Anita Kerai a third generation Kenyan -Indian born in 1975 and brought up in Nairobi Kenya. Anita's grandparents immigrated to Kenya in the 1930's to work as masons on British buildings. Both her parent and their siblings were born in Kenya so she sees herself Kenyan than Indian.
Anita lives in London, but was always determined to make food a fundamental part of her life. At the age of 21, Anita came to UK by herself and her family made the hard move to the UK in 1999, leaving the beautiful lifestyle and scenery of Kenya behind, but holding tight to the memories and inspiration of food.
After crunching numbers as an accountant for over fifteen years for companies such as Sony Pictures Entertainment, London based chef Anita Kerai made a decade long dream come true last year when she left behind her successful financial accounting career to pursue her passion for food: to recreate vegan and vegetarian recipes from her Kenyan-Indian upbringing for her new show, RETURN TO KENYA , which just came out on Amazon Prime in the UK, US and EU.
Anita's book FLAVOURS OF KENYA revisits several dishes from her series which draws natural ingredients from Kenya alongside Anita’s ancestral home of Gujarat and recipes that were learned in Nairobi and Mombasa from Anita’s parents, grandparents and friends, and then perfected for a global audience.
Always very inquisitive, Anita was mesmerized as a young child as she watched and learnt about food from her mother. She was fascinated by the basic ingredients that were available and the amazingly colorful and honest fusion of Indian and Kenyan dishes her mother and dad created.
“I was always thinking about doing something with food because most Kenyans love cooking - my dad loves cooking, mum loves cooking - it's part of my growing up.”
Growing up surrounded by nature and seeing a lot of poverty around has made Anita very environmentally conscious and ethical. Anita's cookery school Anita's Kitchen is geared toward reducing food waste and teaching skills and recipes for those who want to go on plant based diet.
" We need to save and protect the beauty of the planet, we owe to our next generation." Its in my blood say's Anita.
"Kenya is famous for its wildlife and nature but perhaps not enough is known about the Kenyan cuisine and it’s influence on many cultures." “I want to share with the world that there is Kenyan cuisine, its very plant based and very healthy.”
For Anita, the series and cookbook are personal quest paired with her wish to promote Kenyan cuisine and raise awareness to protect Kenya’s wildlife and nature.
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