- He started cooking without training in culinary school and yet he is one of the most favorite chefs in Africa.
- With tattoos of their children’s faces on their hands, the family screams importance to him. But so do the flavors, the onions, and the garlic.
- The chef has worked in different hotels in South Africa and the UK and brings to Kenya a touch of different cultures across the continent.
Wayne Walkshaw is not your typical boss. The new chef at the Chophouse restaurant, Radisson Blu, was once in the army as a waiter.
He started cooking without training in culinary school and yet he is one of the most favorite chefs in Africa. He later got a diploma in culinary.
With tattoos of their children’s faces on their hands, the family screams importance to him. But so do the flavors, the onions, and the garlic.
When BDLife asked what ingredients you can’t live without?
“I can’t tell you how often people say, ‘Oh, I just don’t like garlic.’ I love garlic and onion,” she says.
The chef has worked in different hotels in South Africa and the UK and brings to Kenya a touch of different cultures across the continent.
“My philosophy is that my food doesn’t have to be complicated to be good, it’s about the flavors, the seasoning. For me it is more about the clients”, says the 48-year-old man.
So how does Chef Wayne create his dishes and food presentations?
“I do a lot of research. From research, I base it on my recipes and how the food will be presented. I like to look at photos and think maybe I could trade this item for something else,” she says.
As the Chophouse restaurant reopens after two years of closure and after years of elevating the dining experience in Kenya by serving food similar to an experimental meal in a chemistry lab, but very tasty and elegantly presented, Chef Wayne is betting on your team to attract new and old diners
“I have a good team, I have a guy who does molecular gastronomy… I want to take my flavors and combine them with the knowledge of my team,” he says.
However, he adds that as much as he has good equipment in his kitchen, he is a hands-on chef.
“At the beginning of your career, you always want to do everything by yourself, but as you get older, you realize that you can’t do everything by yourself. I always tell people to share their knowledge, no one is going to take your job. Sharing the work makes it easy, everyone is developing each other and no one wants to stay in one place for more than 10 years,” says Chef Wayne.
Chophouse’s standards, he says, were set by previous executive chef Wissem Abdellatif, who introduced super-aged steak to Kenyans.
“We just want to build on that and change things to the current style of cooking. We’ll make food interesting,” says Chef Wayne.
In a pre-reopening tasting, Chef Wayne and his team prepared scallops served in black salt, brandy, mascarpone and nutmeg puree, crispy parma ham and micro-leaves.
There was also the favorite Molo de lamb with eggplant caviar, black olive emulsion, soubise foam, enoki mushrooms, blackberry and red wine reduction, dark chocolate and chili crust.
New jobs come with worries. Do you have any?
“I used to worry a lot and realized it doesn’t help. I like to relax more,” she says.
With a heart to satisfy other people’s culinary desires, her taste in food is very different from what she does.
“My favorite food is nyama choma, beef and pasta,” he says.
Meals he prides himself on are crispy pink duck with roasted garlic mesh, whiskey jam sauce, some toasted walnuts, and chicken jerky.
“It’s plain and simple, but I promise you it’s tasty,” he says.
Being a great chef is almost like being a celebrity, but the job is incredibly demanding. What makes it stand out?
“I don’t think people know what it takes to get the food they get out. But it’s about consistency,” he says.
Do you harbor a desire to one day own your restaurant? And what kind would it be?
After opening several restaurants and failing, he has decided that he is not an entrepreneur but a chef.
“I have opened my restaurants and they failed terribly. I enjoy what I do, at this moment I do not plan to open any other. People have the false perception that having a restaurant makes a lot of money,” she says.