How I Cooked My Way To Obama’s Menu

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(Last Updated On: July 20, 2016)
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Sandra Iminza Mukidza is a young food enthusiast who’s crazy about the food service and production industries in general. Having recently turned 24, Sandra is very goofy and fun spirited, it’s always about positive vibes with her.

She is an alumni of Strathmore University, having studied Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. She is currently a graduate student at Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland, pursuing a Masters degree.

How has your culinary Journey been like?

My parents from as young as I can recall have always hosted visitors so it’s something I’ve watched from a very young age. My mother; I like to call her mama bear because she can go from zero to one hundred in seconds, has always been an amazing chef. I remember always wanting to help out and she’d give me little tasks such as peeling onions or washing tomatoes, and sometimes being lucky enough to touch her “vyombo za wageni” that my sisters and I were forbidden to use let alone touch. I would even walk to the guests with a jug full of warm water and a basin so that they may wash their hands. I’m sure we’ve all done this at one point in our lives.

The kind service my mother always exuded slowly rubbed off me and as I grew older I decided to turn things up a notch to pursue a degree in line with this passion. I delved into the food blogging scene in 2012. Weird story behind it, I was diagnosed with a neurological condition known as optic neuritis and through that rough patch a local data science company that was starting out gave my first blog ever as a gift. How perfect, I finally had an online canvas that I could use to paint my food story. So here I am in the fertile land of hospitality chasing my dreams.

Tell us more about your Food Blog.

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I have been blogging about food for close to four years now. I recently closed down my old website and decided to start a fresh, however the new site is still under construction in terms of content and finalizing on a few features on the website. The oven fresh site will officially go live on Sunday the 14th of August, 2016.

I think being a food blogger is not the easiest because it requires not just a part but all of you. There are days I’ve had to endure long hours of shopping, I get home I have to prepare the ingredients then cook the dish then plate it and after plating, take pictures standing or bending in the most awkward positions then finally editing and uploading the pictures or video of course with a cute little story or a well-structured recipe for the readers. But on the flip side, the end results are very rewarding.

Where do you get your Inspiration from?

I am constantly inspired by the amazing leaders I’ve interacted with while I was out gaining some industry experience. What drives me is my passion, and the satisfaction I get when I engage in operational or managerial activities.

What have been your cooking achievements?

I was promoted to a Jamie Oliver Super Ambassador last year due to my exceptional food revolution works in Nairobi. I would organize several cooking clubs where I would teach a small group of children how to prepare various healthy food options, our slogan was “Dunk the Junk”. Due to the large increase in the number of children I decided to work with schools. I was honored last May when I got the opportunity to work with Rusinga School during the Food Revolution Day.

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I also organized themed events where I would invite Nairobian Foodies once every month, and would host up to 6 guests per event. The cover charge per guest on average was about Ksh. 2000 inclusive of 3 courses and unlimited drinks from wines to cocktails.

My favorite highlight would be that I was honored to be part of the team that prepared and printed the menus used during Obama’s state dinner last year during his state visit.

What are your ambitions?

I aspire to not only be a great leader in the hospitality industry, but one that that will go beyond the borders of the industry and better the nutrition provided for children in public schools in Kenya today.

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 What challenges do you face in the food and service industry? And thoughts worth sharing?

They don’t lie during your lectures when one of the points on the power-point presentation says “it’s a labor intensive industry”. You find yourself having to work extra hours when there’s high volume of business. It takes time for one to grow and get into a managerial position so please be patient with yourself, you need all the experience you can get in operations. It’s very competitive out here, always be prepared opportunities don’t always come every day.

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Take advantage of the networks you build and try to keep them alive, there’s going to be that one person you’ll need to cross a bridge one day. ..

Social media handles:

Get Food Educated Group on Facebook

@Miminza on Instagram

www.iminzasandra.com

 

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