Food & Drinks

Kenyan diners develop appetite for live cooking


A new trend takes customers on an interactive gastronomic adventure that serves culinary lessons in a fun way. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

In today’s fast-paced world, where convenience often takes centre stage, there is an undeniable allure to live cooking.

The sizzle of ingredients hitting a hot pan, the tantalizing aromas that permeate the air, and the symphony of flavours that unfold before your eyes—live cooking offers a truly captivating experience for chefs and diners alike.

This vibrant culinary trend goes beyond mere food preparation; it is a performance that engages all the senses and fosters a sense of communal dining.


Bonface Rorie in action during a live cooking session at Safari Park Hotel on May 14, 2023. PHOTO | KENNEDY AMUNGO | NMG

Join us as we delve into the world of live cooking and explore why this interactive culinary phenomenon is captivating the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts around the globe.

Jared Isanga, the food and beverages manager at Safari Park Hotel, which is among the first to run with the trends locally, says live cooking is more than preparing food.

It is a mesmerising spectacle where skilled chefs effortlessly showcase their talents, manoeuvring knives, spices, and flames.

“On Sundays, we indulge in a delightful barbecue lunch that embraces the concept of live cooking. This unique approach is driven by the preferences of our clientele, who value the opportunity to witness the food preparation process while enjoying their meals,” says Mr Isanga.

One of the defining features of live cooking is its interactive nature. Gone are the days of sitting idly while a meal is prepared out of sight.

Live cooking invites diners to actively participate in the process, encouraging them to ask questions, offer suggestions, and witness the artistry unfold before their eyes.

The interactive dialogue between the chef and customers fosters a sense of connection, turning a meal into an engaging conversation that transcends the mere act of eating.

“Our interactive dining experience not only promotes a harmonious atmosphere but also guarantees that our customers are well-informed about the freshness and quality of the food that we offer; in addition, health considerations play a significant role as individuals have their own dietary preferences, such as those who prefer lower salt intake. By engaging in live cooking, we create an interactive environment that fosters a sense of ownership among our valued customers,” notes Mr Ingala.


Bonface Rorie roasts beef during a live cooking session at Safari Park Hotel on May 14, 2023. PHOTO | KENNEDY AMUNGO | NMG

Versatility and creativity

Safari Park serves a different menu of diverse recipes that showcase the versatility and creativity of live cooking that Mr Igala says promises customers a gastronomic adventure.

“Every Sunday, we offer a variety of menus at our establishment. For today’s menu, we have options such as turkey, beef, vegetables, and pasta in the live area. And on our barbecue side, we prepare delicious lamb chops, beef mini-sticks, and naan bread. Sometimes the customers ask for something, not on the menu, but we make it. When our customers arrive, they can choose from our menu selection while still having access to our regular buffet. However, it is worth mentioning that most of our clientele tends to favour the live cooking experience,” says Chef Joshua Moki.

Open kitchen

Chef Moki says live cooking is about enjoyment, learning, and inspiration.

“The open-kitchen concept allows guests to observe and learn from culinary professionals. We share cooking tips and secret ingredients, sparking the curiosity of aspiring home cooks and fellow food enthusiasts while learning about our client’s preferences and how to make them,” says Chef Moki.

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Joshua Moki in action during a live cooking session at Safari Park Hotel on May 14, 2023. PHOTO | KENNEDY AMUNGO | NMG

“Witnessing the live cooking process firsthand encourages experimentation and emboldens individuals to explore their culinary skills, translating the experience into their kitchens,” he adds.

A live band plays while the chef talks to us as he cooks the food. Their melodies weave effortlessly through the venue, creating an immersive soundscape that intertwines with the culinary experience.

Whether it’s the soulful notes of a saxophone, the rhythmic beats of a drum, or the melodic strumming of a guitar, the music adds an emotional layer to the dining experience.

The harmony between the live cooking and live music elevates the ambience, creating an enchanting atmosphere that enhances every bite and every note.

Multisensory experience

As the evening unfolds, the symphony of flavours, aromas, and melodies becomes a feast for the senses.

The vibrant colours of the culinary creations tantalise the eyes, while the harmonious blend of tastes and textures excites the palate.

Simultaneously, the live music resonates deep within, stirring emotions and evoking a connection to the present moment.

This multisensory experience creates a lasting impression, where the memories of both the culinary delights and the musical notes intertwine in a symphony of pleasure.


Joshua Moki in action during a live cooking session at Safari Park Hotel on May 14, 2023. PHOTO | KENNEDY AMUNGO | NMG

“Personalised live cooking accompanied by live music is an immersive journey transcending mere food and entertainment. It is a symphony of flavours and melodies, where each note and bite creates an unforgettable sensory experience. This fusion of culinary artistry and musical talent elevates the dining experience to new heights,” says Mr Ingala.

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