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Mumo Mutua, Chef Ol Pejeta Bush Camp

Did you always want to become a chef?

Yes. When I completed my Form Four in 2005, my mother, who was single-handedly educating my siblings and I, could no longer bear the burden of paying my school fees.

Fortunately, at that time I met an Italian chef who offered to train me. I was under his apprenticeship for a while and he noticed that I was learning fast.

My career took off when I was 21 years after I started cooking in tourist facilities in Maasai Mara, Tsavo, Meru National Park and later in Laikipia. I started working in Ol Pejeta Bush camp in 2007 when it was newly opened.

What does your work entail?

Planning menus, making orders for kitchen supplies, supervising kitchen staff and cooking for visitors

The one cuisine you like preparing

I can prepare a variety of cuisines depending on the preference of our visitors. At the camp we receive visitors from all over the world and thus try to adjust to their tastes and preferences.

The Italian cuisine, however, is special to me because of its wide variety. From experience I can tell that visitors prefer Italian food.

What’s the key to preparing great Italian meals?

Olive oil and Italian cuisine go hand in hand. It’s integral in preparing Italian meals as it determines the flavour of the food. I use it in cooking as it makes Italian food tastier. Using wine in cooking also adds flavour.

Secret to making delicious meals

Use the right ingredients without taking shortcuts. If you use short-cuts you will end up with the wrong flavour.

Two of your must-have ingredients?

Soy sauce and extra virgin oil.

Most enjoyable aspect about your job?

It’s always fulfilling to hear visitors compliment my food. I like it when they enjoy what I prepare for them. This job gives me an opportunity to experiment with ingredients and come up with different meals. I do not rely on a recipe to cook. With experience I have learnt what works and what does not.

What you like about working at the Camp?

I get to interact with people around the world, which means I am constantly learning from them.

What stands out about Bush camp?

The bed capacity at the camp is only 12, thus at any given time we are taking care of a small group of people. This enables us to give each one of them personalise care.

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