, then peel the kiwi and cut off tops on the strawberries. Next, heat a saucepan and melt the strawberries and raspberries, for about a minute and set aside to cool. In a bowl, mash the kiwi till chunky, then add in the chunky kiwi bits to the cooled berry mixture.

 

Plating

In a bowl, add the natural yoghurt, then add a line of each; the berry mixture, chia seeds and cookie crumble then lastly, drizzle on top some honey & serve!

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