A lot of celebrities have been in Nairobi over the last week for various events. 112, Genuwine and Mya were in town for The Plot concert, which I missed but hear was aaaahhhmaaaazing!!! Zeddy Loki of Blackbird Jeans/Alexander Nash/Narok NYC too had a homecoming (after like 4 years away in the Big Apple et al taking the fashion scene over), and was prominently present at the 7th edition of Thrift Social by Oliver and Velma (it was the denim edition and it was tooo cooool). And then, there was Siba Mtongana!!! Yes, THAT Siba! Celebrity Chef. On Food Network UK. Yes! Siba of Siba’s Table!!! Can you tell I’m excited? 😀
See, I’ve been loving Siba long time. I’ve probably watched all of the episodes of Siba’s Table and re-watched most. I was thrilled to have an African woman on The Food Network representing the continent in a very competitive and elevated foodie world, and showing them that we can not only play with the best, by their standards, but also show off our own style and flare and authentic meals and traditions. My mum and I fell in love with her charm, laughter, family, and of course, her culinary creations. So when I heard she was in town as the guest of honour for the This Is Africa blog launch, I just knew I had to meet her.
I was 87.13% medicine (very sick and highly drugged up) but I tried my best to put on a human looking face, and made my way to Radisson Blu last Saturday for her meet and greet session. First of all, let me just say, she is absolutely beautiful! Mashallah! Wow. I walked in when she was halfway through her life story but appreciated the heart and elbow grease and smarts she has put in to becoming who she is today: one of the biggest names in the food industry in Africa. I loved how open and honest she was about it all – the fame, the struggles, the opportunities. But mostly, I really loved how she and her hubby, Brian, were so in-sync and effortlessly connected both on a deep personal level (you could see their eyes sparkle when they looked at each other) and on a business level (he manages a lot of her brand and business strategy). It was beautiful how they lift each other up.
We spoke for a little bit, took selfies, and she even did a video for my mummy (who couldn’t make it). We had some laughs, she praised Kenyan food and the quality of service at our restaurants and hotels, and she confessed her love for chapati ever since she honeymooned here some years ago. ** Someone really needs to look into this chapati and foreigners story. ** I had to get back to bed and Siba had an interview coming up, so the event came to an end but she promised to be back later in the year to launch her “Sibalicious” cook book ‘On My Table’ (published through her own company The Siba Co.) here and that she would love to have an East African cooking adventure. Here’s hoping!
Thank you Anyiko for making this possible. Siba is as darling as they come, and I’m so charmed to have met her!
*** How gorgeous is this wedding shot of Siba, Brian and a Giraffe? She and new hubby spent their honeyoon in Kenya exploring the coast and Nairobi 🙂