Chef Dennis Ang’ani
My title is Dennis Ang’ani (some name me Pep, however no matter tickles your fancy, be at liberty). I’m Kenyan born with an obsessive drive and love for the artwork of cooking. That is my forte by which I selected to channel my efforts and ideas concerning gastronomy.
To me, meals is primarily damaged down into components; and components dictate how nice or unhealthy a sure dish will prove, and which in flip impacts the dinner expertise, or the Guest Experience in case you like. My crew and I curate experiences recognized within the culinary world as pop-ups or extra so “chef’s table(s)”. This is an idea by which (on our finish) we determine to lease out quite a few areas for a day at a time and convert the set areas in a really various approach that appears nothing like a restaurant however affords meals interpretation that’s synonymous with high-end eating and repair that matches that as properly.
We are extraordinarily happy with the place we come from and so we attempt as a lot as attainable to make sure our dishes comprise 90 p.c components discovered inside Africa/Kenya. This is complemented by the kind of music performed all through the dinner as we normally have famend musicians like Makadem, Boaz, and so on., play an acoustic set all through the dinner utilizing their conventional African devices.
The thought behind that is that no Italian for instance will fly hundreds of miles to come back to Kenya to hearken to Italian music performed by a Kenyan, which music is exceptional on approach however lacks the emotional contact that the visiting visitor has grown round all his life. So we determined as a substitute of borrowing and copying, why don’t we share what we’ve?
We don’t have any menu playing cards for the patrons, and it is because we wish to foster the interplay between the chef(s), servers, and patrons. So as a substitute of patrons studying a menu, the chef goes out to elucidate the dish to them. This additionally results in an open kitchen coverage the place patrons are allowed to come back and watch because the cooks plate, cook dinner, and put together the meals.
We do seven programs for the pop-ups and as much as 15 programs for personal dinners. We solely permit as much as 15 patrons per dinner. No dishes are ever repeated until we really feel a must refine them, which frequently results in an vital facet of our inventive course of. I used to be not born right into a household that was obsessive about cooking, thus I by no means made meals with my mum or grandmother as most cooks right now will confess they did whereas informative years; the extra purpose why I didn’t have that base to type a basis from. In reality, I first held a knife in 2011; cooked rice for the primary time in 2013 and have by no means recognized find out how to cook dinner tea to this present day.
As absurd as this appears, it contributed to my outlook on meals because it helped me harness the power to work with my thoughts extra relatively than depend upon style reminiscence.
So we purely create all our dishes from scratch (mentally in all instances) bounce components off of one another, consider the easiest way to conceptualize the dish, and at last visualize what the interpretation of it could be to the patrons. The level in case, the dessert burger and dessert soup, and so on. In essence, we create utilizing components discovered right here however what we do is just not African delicacies, relatively we create a delicacies that’s well-known to the crew within the kitchen.
Some of the challenges we face embody the usage of new places each time. We are in a brand new kitchen weekly and have about 12 hours to regulate and determine issues out. Some are small, some large, whereas some not made to deal with sure quantities of warmth. Then after all there’s the transit course of and packing and unpacking which is a nightmare. NO go lights so we all the time fear about meals getting chilly if we don’t plate at pace and worse of all having to purchase 5kg of dry ice so it melts right down to 3kg the following day as a result of residence freezers aren’t heavy obligation restaurant freezers.
But we take the straights with the curves. All these difficulties is repaid after we see patrons ebook from so far as Netherlands, France, Ghana and lots of different nations overseas; and after we obtain one of the best praise “Your food is damn weird but the best we’ve had here”. We really feel profoundly grateful that they see the gem that could possibly be present in Africa, relatively than their reward directed towards us. Truthfully, we by no means take note of the compliments for we don’t wish to fall sufferer to optimistic notion thus stifle our personal want to turn out to be higher day-after-day. Complacency is just not welcome.
This is greater than I might pen down for right now in relation to what my crew and I do, however you may observe us on our social media platform the place we might share extra and in-depth of the idea(s) we do. And for all of the cooks on the market, Africa wants you, and be sure to encourage the technology behind you to get higher, if attainable, far significantly better than you. Cuidate!