Kaluhi Adagala is a Kenyan girl who enjoys cooking and sharing her recipes.
You are known for your popular food blog, Kaluhi’s Kitchen. How and why did you start blogging?
I started my blog in 2014 because I wanted to share my recipes with my circle of friends. I used to share them on my private social media handles. However, I realized it was easier to have them on a blog so that they could freely go and retrieve them. I also wanted to have a home-grown blog that uses local, easy to source ingredients and to show cooking delicious food is very much within our grasp. The reach of my blog eventually grew beyond my immediate circle of friends and 4 years later here we are!
You quit your job to go full-time as a blogger, what has the experience been like? You’ve also transitioned into vlogging, what has that been like? What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
The transition to full time blogging was a thrill as much as it was terrifying. The first year after I quit my 9-5, I was still not getting any income from the blog and the savings I had from by job are what kept me afloat. I focused on building my brand and asserting myself as a Kenyan food authority and slowly but surely, the right brands took notice of my excellent work and my passion turned into a lucrative source of income.
I have also just started doing videos to complement my blog posts. Having a more visual step by step guide to what I have on the blog gives my followers a more wholesome and fun cooking experience. For me, my YouTube channel is complementary to my blog, and not a substitute of the same. I understand that YouTube is now popular in Kenya, but my blog has such enormous reach both in the country and globally and it would be such a disservice to simply abandon it. I also enjoy writing so my beautiful blog is here to stay.
It is a lot more time consuming handling both the blog and my YouTube channel, and learning how to shoot and edit my videos has been a steep learning curve, but it is very satisfying seeing how much better I am becoming and how much fuller the experience for my readers is.
Some of my career highlights include:
- Being shortlisted among top 30 food bloggers in the world by Prestel USA in their book, ‘Beyond The Plate’.
- Winning Best Kenyan Food Blog at the BAKE Awards 2016, 2017 and 2018.
- Meeting my Idol, Siba Mtongana, twice in Nairobi and Johannesburg and getting to feature in her internationally acclaimmed show on Food Network, ‘Siba’s Table’.
- Being the star guest in CNN’s Inside Africa with Zoe Adjonyoh showing her around Nairobi and showing how we as everyday Kenyans eat and source for our food.
- Partnering with amazing brands such as Google, Guinness, Safaricom, Unilever, CocaCola to name a few.
You have a cook book and are now hosting a ‘Brunch with Kaluhi’. What was the genesis of these concepts and what can your fans look forward to?
My e-book, ‘In My Kitchen’ is a collection of 50 exclusive recipes that are not on my blog, and that I deeply enjoyed growing up. I wanted to share them with my readers in a separate avenue and I thought a book would be amazing.
As for my brunch, I have always wanted to eat with my readers and have them enjoy food created by my hands. ‘Brunch with Kaluhi’ enables exactly that. Readers reserve their spot on a first come, first served basis to give everyone an equal opportunity to be an attendee. They not only enjoy 6 dishes in 3 courses made by me, but also get a take-home gift I put together from different Kenyan food brands that I love!
I want to keep my numbers small and have my brunches intimate so attendees vary between 7 and 10. I was so pleased by the attention the inaugural one got I plan to make the brunch more frequent.
Plenty more is happening with my brand and when the time is right, I shall share with everyone the amazing things I have in store for them. The future is bright and exciting!
What is something that our readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I have mentioned this before but it still shocks people every time; I am a BCOM-finance graduate who took a leap into food blogging as a career. I am self-taught and every recipe I develop comes from my head.
Name 3 women you are inspired by and why?
Sally McKenney, Ree Drumond and Siba Mtongana. These are three very driven women who have managed to build entire empires through their gift of conceptualizing recipes. They have expanded their brands beyond recipe development, and now have their own international cooking shows, dinnerware lines, cook books and restaurants. They have taken what is seemingly the every day task of cooking, and woven it to make an impact across continents, minted money from their talent and forged successful careers around it. I hope to be one day mentioned among them.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“You are your own competition.”
Very simple advice that has been said time and time again, but truly when I started looking within and deliberately topping my previous best is when my eyes opened to the brilliance of my potential.
What do happiness and success look like to you?
On an interpersonal level, success means adding value to the lives of others through my work. On a personal level, success and happiness means peace of mind, deep sense of fulfilment from my work and of course, financial stability with surplus to comfortably spend when need arises.
What is your favourite thing about being a food blogger in Nairobi?
Seeing that Nairobi’s food scene is very quickly growing, my favourite thing about being a food blogger in Nairobi is the endless sea of opportunity. Yes, there are systematic challenges as is in any other sector as a result of our corruption-crippled country, however, one can literally be anything and diversify their craft into many other areas beyond blogging but in the same niche.
To get in touch with Kaluhi or read more about Kaluhi’s Kitchen, we’ve got links to her blog and social media accounts below.
Website: Kaluhi’s Kitchen
Facebook: Kaluhi’s Kitchen
Youtube: Kaluhi’s Kitchen