Pan Fried Fish Fillet by Chef Peter Karanja Mwaura, H&S Chef Of The Month
H&S Chef Of The Month
Interview With H&S Magazine
Who Is Peter Karanja Mwaura?
I am a Kenyan-born chef who is very passionate about food and the impact it has on the society. I pursued a diploma in culinary arts at Cascade Institute Of Hospitality and since then I knew this was for me. I was born in central Kenya, a place called Githumu, & I am a firstborn in a family of two.
Type Of Cuisine?
As a chef, you got to equip yourself with as many skills as you can. I have specialized in BBQ and Indian cuisine. I fell in love with Indian cuisine because it’s a whole world of spices and flavours, the techniques in this cuisine are fascinating, and you can always have some fun while working. On the other hand, I am a meat lover and this pulled me to learn and specialize in barbecue.
What Inspired You To Become A Chef?
I see cooking as a calling, and I am living my purpose in life as everything I do revolves around food. My inspiration to become a chef has always come from my parents, from whom I learnt the basics of the kitchen at a tender age. My dad, Mathew Mwaura is a butcher by profession, and so I have always worked close to him in the butchery since I was young hence developing my love for meat. My mum, Rasbo Halima loves baking, so I’ve always had the chance to taste the goodies she baked during the weekends, ever since I was a kid. All this influenced my decision to become a professional chef, since my world revolved around food every day.
What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?
There are many challenges in this demanding industry. At one time I did an interview in a hotel establishment and despite the fact that I passed the practical interview, the head chef called me in his office and told me I was very young to get such a high salary the company was offering. At the end I went home devastated and without a job only because of my age at that time.
What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?
I have had a great career path so far with notable achievements from featuring on various cook shows with different local television stations, to being featured by Meet The Chef magazine in Ghana. I was also the president of the student council during my time in culinary school. I have also had the privilege of being featured on Business Daily Africa newspaper in their segment Pishi Home Chef Of The Week. However, my biggest highlight was winning the Youngest Chef Of The Year East Africa award during the Annual Regional Chefs Conference 2021.
When It comes To Cooking, What Is More Important To You, The Technique, The Ingredients Or The Creativity?
Every great chef must be a technician with an artistic mind, you have to think like an artist hence be creative since cooking is an art. Quality ingredients will always give quality dishes, and so the chef must treat ingredients with respect when in the kitchen. When technique, creativity and quality ingredients are put on a dish, then the outcome is pleasing to both, the eye and the palate.
Recipe Of The Week: Pan Fried Fish Fillet
For The Fish Fillets
• 4x fish fillets (any fish of your choice)
• 1⁄3 cup extra light olive oil
• ¼ cup of lemon juice
• ½ Tbsp ground black pepper
• 1 Tsp smoked paprika
• ½ Tbsp Himalayan salt
• ½ Tbsp garlic powder
• ½ Tbsp onion powder
• ½ cup white whole wheat flour
• Extra light olive oil (for frying)
Cut each fillet into half lengthwise and, using a kitchen towel, pat each one dry. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, black pepper, smoked paprika, salt and onion powder together and mix well. Pour the marinade over the dried fish fillets and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Place the flour in a separate bowl or dish and coat each fillet with flour, being sure to cover both sides. Shake off any excess flour and set each fillet aside to rest for a few minutes to allow the breading to set and dry, which will help your crust be more stable. Heat a saucepan on medium-high heat and add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom. When the olive oil is hot (but not smoking), add a few fillets. The olive oil should begin to bubble immediately upon adding a fillet. Fry the fish for 2-3 minutes per side until they turn golden brown on both sides. Remove the fillets and set them on paper towels to drain off any excess olive oil.
Serve hot with your desired accompaniment.