Conversation with…Ken Gambura, Head Chef, Braai Flavours

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Ken Gambura, a former sales and business development manager, founded the Zimbabwean, Southern African and Vegetarian Kitchen, Braai Flavours in 2015. Braai Flavours delivers open fire, smoked and grilled meals in and around Nottinghamshire, UK; it also runs an online grocery store and caters at charity, corporate and private events.

Championed by the Michelin-starred chef Marco-Pierre White at the Nottingham Food Festival in 2015, Braai Flavours has gone on to win several awards including the 2018 Lux Life Magazine Food & Drink Award for Best African Cuisine Restaurant – UK and International Cuisine Food Brand of the Year – UK. In August 2018, Ken was featured in the Huffington Post UK article ‘How Chefs Get Inspiration From Around The World.’

 This Saturday December 15, 2018 Braai Flavours will launch their cook book ‘BraaiFlavours: Taste the Adventure’ – a collection of some of their most popular dishes.

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Ken Gambura, Head Chef, Braai Flavours

I guess let’s start at the beginning! What is the story behind Braai Flavours?

Around 2015, I worked with a charity. One of the things I did was cook food for their events to help generate revenue. I’ve always loved cooking, and this was one way I could support the charity and give back to the community as well as feed my passion. Believe it or not, that was where the idea for Braai Flavours was born. I started off with a series of street food stalls/pop-ups in and around Nottingham at markets and food festivals, and then we opened up a restaurant last year.

How did you learn to cook?

I grew up around food. My mum was a really good cook and most of what I know about cooking I learnt from her.

What was the inspiration behind the cook book?

The book was inevitable. When we opened Braai Flavours 3 years ago, it was immediately popular which took us by surprise. People were so open to trying the dishes – the vegetarian and vegan dishes in particular really took off. Customers soon started asking for the recipes and were curious about the flavours and spices we used, as well as the cultural significance of the dishes. They have continued to ask for 3 years so eventually we had no choice but to do this! For us, the cook book is a way of giving back to our community and customers and thanking them for their support.

What can we find in the book?

‘Taste the Adventure’ is a collection of some of our signature and most requested dishes since we started, including the sumu chicken, boerewoers and vegetarian braai. It also features vibrant photography, fast facts about the origins of some of the dishes and poetry penned by my sister, Isabel, who co-wrote and edited the book.

Sumu chicken sounds…hmmm…succulent! What is it made of?

It’s essentially grilled chicken glazed in our signature sumu sauce. The recipe was handed down by my father. If you want to know more, you need to get the book!

Taste the Adventure

Family seems to be central to Braai Flavours.

Family does play a big part. As well as Isabel editing the book, my son designed the back cover and my younger brother created the banners and logo. My son is autistic and an aspiring artist and another book cover design of his won a World Book Day competition at his school. He has also had work from a school project exhibited at the Nottingham Contemporary Art Centre.

The banners and logo were designed my young brother who is a musician based in Zimbabwe. My nephews and nieces are also part of Braai Flavours helping me out at events wherever they may be.

Many of the recipes in ‘Taste the Adventure’ can involve the whole family, including the kids, making creating flavoursome food a lot of fun.

What have the last 3 years been like for Braai Flavours?

We have grown tremendously and learnt more than we could have imagined. One of the things I was and am still big on is giving back to the community. Alongside our restaurant, we ran cooking workshops for the homeless and young offenders to help in their rehabilitation. This was supported by the local council. But things grew so fast that we actually had to rethink our model; we couldn’t do as much community work as we wanted as the restaurant was so busy. We closed the restaurant, so we could re-evaluate and find the right space to allow us to do what we really find to be fulfilling – creating tasty, healthy food and giving back to the community.

That’s commendable and refreshing! So, where can we find Braai Flavours now?

We are currently online, catering for events, delivering and selling our sauces and other Southern African condiments. We are looking forward to announcing a new space soon.

What has been a highlight for you?

It’s been wonderful to see some of the young people we have trained in our kitchen go on to achieve success. Two of them are now apprentice chefs, one is a beautician and another a photographer whose work has exhibited at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. This is why being able to work with young people as we create good food is so necessary.

Where will ‘Taste the Adventure’ be available?

This Saturday December 15th we’ll be at Sherwood Christmas Market, then on Sunday 16th at the Park Market, both in Nottingham. On the 21st of December, we’ll be at Heanor Foodie Friday Market in Derbyshire. Signed copies will be on sale and there will be recipe tasters too.

Braai Flavours Logo

Get the book here:

Sherwood Christmas Market, Saturday December 15, 2018 – 9am-3pm

Sherwood High Street Market, Mansfield Road, Nottingham NG5

 

The Park Christmas Market, Sunday December 16, 2018 – 10am-3pm

The Park Market, Newcastle Circus, The Park Estate, Nottingham NG1

 

Heanor Foodie Friday Market, Friday December 21, 2018 – 9am-2pm

Heanor Market Place, Derbyshire DE75 7AA

 

Kindle version: www.amazon.co.uk

Hard copies: https://www.braaiflavours.com/#menu

 

Website: www.braaiflavours.com

Telephone: 07544469680

Events email: events@braaiflavours.com

Chef’s email: ken@braaiflavours.com

Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/BRAAIFLAVOURS/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/braaiflavours/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/braaiflavours?lang=en

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Conversation with…Elijah Frederick, Teenage Author

Elijah Frederick is the 13-year-old author of action-adventure book ‘Shifted Code’ launched in October 2018.

Before writing his book, Elijah was a junior blogger for the Obi & Titi series, a competition winner and contributor across a variety of publications.  His love for writing prompted him to ask the creator of Obi & Titi, Oyehmi Begho, for guidance on how to publish his first book; Oyehmi then mentored Elijah through the whole process.

‘Shifted Code’ is about Tadeo, a tormented genius who is isolated and excluded by everyone in his class. He is also bullied by the brawny Nathan, and his friends, and ends up being paired with him on a computing project. The victimized Tadeo must then deal with the misery of working with his nemesis.

Shifted Code Author Picture

Elijah Frederick, Author of Shifted Code

How old were you when you wrote your first story?

I was in Year 3, but my best memory of writing is from Year 4, when we literally had to write our own book. We had to design the front cover, write the blurb, everything, on our own. After that, my passion grew, and I started to read more.

What or who, or what and who, inspired you to write?

I think my Mum inspires me to write, because of her personality. She’s a very determined woman and is one of the main reasons why I kept on going and not drift away from writing my book. Writing a book can drag sometimes but with my Mum’s encouragement, I was determined to keep going.

She also took me to a lot of writing events and would show me videos of young authors, and we’d talk about them. I then thought, ‘if they can do it, then I can do it too.’

How do you fit in your writing with school and homework and all the things that a 13-year-old likes to do?

Well I have good time management skills, so I make time. My secondary school finishes quite early too, at 245pm, so I have time to get my homework done and relax then think about my stories.

 What other activities do you do?

Well I went to rugby club today and I quite enjoyed it! I really like to brainstorm ideas for stories. I like playing chess and draughts, and I like playing a little bit of blackjack – my Dad is a player. I like money games as well.

When you read, what kind of books do you like to read?

I like to read action and adventure mainly because of the characters and because there are so many plot twists. Anything can happen. The characters are unique too.

Shifted Code is an action and adventure novel, right? How did you come up the storyline?

The story started out with the main character getting sucked into a chess game but that was difficult to get around. So, because I like computer games, I thought why not create my own game that the character gets sucked into? Then I found that mixing action and adventure and my love for computer games worked.

How long did it take you to write the book?

It took me about 2-3 years, because I was still in primary school when I thought of the concept. The plot was altered a couple of times because we needed to make sure that it was right for the age group I was writing the book for.

Did anyone help you to write the book?

My Mum did as well as my mentor, one of the authors of Obi and Titi. I met him [Oyehmi Begho] at this book event that my Mum took me to and then I read the books. After that, I wrote a review on one of the books, we kept in touch and he became my mentor.

Have you got another book planned?

I’ve got ideas for a few books and I also have ideas for a sequel.

If a young boy came to you and said, ‘Elijah, I’m thinking about being a writer too,’ what are 3 pieces of advice you would give him?

I’d say to them – get in the environment of writing, never give up on writing, read books that you genuinely enjoy and use them to improve your vocabulary.

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Further Information:

Contact: Candice Bryan; Website: www.elijahfrederick.com; Email: info@elijahfrederick.com Phone: 07930 637 902

To order your copy, go to:

www.elijahfrederick.com