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Chef Ian Joseph Ingaza

Being inquisitive and alert is what gives one the opportunity to grow. My journey started when I was a little boy who was always experimenting with ingredients in my mother’s house. Many times, I was close to my mum when she was cooking for the family. This has always been my passion.

Growing up, I was very interested in cookery and nutrition. After my high school years, I took a pastry course as I was waiting for the chance to join Kenya Utalii College. Throughout college, I interacted with various chefs in the industry. Big thanks to Chef Martin Okaka, Chef Elolia Kiptum, who mentored me through college and made me an icon to many. After college, I got a chance to go to India to represent Kenya in the very first Young Chef Olympiad (2015), where I bagged a trophy and silverware for the most outstanding desert in the world. I came 4th worldwide in the competition as I showed what Kenya had to offer in terms of competence and awesome food.

When I came back home, I joined Nairobi Serena Hotel for my attachment. As this went on, I had a chance to be mentored by Chef Roy Kinyua, Chef Getanda, among many others who widened my thinking capacity and molded me. I was retained after attachment at Nairobi Serena Hotel and started working at Mandhari Fine Dining Restaurant under Chef Waweru. That part of my life was what gave me endurance and kick-started my journey in the industry. I later joined Tune Hotels, which later rebranded to Ibis Styles Nairobi, Westlands where I have had a great transformation. Chef Zablon Rubia, wherever you are, God bless you in an awesome way. Working under both the leadership and mentorship of Chef Rubia has really brought out the best in me. Growing from a commie to an Executive Chef is not easy but I am now leading a great team of people who support and understand my way of doing things.

The sky’s the limit for me, as I am still pushing myself to achieve more goals in life. With a great support system at home i.e. my wife Hellen Maringi, I believe that there is nothing difficult to achieve if you invest the time, effort and if you put God first. The purpose is what builds endurance and hard work towards achieving the impossible.

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