Chef Muhia was raised by his grandmother, a home science teacher in a nearby school. She had a passion for quality food and was passionate about ensuring that her knowledge of food preparation was passed down to younger generations. Martin would assist her with making cakes and preparing traditional foods for local wedding ceremonies. These were his first steps in gastronomy, fostering a budding interest in the food industry. Having finished high school, he joined the International Hotel and Training Institute in Nairobi. Since his graduation, he has worked for the Imperial Grand Hotel and the United Nations Restaurant in Nairobi, and is currently working at the EU Embassy Restaurant in Nairobi. In this time, he has worked tirelessly to promote traditional Kenyan dishes.
Inspired by the growing disconnect between the hospitality sector and the food supply chain, and shocked by the figures from a recent survey indicating that about 80% of all staff witnessed food waste in their kitchens; Chef Muhia started the campaign #NoFoodWaste, to sensitize people about Food loss and Food Waste that is taking place in Kenya and across Africa. He has participated in a number of food festivals including the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, and most recently the Chengdu International Food Festival in China, where he delivered a speech on food waste and biodiversity from farm to fork. He won the best taste award for his innovative recipe, which had a focus on Slow Food Ark of Taste products from Kenya.
He has been featured on the Shamba Chef program that delves into the most traditional of African cultures and food, and travels across Kenya to find out what rural communities go through in their kitchens, where they get their food from, and how they cook and eat it.
He believes that the rise of prepared food is limiting chefs’ opportunity for innovation. He is working against this with fellow chefs, by promoting the use of local products in the kitchen. Martin is keen to promote African gastronomy at all levels in the hospitality industry.
Mukimo and Njahi (Hyacinth bean) with Mbuzi Choma (roasted goat)
Mukimo is a traditional dish that is popular in the Kikuyu community. It consists of maize, beans, green leaves, bananas and potatoes that are mashed together. It is a delicacy for young old generations due to its richness of nutrients. The food was prepared in special Kikuyu ceremonies weddings, birth, initiation, payment of dowry among others. The dish was only prepared during these events and the ingredients used could vary based on the occasion, but today it has become a regular meal in many households. In the Kikuyu tradition, it was regarded as the food of kings.
The advantage of this dish is that it is mashed and does not need any refrigeration. It can be stored in a calabash in the kitchen and can last for up to 4 days!
1 kg Njahi (Dolichols) – Ark of Taste
6 Large mutahato bananas that are almost ripe (peeled)
3 boiled potatoes (Optional)
1 large bunch Spring onion
1 Leg of goat.
Munyu is a natural tenderizer that gives the meat a smoky flavor. It is a dark-colored liquid extracted by decanting a burnt mixture of banana peels and bean pods.
- In a pan, sauté the chopped spring onions, add mashed Njahi and mix.
- Add the potatoes and continue until well mixed.
- Add the ripe banana.
- Meanwhile, wash the goat leg, and place in a pot of water. Bring to the boil.
- Add ginger, garlic, lemon grass, rosemary and instead of salt use Munyu.
- Let the goat boil until it is tender, then roast on a charcoal grill for 3 minutes to make it crunchy
- Season to taste and serve with vegetables of your choice
Some videos of Chef Muhia’s appearance on Shamba Chef