Your name and what do you do?
My name is Sheikha Abdallah Karama and I am training to be a chef.
Where did you train to be a chef?
I trained to be a chef in Boma international hospitality college, Nairobi.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
Simple cooking, neat, organized, and very easy. Once you organize yourself the job is half done. Also every ingredient matters so I choose them wisely.
Do you have a “signature dish” or favourite dish you enjoy cooking?
Not yet I’m still working on it. Mmmh! I love barbeques so Grilled lamb chops, smoked rosemary sauce served with grilled corn on the cob and a simple salad dressed with apple cider vinaigrette.
Even though cooking is “Known as for women” being a chef has reputation for being a tough, male-dominated job. How do you deal with such stereotypes?
Being a chef is not a walk in the park, it is male dominated but it doesn’t mean it is for men only. If you really want it, nothing should bring you down and I want this so I don’t get demoralized by comments on my gender or any other for that matter.
In Mombasa, we are used to the Vyazi vya karai and bhajiyas. Gourmet food is only appreciated in restaurants. What are simple gourmet meals people can prepare at home?
Gourmet simply means good food. It’s how you present food , the taste, the preparation that makes it gourmet. Swahili cuisine is 1 of the most popular cuisine in Kenya and is also unique because of the mix of cultures and use of ingredients like coconut milk, saffron, spices i.e. cinnamon, cardamom, cumin etc. that add up to the flavors to make it taste exotic hence enjoyed by people from different walks of life. Dishes like pilau, biryani, chapatti, mahamri are made in 5 star hotels and people appreciate it.
There is no sincerer love than the love of food. George Bernard Shaw— Do you think this quote is true?
Food can say a lot and when you love food you will find yourself being a loyal fan of a certain dish or restaurant or even chef/cook. I believe it can express love, grow love, spread love but I’m yet to prove that it is the only sincere love.
Who is your role model?
My Mom. Cliché? I know! But honestly she’s the most selfless person I’ve ever met! She is a God fearing, peace loving, strong woman. She is intriguingly positive, down to earth and has so much love to give. She makes me want to be a better person, I aspire to be a better her ;)
Any advice you would give to someone wanting to become a chef.
Let nothing come in your way, follow your heart and it will take you places. Challenges will always be there but they are there so you can grow and become better.
Be kind, be positive, be strong and spread love.
Follow me on instagram: shycooks