Meet the Chef: Arnold Gitata
Arnold Gitata is a chef and hotelier, currently working as a Food and Beverage consultant in Nairobi.
How did you become a chef?
While studying at the Edith Cowan University in Perth Australia, I worked as a part-time kitchen hand. I fell deeply in love with the kitchen and the passion that chefs exhibited in their food preparation. In 2004, I quit my major in mass communication and journalism and came back to enroll at the Kenya Utalii College.
What would you be doing if you were not a chef?
Photography, videography or marketing. I love seeing polished ideas branded into people’s minds.
Who is your inspiration?
My mom has always been a great cook, and nature has always been a great provider. I would say mom and mother nature.
Which celebrity would you like to cook a meal for?
I have been privileged to cook for a number of celebrities and dignitaries, but I would love to cook and have a meal with a comedian named Ricky Gervais. Or Steve Harvey. Both seem to be stellar conversationalists.
Describe your style of cuisine.
I tend to fuse different styles and cuisines. A pumpkin and githeri curry was the one I did recently. I love to borrow from different cultures.
What local Kenyan ingredients do you love to use in your dishes?
French beans (in some countries, they are actually known as Kenyan beans) and Farmer’s Choice pork sausages.
What are three of your most popular dishes with your clients? Describe their ingredients?
Butter chicken pizza, bacon and candied ginger ice cream recipe and a 6-hour BBQ pork belly.
When you are at home what do you love to eat?
I love to experiment with out of the box ingredients. For comfort food though, a simple mashed potato and fried kidneys dish is my refuge.
What is the nicest thing a client has said to you?
“For that excellent dinner, here’s a bottle of Oban 25!” All jokes aside, I tend to listen to that moment of silence where a meal has taken absolute control of a client’s brain, and the whole table is just enjoying that first, second and third bite.
What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened in your line of work?
Being around chefs who had guns during a certain president’s birthday party.
Share suggestions / tips for teaching Kenyans to cook.
Experiment as much as you can. Even failures have lessons you can learn from.
What distinguishes a good meal from a bad meal?
When the balance of all the ingredients used is in perfect harmony.
How to prepare stove top pork baby spare ribs
Serves 3 | Preparation Time 15 minutes | Cooking Time 1 hour
500g Farmers Choice Pork baby spare ribs
2 tbsp. ketchup
1tbsp dark soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, grated
2 cup stock/ water (stock cubes can be used, dissolving 1 cube for 2 cups of hot water)
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. vinegar
4tbsp cooking oil
- Heat the oil, over a medium flame, in a cooking pot or high sided frying pan large enough to accommodate the ribs. Brown the meat side of the ribs, using a long fork or tongs to angle the curved ribs into the oil
- Combine the rest of the ingredients as the ribs are Browning and once browned, pour into the pot, taking care of the splatter that would occur if the pan is still hot
- Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a slow flame, simmering for 40 min. Turn down the heat and rest for 10in
- Remove the ribs and turn back the flame to high on the liquid. Reduce this liquid to a glaze (think porridge) consistency.
- Cut the ribs to individual pieces and return to the glaze. Keep basting until none of the liquid is present at the bottom of the pan and all the ribs are thick and glossy with glaze
By Chef Arnold Gitata
-COMPILED BY SIMON MBURU
This content was first published on Saturday Magazine, Saturday Nation; email: firstname.lastname@example.org