Jewelled Couscous by Chef Gathu Mbugua, H&S Chef Of The Month
H&S Chef Of The Month
Interview With H&S Magazine
Who Is Gathu Mbugua?
I’m a 33 yr old freelance chef, born and raised in Kenya. I grew up in Mombasa, Kinangop and Ngong. I went to International Hotel and Tourism Institute(IHTI) and completed my higher national diploma in 2013. I started freelancing in 2014 though I have also worked in a few restaurants in Nairobi on top of my freelance career. I’m an outdoor person & I love camping and touring on my small motorcycle.
Type Of Cuisine?
I enjoy cooking middle eastern, Moroccan and afro-Mediterranean mostly.
What Inspired You To Become A Chef?
It was the love of food, and how it brings people together, that inspired me to become a chef.
What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced in the culinary field is the lack of consistency with local suppliers.
What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?
I consider working for the American Embassy residency in Nairobi as the head chef, my biggest achievement in the industry.
When It comes To Cooking, What Is More Important To You, The Technique, The Ingredients Or The Creativity?
In cooking, I believe the ingredients matter the most, followed by creativity!
Recipe Of The Week: Jewelled Couscous
• 200g couscous
• 250ml vegetable stock
• ½ tsp ground turmeric
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp whole cumin seeds toasted and ground
• 70g pistachio nuts coarsely chopped
• 70g raw almonds coarsely chopped
• 50g pine nuts toasted
• 100g sultanas
• 80g pomegranate seeds
• 1 handful fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
• 1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
• ½ lemon juice only
• fresh coriander leaves to garnish
• Sea salt to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preparation: The Jewelled Couscous
Place the couscous into a small mixing bowl along with the ground turmeric and one tablespoonful of olive oil, then pour over the hot vegetable stock and stir. Now, cover the bowl with a clean plate and leave it to sit for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, toast the pine nuts in a separate, dry pan until lightly browned, then ground cumin seeds. Now fluff the couscous with a fork and add the cooled toasted ground cumin seeds, chopped pistachios and almonds, the toasted pine nuts, sultanas and the pomegranate seeds & stir. Add the finely chopped mint and parsley to the bowl & mix well to combine. Lastly, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and drizzle with a little extra olive oil, if desired, & season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve in a bowl and enjoy!