I know what you are all thinking but let me stop you right there. Well, he is not James Bond from the movies. His name is John Bond Macharia. He is a 21-year old Kenyan chef who has landed an exclusive internship with Swedish restaurant, Faviken.
I am curious to know how he introduces himself to the world and when I ask him, his confidence is impressive as his answer, “I’m a 21-year-old pastry chef and chocolatier. I’ve always been passionate about food and viewed cooking as an art form. I use food as a medium to express myself through creating it. I love it when people get to enjoy my creations and brings joy to them, sharing that piece of myself with others is what really drives me.”
What are you passionate about as a person? How do you express yourself? This is the time to pursue what really gets you going just like John Bond Macharia.
John’s journey has been one of self-discovery and a willingness to work, “From an early age, I always knew I wanted to get into making food because my mum has always been doing lots of cooking and catering.” Yes, some of us were always running away from the kitchen but not him. “I always helped out and that’s an environment I’ve always felt comfortable in. After high school, I decided to take a gap year and work in the industry and see if it’s actually what I wanted to do.”
“I started off by working at the Tribe Hotel as an intern. I worked there for 6 months and then they hired me as a commis chef. Six months later working there I moved to the pastry department and I kinda stuck with it. After Tribe, I moved to Casual Bites in Westlands and I worked in their bakery for 6 months. I then went on to Switzerland to train professionally and I did a course in chocolate and pastry arts for a year.”
Taking the initiative to be a professional in whatever you do is always important as we can learn from John Bond Macharia. He has also been working at one of the leading French bakeries in Kenya, “It’s been a great opportunity working at Le Grenier a Pain. It has helped me in the sense of self-growth working with an amazing team. I’ve also learned how to handle more responsibilities as well as learning how to collaborate with others. Integrating French cuisine into Kenya by using local products is also something I have learned. I’ve been there for a year now.”
Internships offer you a chance to expand your skillset, learn how the industry works and even secure a job.
Working at a Michelin-starred restaurant
I was excited when I got my first internship position as a writer. The same is for John Bond Macharia who will be working at Faviken, a Swedish restaurant, from December to March 2018. But it is not just any restaurant. It’s Michelin-starred. What is that? I know, it’s okay to ask. Michelin star is a global standard for awarding restaurants and hotels that offer amazing food and services. Few restaurants in the world have been given this badge of approval.
So how did he manage to land the internship, “I sent out a lot of applications to Michelin-starred restaurants for apprenticeship. They have a very long waiting list and you have to have a pretty good CV as well. Eventually, Fäviken came back to me after a while and they asked me to join their team in December to March.”
He gets his inspiration from Magnus Nilsson, the head chef at Faviken, and French chef and restaurateur Dominique Crenn. We are also sure he has other hobbies that are not food related. “In another life, I would have been a zoologist!” He quips.
“I like long-distance running, drawing, I also used to play the violin but I had to stop because I didn’t have enough time anymore. Music has always been something that draws me in as well. Kingsman Golden Circle was a movie I enjoyed watching. Game of Thrones, Chef’s Table, Mind Hunters and Big Bang Theory are my go to series.”
Wow, something as simple as food can take you around the world. Your dedication is all that’s needed. Are you earnestly working towards your goal? I also asked him what word he would have for anyone wanting to get into the industry and he said, “Be determined. Perseverance is also key and always have a goal set in mind. The challenge in life is that things will take time so be patient.”
Chef John has served at a High Tea ceremony held at the Swedish Embassy in Kenya. His internship is a dream come true and we are proud of him for waving the Kenyan flag high.
Follow him on Instagram: @JohnBondMacharia
Initially published on KenyaBuzz.