Signature Grilled Chicken Breast With Bell Pepper Salad by Chef John Njuki, H&S Chef Of The Month
H&S Chef Of The Month
Chef John Njuki
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: Signature Grilled Chicken Breast With Bell Pepper Salsa Salad
The Chicken Breasts
• 3 chicken breasts
• 3 Tbsp soy sauce
• 1 Tbsp of mixed herbs
• 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled & minced
• 1 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
• 1 Tsp salt
• 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil
• 1 Tsp pepper
The Bell Pepper Salad
• 2 red/green/yellow bell peppers
• 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
• Mint for garnish
Preparation: The Chicken Breasts
In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, oil, ginger, garlic, and herbs, and season generously with salt and pepper. Reserve ¼ cup. Add chicken breast to the bowl and toss to combine. Let it marinate for at least 10 minutes. Preheat your grill to medium high then let your chicken grill, basting with reserved marinade, until cooked through, 6 minutes per side. Once cooked, let it cool, then cut the chicken breast into thick strips.
Preparation: The Bell Pepper Salad
Wash the bell pepper and cut into juliennes. In a bowl, mix lightly with the balsamic vinegar.
In the centre of a plate, place the chicken strips with the bell peppers and garnish with mint leaves and serve cold.