H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef Raphael King’ori Ndaiga
H&S Chef Of The Month
Interview With H&S Magazine
Who Is Raphael King’ori Ndaiga?
I have been in the hospitality industry for about 25 years, having started at our family restaurant, where I got the initial deep dive in this industry. I took a short course at Kenya Utalii College for food service techniques and later worked at The Carnivore as a waiter where I had so much fun interacting with guests. A little later I decided to take a Food Production Course at Utalii College and after that I got an opportunity to travel to the US for an internship program where I got to interact with people from all over the world and got training on working in a multicultural environment. After that I went to the UK and worked in a 5-Star golf resort and later worked in a British run Cruise Ship where I got invaluable experience working in a high volume environment. I Later worked with Artcaffe as head chef before exiting and starting my social media presence sharing recipes and basically teaching people how to cook as a way to encourage home cooking which would make people appreciate food. When more people appreciate good food, then more people will demand good food when they eat out, which will make the industry standards grow.
Type Of Cuisine?
All/any! I believe cooking, like any art, is about skill and understanding, and if you have the basic training in cooking you can do anything with some practice. With my training and experience, I can follow a recipe and execute it.
What Inspired You To Become A Chef?
From the time I was young, I was interested in cooking and enjoyed well cooked meals. As a family we were also exposed to eating out and good food, as my dad worked at the Carnivore restaurant, making it a natural path for me to follow in my pursuit to follow my passion in cooking
What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?
I honestly can’t think of any!
What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?
Over the years I have managed to work and travel all over the world, is what comes to my mind first. My biggest achievement, though, is yet to be achieved, I want to be the one that makes an impact in the industry by encouraging the young ones to get into this profession for their passion. I also want to see more people appreciating food, which means more people will demand for better and the industry will improve for the better.
When It comes To Cooking, What Is More Important To You, The Technique, The Ingredients Or The Creativity?
I think the technique because this forms the basics in cooking and no matter the ingredients it’s the technique that will make the meal tasty which is more important to me.
Recipe Of The Week: Creamy Kienyeji Chicken Curry
• 1 chicken, cut into curry pieces & pre-boiled
• Cooking oil as needed
• 2 Tbsp curry powder
• 1x 250ml cooking cream
• ½ cup chicken stock (liquid we got from boiling the chicken)
• 2 carrots cut into pieces
• Mixed coloured peppers 1 of each red, green & yellow cut into pieces
• 1 large onion cut into slices
• 3 tomatoes
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 inch ginger
• Salt to taste
• Freshly chopped coriander for garnish
Start by browning the chicken in a hot pot with little oil, adding more if needed to make sure the chicken browns on all sides, and set aside when done. Add the chopped onions and carrots & start cooking, with a little oil. The idea is to get them slightly evenly browned. Add the curry powder and cook for about 1 minute. Blend tomatoes, ginger and garlic then add this to the onion and carrots mixture, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the mixed coloured peppers and stir, and also add salt as well. Next, add the chicken to cook with everything else and also add the cooking cream & chicken stock. The idea is to have a gravy that slightly covers the pieces. Cover and allow to simmer for about 2-3 minutes, or until the gravy thickens. You can always add a little water or more cream to have more gravy, but at this point taste to make sure the salt is enough and adjust accordingly. Turn off the heat, remove to your serving dish, add the chopped coriander & serve with rice and a side of greens.