• Geraci said operating in low waste is in line with his personal interests in sustainable practices.
• Geraci's restaurant is listed among the best Italian restaurants according to the Gambero Rosso guide, the most popular and high-level Italian food and wine magazine.
Twenty-five chefs from hotels across the country were selected to join a masterclass with renown Italian chef Giuseppe Geraci at the Capital Club hotel in Westlands, Nairobi.
Geraci's restaurant is listed among the best Italian restaurants according to the Gambero Rosso guide, the most popular and high-level Italian food and wine magazine.
Geraci took the chefs through a six-hour culinary experience of 10 Italian-inspired dishes.
The seventh edition of this culinary experience aims at promoting engagement and partnerships, innovation and sustainability, especially in advocating for zero waste.
Elements that Italian chefs practice and use in present day.
“What I try to do with my dishes, even with my restaurant back home in south of Italy, is to promote zero waste,” Geraci told the Star on Wednesday during the launch of the Italian cuisine week.
“We aim to utilise as much as possible in creativity and dedication. We try to develop the flexibility to work with continuously rotating ingredients, whether local, seasonal produce, or different cuts of protein.”
Geraci said operating in low waste is in line with and promoted his personal interests in sustainable practices.
“I never quit in my search for creativity and discovery. I am constantly inspired, yet the beautiful features of my homeland surround me,” he said.
“What accompanies me daily in my kitchen, is my commitment for clients to experience the typical dishes of the beautiful territory where my restaurant, Modì is. When possible, I look for the best raw materials from our local producers, which to me, is not only a social but also a gastronomic challenge.”
Ambassador of Italy to Kenya Roberto Natali said the Italian embassy in Nairobi and the Italian Institute for Culture who also collaborated with the Italian Trade Agency seek to promote activities that embrace the Italian culture and its famous cuisine as vehicles of exchange.
He said in Italian tradition, high quality and unique ingredients are wisely harmonised into centuries -old recipes, still followed by generations of artisans across the whole country.
"Therefore, our modern food industry is characterised by a great balance of scientific research, education and technological innovation combined with food and process certification, appropriate labelling and up to date normative,” Natali said.
He said promoting Kenya as a culinary destination is one of the pillars of the Magical Kenya campaign.
"Gastronomy allows tourists to discover the cultural roots of a country, thus being one of the motivations for choosing a specific destination," he added
The event also aims at sharing new experiences, giving learning opportunities and exploring commonalities between Italy and Kenya.
“For me, the modern Italian cooking experience felt as though I was going to an art class,” Emanuel Aluda, an executive chef from Park inn by Radisson in Westlands told the Star after the masterclass.
“It was a great experience, which was also eye-opening as I got to interact with other chefs from other hotels and learn from Geraci. I learned a lot of new strategies and skills.”
Sarova White sand’s chef Andrew Okello said all the food served was made to perfection.
“I have learned a lot. The food prepared was very basic, something you can get from your garden. But, the whole presentation and taste, was just exquisite,” he said.
Okello said he learned something new about Risotto rice, which is a creamy rice dish that comes out with a different texture.
He says using your ears when cooking is a very key component in cooking.
“While tossing the rice, chefs have to listen to the sound. When it is hot, it produces quite a different sound from when it is cold. That is something I did not know," Okello said.
"I plan to take some of the concepts we have shared to the Coast. Come to ‘Minazi’, an Italian restaurant in Sarova Whitesands and give your taste buds an experience of a lifetime!”
Okello said he draws inspiration from his travels.
"I like to make classic cookery with familiar flavours and a touch of modern flair,” he said.
Executive chef, Alfan Mohamud Shaib of Afro Sayari at the Eastern Bypass said he learned that keeping an eye on the clock, balancing ingredients and the method of cooking are key in bringing out the perfect product.
“I am proud and humbled to be part of this experience. In life, no matter where you are, you have to be ready to learn. The masterclass has really opened my mind and I cannot wait to experiment and come up with new ideas,” Shaib said.
Chairman of the East Africa Chefs Consortium Enos Makanga said through the partnership with the Italian embassy, many chefs fostered interesting interactions and exchanged ideas.
“It does not end there, it has a ripple effect. These chefs will go back to their respective hotels and share the new ideas learned from each other and from the guru, chef Geraci himself,” he said.
Makanga said initially, the masterclass was supposed to be an exclusive event with five selected chefs only, but he had to intervene.
“I told ambassador Natali, it is high time Kenya changes its hotel and hospitality industry and it starts by helping it move forward with what we have," he said.
The official said growing this experience will boost tourism, something the government needs to push.