Entertainment and Lifestyle

John Muriithi Executive chef, Hilton Hotel Nairobi

What inspired you to be a chef?

As a young boy, cooking was always a passion. Today, the creativity and challenges plus the satisfaction I get from seeing happy and contended guests inspires me.  Seasons, culture and good ingredients inspire my recipes.

Did you train for this work?   

Mine was on job training at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi then in the UK and South Africa. I worked in UK at The Savoy in London and at Simpsons-1star Michelin restaurant. 

What makes Travelers Restaurant at Hilton Nairobi unique?

Well, it being a restaurant themed from the early 1900s —the era of the colonial traveller – I would say the unique ambience, charm, attentive service and top quality food makes us different.  You don’t get this combination in most city restaurants. Many modern eateries fail to offer unique charm or are themed around African traditions and have local names to depict the merging of the local culture, which is a rather an overdone pattern.

Why did you settle for Italian theme nights as opposed to French?

Everybody does French food and doing good Italian cuisines requires great skills in preparation and presentation of dishes.

How do you perfect your cooking?

Practice makes perfect. And never stop learning

Do you get stereotyped as a male chef?

I keep getting questions such as, Why are you so thin? Why are you so young? A black chef in a Hilton hotel?

What is Travellers restaurant’s signature dish?

Soy sauce is a must wherever I am involved.  Our favourite cuisine is Grilled Salmon Maltaise  and Grilled salmon with orange — (butter sauce, served with rice Beirutieh Style —tomato and coriander with pine nuts). This is a light fragrant dish, unique only to us in Nairobi. Something all that comes to Travellers can come and enjoy and feel totally homely

What would you like to change in Kenyan restaurants? I would love to see more African chefs heading kitchens in Five Star hotels. I would also love to see the use of more local ingredients in food preparation by our chefs.

Your plans? To keep learning and improving my craft as a chef.

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