Private chefs bring the restaurant experience home


Food and drinks

Private chefs bring the restaurant experience home


Private chef John Njukia prepares food in his kitchen in this photo taken on December 15, 2021 at Ruaka View Apartments. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Summary

  • The chef is John Njukia, the owner of Papa J’s Catering. This is the kind of service he provides to his clients from the comfort of their own homes.
  • Cooking in private for individuals is something Chef Njukia has been doing for the past four years.
  • Not wanting to expose themselves to the virus, people are teaming up with private chefs to bring the restaurant experience home.

Looking to indulge in an exquisite dining experience? Your dining table awaits you.

On the menu today, pan-roasted garlic and coriander bread as a starter, the classic beef lasagna with layers of pasta, two types of melted cheese, meat and sauces, simple ingredients which provide an experience on the palate, and for dessert, the pound of vanilla cake with blueberry compote and ice cream. With each serving, your chef explains to you what it entails and how it’s prepared.

“The meal is best accompanied by a dry wine. A pinot noir or a cabernet sauvignon ”, says the chef to mark the beginning of our culinary experience.

The chef is John Njukia, the owner of Papa J’s Catering. This is the kind of service he provides to his clients from the comfort of their own homes.

“I have clients all over Nairobi from Kilimani, Runda, Karen, and even here in Ruaraka, where I am based,” says Mr. Njukia. “Thirty percent of my business is done abroad. People order food that has a unique taste and flavor for their loved ones here in Kenya, and I can prepare and serve it.

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Vanilla cake with blueberry compote and blueberry ice cream prepared by private chef John Njukia in his kitchen in this photo taken on December 15, 2021 at Ruaka View Apartments. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

And they dress for it, including the chef himself in white.

Cooking in private for individuals is something Chef Njukia has been doing for the past four years. With Covid-19, however, the frequency has increased by two notches. It’s become so captivating that he has to post on his social media pages that his weeks are full, and anyone who wants to hire him has to book early.

Not wanting to expose themselves to the virus, people are teaming up with private chefs to bring the restaurant experience home. For a base rate of 2,500 Sh per person, Chef Njukia will prepare a sumptuous three-course meal.

“I cook for a client. Once the order has been placed, I contact to discuss the menu, introduce myself, cook, serve and the best, clean up afterwards, ”explains the graduate in hotel management. “In some cases, I will work with a private mixologist or wine sommelier to make sure the dishes and wines are the perfect match.”

Specializing in French and international cuisine, pastry making and cooking, its dishes include among others beef and mushroom fettuccine, chicken satay, bacon bruschetta.

“Whatever the menu, I aim to evoke a warm atmosphere complemented by fine cuisine,” he adds.

Joy Lukhoba is also a private chef. Describing herself as a soul food chef, she wants “your interaction with my food to remind you of home.”

And his choice of serving for a future brunch reflects exactly that: meatballs in a thick and rich barbecue sauce, oven-roasted chicken thighs, sautéed vegetables in soy sauce, roasted potatoes with the skin and French toast with notes of cinnamon and vanilla.

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Private chef Joy Lukhoba holding some of the food she prepared in her kitchen in this photo taken on December 15, 2021 at Kent Gardens, Ole Kejuado Road, Nairobi. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Founder of Locked In Flavor, her business reached new heights during the pandemic. It also specializes in seafood such as shrimp or shrimp curry, pasta and comfort foods.

“Customers looking for me want an extraordinary dining experience without the hassle of the heat and smoke of the kitchen,” adds Chef Lukhoba.

With a degree in hotel and restaurant management, she is primarily self-taught, learning by reading, watching, trying and perfecting recipes while creating her own.

“I have a set menu that customers can choose from. However, you have the choice to come with the elements and the taste that they would like, ”she says.

Chef Lukhoba prefers to cook from home because she is “used to cooking, knows what to expect and how everything works”.

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Private chef Joy Lukhoba prepares dishes in her kitchen in this photo taken on December 15, 2021 at Kent Gardens, Ole Kejuado Road, Nairobi. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

“If you want me to cook from your home, I will visit you once before to familiarize myself with the kitchen and check the necessary equipment,” she said, adding that all aspects of the cooking, the style, the installation are provided.

“I carry my cutlery because it is a challenge for many. Maybe I’m preparing to impress with a tasty menu only to find out I don’t have a plate to serve it on. Yet the presentation of food is just as important, if not more, than the consumption of food, ”shares the youngest of a family of five.

But it’s not enough to just have food and drink, some customers will also hire a private DJ to create more of a party vibe.

How about swapping the restaurant table for yours for a truly new and unique way to feast?


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