Food & Drinks

Chef who comes to dinner and to teach children

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Chef Peter Mwaura’. PHOTO | POOL

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Summary

  • Peter Karanja Mwaura, a 23-year-old is ready to be invited into your kitchen.
  • The personal chef has been earning income for two years now, cooking for friends and families.

Peter Karanja Mwaura, a 23-year-old is ready to be invited into your kitchen.

The personal chef has been earning income for two years now, cooking for friends and families.

“I started working as a private chef in June 2019. I began with Sh3,000 as capital since I was catering for a small group of friends who had a birthday party and wanted snacks and bitings,” Mr Mwaura says.

His love for food started at a young age learning to cook dishes from his mother and influence by his father who was a butcher.

“I also loved watching cook shows on TV in which I always dreamt to feature on,” he adds.

Being a private chef, his work entails getting hired by different clients and preparing meals in the clients’ home kitchens, based on their needs and preferences.

Hiring private chefs has gained traction in Kenya, helping propel the career of the diploma holder in hospitality management and giving him the privilege to travel to places such Diani, Isiolo, Meru, Naivasha and Muranga.

“As a personal chef, I work independently creating meals that adhere to the tastes and possible dietary restrictions of members of the household.”

The chef is also responsible for all the grocery shopping, cooking and clean-up.

“I love the sense of freedom in this kind of work since I can be creative with dishes on a small budget.”

His memorable work among his array of cooking involved cooking for a family that lives in Runda, Nairobi.

“They have not only become my clients but also a big part of my family. I have made several dishes for that family but the most favourite was sweet and sour pork and savoury meatballs. We came up with a deal in which I charged Sh10,000,” he says. Mr Mwaura’s speciality is in Indian cuisine with his favourite food being garlic naan bread and chicken curry.

His charges vary due to location, a client’s budget, duration and the kind of skills required.

Clients are required to have a kitchen where all the cooking takes place, but in case they need speciality equipment, they hire at a cost.

“This career has helped me build a food portfolio that I am proud of in which I wouldn’t have achieved if I would have been employed. The clients I meet who have no knowledge of food but are excited to learn the new art makes me stick to this field since it offers satisfaction when I see their thirst for knowledge on the food.”

Chef Pierre 254, his professional name, says his career has been fast-growing and hopes to grow his venture despite the restrictions that pulled down requests.

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“The business has been great and I can’t wait to expand my business all over the country without limitation of resources.”

“When Covid-19 struck, a lot of clients didn’t allow visitors to their homes and this led to low cash flow in the business. But from the safety precautions I undertake which must fall in line with covid-19 protocols, the business is slowly getting back on track.”

When not in a client’s kitchen, Mr Mwaura trains young children to make simple meals such as chicken nuggets, fish fingers, chips, and meatballs through a mobile children programme.

“We mainly focus on simple dishes for the sake of the safety of children. The children programme has a base in Thika but it’s mobile to any part of the country. I teach them to prepare simple meals which they can make at home during the weekends under a program called kiddies can cook. I also do home-based training for any willing person at a fee, which depends on the set of skills a client needs.”

This inspiration to teach children to cook was derived from British chef, and restaurateur, Gordon James Ramsay on his show MasterChef Junior.

“I saw the need to bring that to our country but from a different perspective. It’s great since children learn very fast. This programme also inspires children and builds their self-confidence. If this programme goes on well we can say that we have the chefs of the future,” he adds.

Mr Mwaura also offers catering in partnership with professionals in photography, mixology, or sound in a group, The Munchies Pallet.

Peter mwaura’ s recipes

Chicken roulade

Preparation Time*: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

Chicken roulade in red wine and rosemary jus

1. 2 chicken breast

2. I cup of Red wine

3. Rosemary spring

4. Spinach

5. Red pepper

6. Yellow pepper

7. Black pepper

8. A pinch of Salt

Preparation

-Cut the chicken breast at the centre to open it up.

-Cover the breast with clear foil and using a rolling pin, roll the breast to flatten it.

-Season with salt and black pepper

-Lay a whole leaf of spinach on one side of the chicken breast

-Place Juliennes of the mixed peppers and place them at the centre of the breast.

-Roll the chicken in order to ensure all ingredients are intact and inside the roll.

-Tie with aluminium foil and drop the roll into boiling stock.

- Let it cook for 20 minutes and then rest the chicken.

-In a pan pour 1 cup red wine and add rosemary spring. Let cook till all the alcohol evaporates and the sauce is thickened.

-Cut the chicken into half and plate with the red wine jus

Garlic naan bread

Ingredients

½ cup warm water

1 teaspoon white sugar

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

¼ cup butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup plain yogurt

2 cups bread flour, or more as needed

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Method

1. Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Let it stand until the yeast softens and forms a creamy foam.

2. Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat until melted and sizzling. Quickly mix in garlic. Remove garlic butter from heat and set aside until ready to use.

3. Add yogurt, bread flour, salt, and one tablespoon of the garlic butter to the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Knead by hand until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding more water or flour as needed. Turn dough out onto the counter and continue kneading into a smooth ball, 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Punch down dough and turn out onto the counter. Shape into a rough rectangle and cut into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and lightly dust with flour.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and proof until slightly puffy, 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Roll each piece into an oval about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle some cilantro on top and press lightly to adhere.

7. Preheat a cast iron skillet until very, very hot, about 5 minutes. Cook each naan until large bubbles form, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip over, press gently, and cook until bubbles on the bottom are charred, 2 to 3 minutes more.

8. Brush naan with more garlic butter before serving