Since the beginning Basecamp concept has been centered on empowering staff by offering them opportunities to develop themselves. That is why for the past three years Basecamp Explorer Kenya has equipped their chefs and kitchen staff with the knowledge and skills that they need with a partnership they have developed with the owners of Kuppelrain a Michelin star restaurant based in Italy.
For 4 days two of their renowned Chefs visited Basecamp Explorer Kenya staying at Eagle View and Leopard Hill for fun-filled days where they shared their skills with the Basecamp Chefs. Basecamp Chef’s team led by Chef Benson Basecamp’s head chef and author of the Eat This! Cookbook had a busy week working together with Siblings Kevin and Nathalie Trafoier, Michelin star chefs from Restaurant Kuppelrain in Castelbello, Italy. Having the title “Michelin Starred” next to your name is a major achievement in the culinary world. It implies that both the chef and the restaurant have been evaluated and deemed the best of the best. Michelin Stars set the standard for ranking the finest in the restaurant industry and the culinary world, so being a Michelin Starred Chef is of the highest honor. It is like winning the Oscar of the culinary world or an Olympic gold medal; it sets you apart from the others. It encourages restaurant chefs and owners to revolutionize the dining experience.
Those working to attain a Michelin Star use it as motivation to work harder- they push to be the most innovative and creative in their field. Those who do have the award, however, will do whatever it takes to keep it. It was an honor for Basecamp Explorer Kenya to host such a caliber of culinary artists. Kevin and Nathalie have nailed their style of cooking, as they both have been awarded Michelin stars following in their father’s footsteps who was awarded his Michelin star 22 years ago. We caught up with the siblings to ask some basic cooking questions and their recent experience while at Basecamp.
At what age did you decide that you wanted to become a chef and who or what inspired you?
Nathalie: I would probably say at the age of 14. Actually, I had two choices then, either to become a doctor or a chef. And at the age of 18, that is when I decided to become a pastry Chef.
Kevin: I never wanted to become a chef at least until I was 18 years old. I wanted to become an architect. I thought the hours the chefs had to work were too long but then I realized along the way that if you want to be good at your job you have to work long hours and so I decided at 19 years to do what I love and not what I could and that was becoming a chef.
Where do you get your influences from?
Nathalie: My brother and I were brought up by parents who owned a restaurant. During our younger days, we would help my mother to make cakes and that is where I found my inspiration to become a pastry chef.
Kevin: Aside from being influenced by my parents who owned their restaurant, somehow am inspired by my culture and heritage and personal experiences, and a lot of the time I can trace my inspiration back to having a diverse group of friends whose diverse food choices inspire me to create a meal that we can enjoy toegether. I always take the pleasure of cooking for them, especially those that are vegan. There are also the farmers who plant, harvest and supply the ingredients I use to prepare meals.
What’s are the three ingredients you can’t live without?
Nathalie: That would have to be chocolate, cream and fresh fruit, especially lime. Desserts don’t have to be too sweet, a little mix of sweet and sour taste goes a long way.
Kevin: If you make it simple, then I would say potatoes, onions and salt.
What was the best part of this training experience?
Nathalie: I was humbled to see how the chefs appreciated our presence and I loved that we could do something together that would have a positive impact as they look forward to improving their skills.
Kevin: Don’t get me wrong but the best part of this training was seeing the chefs fail but at the same time having the chance to help them do it right and seeing their happy faces once they successfully created their desired meals.
What was your favourite meal at Basecamp?
Nathalie: This is definitely a very difficult question. But I loved the soups, the fresh salad with avocados, fresh bread and the meat. The chefs did an amazing job cooking the red meat.
Kevin: I loved the freshly baked bread and the well-cooked red meat.
What do you do during your free time?
Nathalie: I love to walk around and tend to our vegetable garden. I also like visiting my grandmother since she lives away from us. She also loved cooking and I learned a few things from her.
Kevin: When I am away from my busy kitchen life, I like going on mountain hikes together with my wife and dog. I also relax at the bar in the company of friends or visit a nice restaurant to enjoy some good food.
Describe your experience at Basecamp Explorer Kenya in 3 words?
Nathalie: Three words would not be enough to describe such an amazing experience but here goes a heartwarming and full of exciting cultural experience brought out by the people we met at Basecamp and not to forget the variety of wildlife here was amazing and the landscape scenic in every way.
Kevin: My experience here was quite interesting getting to know this new culture of the Maasai people, heartwarming nature, the people here are very hospitable and lastly helpful we came on a mission to help the chefs at basecamp improve on their skills and I think we did exactly that.