Maasai Master Chef: Kenyan tribe gets taste for haute cuisine

Published 6:04 AM ET, Mon January 20, 2014
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The Karen Blixen cooking school is an 18-month course run for Maasai youth hoping to train as chefs and work in the Maasai Mara region's vital tourism industry. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
Named after Danish author who wrote the memoir 'Out of Africa,' the Karen Blixen school invites qualified chefs to teach Maasai students in Kenya. The camp has already welcomed several chefs from Denmark. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
Rune Eriksen, a cooking tutor at the camp, said his students are very interested in British cuisine given the UK's ties with Kenya and its colonial past. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
The aspiring Maasai chefs are also keen on Italian food. Bruschetta and roasted vegetables pictured here. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
Rune Eriksen, from Denmark, teaches a class with his students. He said that tourism in the Mara region "creates a wealth of employment to the local community, which leads to income for the employees." Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
Eriksen works with Julius Simanka Kireu, 27, who is one of the current crop of students at the school. He said that he would like to help teach his community the importance of food hygiene when cooking. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
Inka Kanae Simion, 21-years-old, graduated last year after leaving his job as a butcher and joining the camp in 2012. "It was my dream to be a chef," he said. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
When students complete the 18-month course, villagers from the local communities in the Mara Maasai region are invited to a graduation ceremony. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
Eriksen presents one of his students, dressed in traditional Maasai clothing, with a diploma from the cooking school. He said many of the students go on to work in the local tourism community. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
Guests at the ceremony are treated to a traditional Maasai jumping dance, known as Adumu. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp
The community gathers to congratulate the graduates after completing the course at the Karen Blixen cooking school. Courtesy: Karen Blixen Camp