Some names roll off your tongue and as the wind carries the sound of these names, there are some names you hold on to. Kaluhi Adagala is one of them.
Have you ever wanted to have a nice homemade exotic dinner? Do you ever want to spoil yourself with wine and fine dining but the processes are too complex, the recipes not exciting or you can’t find all the ingredients? This hitch in satisfying a craving is what led to Kaluhi’s Kitchen, the Best Kenyan Food Blog in 2016 & 2017, one of the World’s Top 30 Food Blogs and one of CNN International’s top African Food Blogs.
At 26, Kaluhi Adagala is the owner, author and photographer of Kaluhi’s Kitchen – a renowned and celebrated Kenyan food blog. Kaluhi went from working a 9-5 in the Finance industry with a BCom, Finance Major Degree, to living as a full-time food blogger. She turned a hobby into a profitable career.
Her relationship with food began when she watched her mum and aunties cook. As a child. she would see them have so much fun and put so much love into cooking that it drew her to the activity. Kaluhi began to replicate her mum’s meals using tins, sticks and mud. She would make mud cakes, mud cookies and sometimes mud ugali which she would feel proud about. With time, she would familiarize herself with actual ingredients and start cooking.
When Kaluhi started blogging while waiting for employment, it didn’t occur to her that she would walk this path. After getting a job, she continued blogging on the side and found that she enjoyed it. She realized that she found more fulfillment in food blogging as opposed to the routine of her job. She took a risk, leaving her job to run her blog full-time and work where her passion laid – food.
When Kaluhi left her job to blog full time, the society around her struggled to accept this decision. It met them in shock as though it was the biggest sacrilege anyone could ever commit.
With time, they would come to realize that food blogging is actually a profitable career. Kaluhi’s journey hasn’t been the smoothest of journeys. She struggled with worth, avoiding exploitation and ensuring her content meets international standards. To build a brand as a food blogger will take time. The money didn’t come all at once and as fast as Kaluhi would like. She realized that blogging goes beyond an easy way to make money. This pushed Kaluhi to put in more work and build her blog into what it is now.
Kaluhi started her blog not only for food and recipes, but to solve problems that arise when it comes to food. She solves three problems she had encountered by using locally available ingredients, making her recipes as simple as possible, and making the food unique, and appetizing. This led to the creativity and simplicity of the recipes on her blog, which people love and appreciate. Kaluhi defines her blog as a food blog for the everyday Kenyan. She plans to change the way people plan for meals, cook, eat, and share their food.
Cooking for Kaluhi is not just a process, it is an art. She draws inspiration from different sources and ensures all elements come together. Her inspiration could be the smell of a certain spice, or the crunch of a certain ingredient. It could be the color/texture of a fruit and often, nostalgic memories of conversations with my family and loved ones during mealtimes. She writes down what she would like to create based on the specific thing that the inspiration triggers. Her recipes are then formed and tweaked to meet her creativity and simplicity goals. These recipes will tell stories when they become meals. She then goes into image processing, publishing and finally sharing of the recipe.
When you are pursuing your passion, it starts to pursue you. This reflects in Kaluhi’s decision to grow in her passion for food. 2016 would open so many doors and opportunities for Kaluhi. She was in Lamu for the annual Lamu Food Festival that happens every April. In October, she was flown over to Liverpool, United Kingdom, by the Diageo Group Guinness brand.
In Liverpool, they shot a promo for the brand which Carol Radull was heavily involved in. She also got to watch her first live match (Liverpool vs Manchester United). She then went to Dublin, Ireland where she visited the Guinness Store house. She learnt the ins and outs of making beer and the various recipes made with Guinness beer.
Her favourite trip of 2016 was with Google Africa. Top influencers from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa were flown to Johannesburg to experience the culture and history tied to the city. They informed their audience about Google product features that are available, but not well exploited. Kaluhi also published her ebook, In My Kitchen in May of 2016, after beginning work on it in January. We see that when you decide to give your craft your best, opportunities will always find you.
Beyond her passion for food, Kaluhi is a daughter, sister, friend and a foodie. She obsesses over kids, sunsets, The Script and all things girly. She enjoys sleeping, laughing, long walks and intellectual conversations.
Kaluhi’s journey reminds us to focus on what sets our hearts on fire and make our dreams realities. We can channel them into profitable careers. We have all it takes to create the lives that we want to live. Our journeys will take time but we must remember to trust, and not rush the process.
© 2017, Ona Akinde. All rights reserved.