Ashley Palmer-Watts returns to Kenya with Farm Africa

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ashley Palmer-Watts to launch Nairobi Restaurant Week

Related tags: Farm africa, Kenya

Ashley Palmer-Watts, executive head chef at the Fat Duck Group, has returned to Kenya to launch Nairobi Restaurant Week in partnership with charity Farm Africa. 

It is just over four years since BigHospitality first followed the chef to the country,​ where he saw how Farm Africa was helping farmers across eastern Africa grow their incomes in an environmentally sustainable way.

On this trip he met Joyce Kadenge, who the project had helped to set up and manage her own fishponds. 

New initiative

Now the chef has returned to Kenya to launch Nairobi Restaurant Week, which will see 60 top restaurants offering fixed price menus from 26 January – 5 February.

The event will kick off with a charity cocktail night on 19 January hosted by EatOut Kenya, with all proceeds from ticket sales being donated to Farm Africa.

Palmer-Watts has also revisited Joyce to check-up on ‘Ashley’s pond’, which he helped her dig over three years ago.

“It has been brilliant to come back and see Joyce and her family and the aquaculture programme,” he said.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, especially given the challenges of the drought at the moment. Life continues to be hard for smallholder farmers in this part of Kenya, but it is great to see the good work continuing by Farm Africa. It was amazing to visit Joyce’s grandchildren at school too.”

Ongoing support

Joyce explained that the support she had received from the charity had made a huge difference to the success of her business.

“Before we started doing fishponds people around us thought we were just joking but now they know it is serious business," she said.

"I would recommend fish farming to others and encourage people I know because when you harvest you can get an income. I can show others the ways to farm fish.”

Showcasing Kenyan food

Palmer-Watts has been joined on the trip by Dennis Mwakula, group chef for Eversheds, Restaurant Associates.

Mwakula grew up in Nairobi but moved to London in 1994 to study Business and Finance, before turning to cooking as a kitchen porter at an investment bank.

He will deliver the canape menu at the launch on 19 January, alongside Alan Murungi, head chef and master brewer at Sierra, Nairobi and Luca Pintus, head chef at Tribe Hotel, Nairobi. 

“I am looking to forward to using the event to showcase what Kenyan food can be,” said Mwakula.

“This trip has been a great eye-opener into what Farm Africa does for smallholder farmers and see the challenges they face. It is clear we just need to do more.”

For more information on Farm Africa visit http://www.farmafrica.org/​.

Related topics: Events & Awards, People, Restaurants

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