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08 Dec, 2022
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Chef John Njuki

H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef John Njuki

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: Grilled Lamb Chops With Butternut Purée

Lamb chops

Serves 3

The Lamb Chops

Ingredients:

• 6 lamb chops
• 3 Tbsps soy sauce
• 1 Tbsp brown sugar
• 2 Tbsps fresh ginger, peeled and minced
• 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
• 1 Tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped

 

The Butternut Purée

Ingredients:

• 1 small butternut squash
• 4 Tbsps olive oil
• Salt to taste

 

Preparation: The Lamb Chops

Trim & french the lamb chops, discarding any excess fat from the meat. Pre-heat your grill to high. While your grill is pre-heating, make the marinade as follows: In a small bowl, combine the oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and garlic paste, some salt. Mix well. Then remove two tablespoons of the marinade in to a clean bowl and set it aside for later while grilling. Lightly oil your grill racks. Place the lamb chops on the grill and cook for 5 minutes. Then flip the lamb chops and baste them generously with the marinade. Cook the lamb chops for 5 minutes on the second side. Then flip again and baste them generously a second time. Remove from the grill and transfer to serving platter. Garnish with the chopped coriander.

 

Preparation: The Butternut Purée

Peel the squash, then scoop out the seeds and cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes. On a foil-lined sheet pan, toss the squash cubes with the olive oil and season with salt. Cover the squash with foil and roast until it’s tender, 50 to 60 minutes in an oven at 250C. You can also opt to boil them without the oil. Purée the squash through a high-speed blender. Push through a fine-mesh strainer and allow to completely cool.

 

Plating

In the centre of a plate, smear a generous amount of butternut purée then place the hot lamb chops (2 per plate) as shown in the image, on top of purée. You can serve this with roasted veggies or salad of your choice.

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