In Conversation with: Kwaku

Kwaku the Chef

Kwaku is a full-time Chef & part-time Operational Manager at an Architectural practice in London.

Where did your passion for cooking come from?

My passion for cooking comes from my love of food. I enjoy eating & strongly believe food just as much as music brings people together and is a common language understood globally. Food unites more people than it divides. I enjoy experimenting with different recipes, especially those with authentic flavours and culture. The act of cooking is like curating a story, to be able to get your readers or consumers intrigued and wanting more you must provide context. In the case of food provide historical relevance to why that meal is what it is.

Are you professionally trained or self-taught? 

I am a self-taught Chef and I learn best by experimenting and cooking. I have the various food safety, hygiene certificates and accreditations required to operate in most commercial spaces and events on all scales.

The birth of Kwaku’s Kitchen

Kwaku’s Kitchen was an idea birthed during my 1st year of university in Leicester. Being away from home I lived in a self-catered accommodation and it was an experience that took me out of the comfort of coming home to cooked meals prepared by my mum. Kwaku’s Kitchen came about from the need to provide a solution that many students from West-African backgrounds faced during university in the midlands. Combining my love for food and cooking allowed me to be in position to provide this service and being a student, it was a good source of income.

KK started off as the 1st student friendly take-away service in the midlands, catering for individuals, university raves & ACS events. The idea was to provide authentic Ghanaian & Nigerian dishes at a cost-effective and not to mention more nutritious and flavoursome alternative to the likes of McDonalds & Dominos.

What would you say sets you apart from other chefs out there?

I believe what sets me apart is my willingness to learn be it, learning new methods of cooking, new recipes or new ingredients. I am always seeking feedback from my consumers and potential clients and I understand most of us have acquired tastes.

What inspires your cooking and how do you know when what you have made has “that thing”?

My cooking inspirations derives from my eagerness to try something new and getting out of my comfort zone. I believe you can experience another country simply by trying new dishes. You can tell you have cooked “that thing” from your first reaction when you taste it. At times it does prove challenging as during the cooking process you are tasting it. In such cases then a second opinion is required to confirm if the meal has “that thing”.

Kwaku's Kitchen

Of all the dishes you have ever made which one is your favourite?

I don’t have a favourite dish, as my decisions change all the time and is affected by various factors, mood, how hungry I am and whether I want to eat with cutleries or my hands (soup dishes). One of the top tier dishes however is Waakye & Goat Meat Stew, with Gari, Shito, Talia (Spaghetti) & Salad.

What is the most important thing you consider when cooking?

The ingredients is possibly the most important thing to consider when cooking, at times depending where you are it could be difficult to allocate all the ingredients. So, you need to have plan B ingredients that could act as suitable alternatives without compromising too much on the taste.

Who are your favourite chefs and why them?

I don’t have a favourite Chef per say, but I absolutely admire the unsung cooks and real chefs which are African aunties & mums who have passed on decades of recipes and provided consistent quality tasting food.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

Can’t live without God & Family.

Given the chance who in the world would you want to cook for and what would you make for them?

I would like to cook for Prince Harry & Megan Markle. I would make them Waakye & Goat Meat Stew, with Gari, Shito, Talia (Spaghetti) & Salad.

What is the soundtrack to your life?

J Hus – Spirit (Prod. TSB).

What are your most fond of about being Ghanaian?

Our culture, our food, our people and language.

How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered for leaving a legacy that supersedes myself and my individual achievements. I want to be known for what I have done for others and how I have inspired them. A person with integrity & willingness to go far and beyond to improve the life of others when within my means to do so.

How can people get in touch with you?

I am available on all social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook & Instagram)

@kwakuskitchen @kkbrunchldn

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