Kenyan Cuisine á la Serena Hotels

An Interview With Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp's Head Chef

Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp is situated in Kenya’s magnificent Soysambu Conservancy in the famous Great Rift Valley.  Located less than 2-hours drive from Nairobi, this 48 000 acre, pristine wildlife sanctuary is home to some unique wildlife such as the endangered Rothschild giraffe and over 450 bird species.

It is also where you will find Paul Mwaura, Lake Elmenteita’s 35 year old Head Chef, and having tasted his amazing food we wanted to find out more about the man.

Hi Paul, where did you learn to cook such amazing food?
I attended the National Youth Service School of Catering– Food Production and Service before joining Serena Hotels in the year 2004 as a Junior Chef and rising through the ranks to my current position.

How would you describe the style of your food?
Every chef has a unique style derived from experiences in the culinary journey. I’d describe my style as taste based.
No matter how good food looks it must taste nice and fresh for people to enjoy. That’s why I invest a lot of time in experimenting with different herbs and ingredients to create unique tastes that excite and enhance the taste of food. It’s good to have “standard recipes” but even better to try out new ideas to create fresh meals that people will enjoy hence creating your own uniqueness as a chef.

What do the Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp guests say about your food?
We invest time and spare no effort in ensuring that the product that lands on the guest’s table is high quality and tasty. Hence guest feedback has been very good. We have had guests who demand the same food item over and over again in subsequent visits although we encourage them to try out different ones.

What would you say is the secret to the success of your kitchen?
We take time to source food from the freshest sources and invest in training our staff to ensure they understand our principles and commitment to quality. We also jealously guard and demand only the best from them. No substandard food should land on the guests table. Interacting with guests also help us solicit feedback to ensure continuous improvement incorporating various tastes and preferences. Menus therefore are not static but always changing to ensure changing trends are taken into consideration.

And what would you say has been your biggest achievement to date in your career?
Leading a team of young chefs in setting up the new kitchen and writing up new menus for Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp at the onset- which has been a big success to so far.

What about reaching the position of Head Chef at such a relatively young age?
Serena Hotels has a great succession plan where they prepare their young cooks/ chefs to take up more senior roles through intensive training from both the Group Executive Chef and exposures to sister properties where chefs compare notes on different aspects of culinary art. This prepares everyone for growth.

Finally what do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t become a chef? I play football as a hobby but would not imagine doing anything else as a career.

So there you have it, Chef Mwaura was clearly born to cook and I for one am glad he does.

You can view a sample of Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp’s mouth-watering menus here .

For more information on Serena Hotels please visit www.serenahotels.com. Please follow us on Twitter @SerenaHotels

Claire Roadley
Marketing & PR Manager
Ethos Marketing®
Unit 5, Field Place Estate, Byfleets Lane, Broadbridge Heath, Horsham, RH12 3PB
Tel: 44 (0)1403 243619
claire@ethosmarketing.co.uk
http://www.ethosmarketing.co.uk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ethos_marketing
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Ethos Marketing is the UK Sales, Marketing and PR office for luxury hotels and game lodges in Southern and East Africa.

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Ethos Marketing (established as African Ethos in April 1994) provides a highly effective marketing, PR and sales function in the UK for luxury hotels and lodges in Southern and East Africa.Ethos’ dynamic and professional team of six has developed a unique portfolio of prestigious clients, maintained by a constant quality of service and high level of commitment.Longstanding clients include The Blue Train and Garonga Safari Camp in South Africa (both clients since 1998) and Serena Hotels & Resorts in East and Southern Africa (clients since 2003).Other clients include Newmark Hotels (The V&A Hotel, Queen Victoria and Dock House - all on the Waterfront as well as La Splendida in Cape Town) as well as Motswari Private Game Reserve in the Timbavati (Greater Kruger) and Coral Lodge in Mozambique, Fancourt on The Garden Route, Majeka House in the Stellenbosch Winelands and Steenberg in Cape Town's Constantia Winelands.Ethos Marketing also represents 4 fantastic properties in KwaZulu-Natal including Fordoun Hotel & Spa, Ghost Mountain Inn, Isandlwana Lodge and Thula Thula Game Reserve. Ethos' Zulu Route gives visitors an authentic experience of all the main highlights of the province in a range of easy to book itineraries. The 10 member properties include Amakhosi Safari Lodge, Cathedral Peak Hotel, The Cavern, Fordoun Hotel & Spa, Ghost Mountain Inn, Isandlwana Lodge Pakamisa Private Game Reserve, Tembe Elephant Park, Thula Thula and Umkhumbi Lodge. Due to the rapidly growing worldwide tourism market, and the increase in the number of facilities available, it has become increasingly important for companies wishing to take advantage of this to market themselves effectively and cost efficiently on an international basis.Ethos offers the full service from regular sales calls, trade workshops and attending consumer shows to market research, marketing, public relations and media monitoring. Flexibility is key … every agreement is tailormade to suit the particular needs of a company, in line with their strategies.For more information or to access our high res image gallery visit www.ethosmarketing.co.uk

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