Life. Love. Food

Siba Mtongana: Strength, Charisma, Grace.

If you have been following my blog since its inception you know very well just how much I look up to Siba. I always talk about her and admire how effortless she is with her craft. I first met her on Thursday the 12th during “This is Africa Launch” and had the honor of once again getting a once in a lifetime chance of getting a one on one interview with her the following Saturday. I was sooooo nervous. I was just praying not to stumble over my words or make a fool of myself in the presence of my role model LOL. After arriving embarrassingly a little bit late I found a warm, calm crowd cracking in laughter while keenly listening to Brian speak as she looked on and chipped in.  After the meet and greet, we took our selfies and got to chat with the power couple. “You are doing a fantastic job! I love your work & I love your site!” Siba told me. My soul literally left my body! Hearing that from someone I look up to is among the most validating things I have heard since I started this journey. We spoke about so many things. She has this warm demeanor that makes anyone feel at ease. She is very humble despite her constant rise and rise. Born and raised in Africa, and still living in Africa, she is very proud of being part of this continent’s story and is a strong believer that we can rewrite our narrative and that in whichever field we are in we can be just as good as, if not better than, people born in other parts of the globe.

Here is how our one on one interview went down:

Kaluhi Adagala and Siba Mtongana at her exclusive interview at Radisson blu Nairobi_

K: Which African country would you visit just for they food besides South Africa and Kenya just for the food?

Siba: It has to be Ghana and Nigeria. I would definitely have a taste of Jollof from both countries and finally decide which country prepares the the best Jollof and put an end to the never ending Jollof war. LOL! Besides their food, I love how West Africans, in particular Nigerians are very proud and unapologetic of their African heritage. They really own it! I think it is something we should all emulate.


K: What or where do you get inspiration for your recipes?

Siba: I mostly get inspiration for my recipes from the food I grew up eating and the nostalgic feelings of those meals make me want to make people experience the same feeling, you know, to make simple yet world class meals right in their homes. I also get inspiration form my travels. Experiencing how different cultures prepare their meals and live opens your mind to a lot more. I also get inspiration  from observing food trends and capture as much as I can in meals I prepare.

Best African Food Blogger with African Celebrity food personality Siba Mtongana_ of Food Network's Siba's Table

K: You were unveiled as global ambassador of “Stop Hunger Now” campaign which as at July 20th managed to collect 2 million meals in South Africa alone exceeding the target of 800,000.  Africa does have a problem of malnutrition. What do you think each one of us can do to eradicate the problem?

Siba: We need to really start helping our own people. We have enough of ourselves and if we come together, we can do more than enough to help out instead of always relying on outside assistance. I do it not out of pity, but because I want to bring goodness and be a glimpse of hope. It is something I am very very passionate about and very humbling to bless and change lives of the less fortunate. Granted, Africa is not all about starving people, but it is still an existing problem. We need to come together and help each other eradicate it.


K: With the internet, one can get their message across a lot easier and faster. But that also makes one vulnerable to cyber attacks. What do you think about that?

Siba: I am now at a stage in my life where such comments do not really get to me. Some people will always overstep and comment on things they do not know about or shouldn’t speak on. All you have to do is to grow thick skin and whenever someone says something that does not matter, brush it aside. What actually bothers me is people who feel the need to pull down someone. You gain nothing by tearing someone down. It is totally unnecessary and I am all for building each other up and growing together.


K: How do you think your faith has influenced your work ethic?

Siba: I believe faith and work ethic are completely inseparable. Faith has direct influence on who you are as a person and shapes your beliefs and decisions. Genuine faith,  keeps you grounded. As humans we always want more, but having faith allows you not make you compromise your values and beliefs in the pursuit of what we want. It is very important to keep your eyes on God so that you do not get sucked into the material.


K: You have a cook book “On My Table” which has been really successful and has been well received both locally and internationally. You and your team did an outstanding job! It is a first of it’s kind boasting a QR code which takes readers to videos of dish preparation. What were some of the challenges you encountered while publishing it?

Siba: Our biggest challenge was funds, especially considering the quality & standard we wanted to have for my book and the sourcing of experts from different industries we had to have on board to bring it to life. My book was self published through my company The Siba Co..It was a real challenge. It was not easy, but we did it! Funds have always been a major challenge for not only me but a hindrance to the achievement of so many other people’s dreams. I hope to have The Siba Co. publish other peoples books in the future and have better deals for authors and provide opportunity for others to achieve their dreams.

Siba Mtongana cookbook welcome to my table _this is africa launch

K: Which Ingredient do you least enjoy working with?

Siba: I have to say saffron. I find its smell and taste rather too assertive.


K: Which is your most memorable career moment to date?

Siba: I think I would say my most memorable moments came in stages. My key milestones are my most memorable moments. When I was starting out, landing the editorial job at Drum Magazine was huge. Then I got my first cooking show ‘Cooking with Siba’ then getting scouted by Food network for my show ‘Siba’s Table’ and the moment my cook book which I put so much effort in sold out all over South Africa. Those were my most memorable moments.

{Speaking of her show ‘Siba’s Table’, my favorite episode was the Seven Color Sunday where she made an AMAZING trifle! Have you guys tried it out? Here is a link. You have to try it out!!!}


K: Your cook book really did break records! Do you plan on selling internationally?

Siba: Yes. We are working on it and we will sell in the countries my show airs as that is where my audience is established.

{Yesssss! *happy dance* I MUST get a copy !!!!!!!!}


K: What is the best advice you have ever received that you live by?

Siba: I have to say two that really live by:

  1. Always put God first in everything. Honor Him and He will honor you. Do not be ashamed of having your anchor in Him or of your faith.
  2. When you work under someone work hard, very hard, and take as much skill and knowledge from that job with you since that knowledge will come in handy while building your own brand. Work just for 5 years for someone, there after establish yourself in your field.


K: Chicken or Duck ?

Siba: Chicken, and by the way Kenya has the best chicken. The chicken served here is the real deal!!!

Siba Mtongana of Siba's Table with top Kenyan food blogger Kaluhi

K: Ice cream or Froyo :

Siba: Both


K: Pigs Brain or Live Octopus:

Siba: None.  Who eats live octopus, that really mean!


K: Your dream Super power:

Siba: Super woman! I want to change the whole world


K: Favorite spice:

Siba: Garlic in herb


K: Last thing you cooked:

Siba: Trifle I made on The Trend


K: Puppy or Kitten:

Siba: Definitely Kitten. I am a cat person. They are the nicest creatures although they are not too loyal. I had a cat that used to gently brush over my skin with its claws, not scratching, just a gentle caress.

K: Cats are the best! I had a cat too. Loved it so much, but it just got up and left one day and never came back :(. They are definitely not loyal! LOL!

when two cat lovers and fab foodies get together...

when two cat lovers and fab foodies get together…

Siba loves Kenya and said she will be back. I hope we cook something up together during her next visit. Until then, rise and rise!


The past week will be one I will never ever forget. I believe this is a start of something great and so many nice things to come. One thing I particularly resonated with were:

  • We all have to fight for our dreams. Nothing  is too small or too irrelevant. If God put that dream in your heart, you have to go full steam ahead for it.
  • Hard work pays off. Always work hard. In my country in particular, a huge majority believe in short cuts and cutting corners to the top. Working hard is the long way, but it is the right way and it refines your character and keeps you at the top. Do not be discouraged by the process, just keep going. It will always pay off!
  • We all have a role to play in re-writing the African narrative. Yes, we have major problems with corruption and poverty, but that is not all we are about and we have it in our ability to solve them and show the world the side the media never talks about. Our African heritage is a badge of honor, despite what the media may want us to believe. The resilience of our people and optimism in all situations is something we should always apologetically celebrate.


To success & excellence,

-Kaluhi <3



  1. Lyra Aoko

    This interview is everything Kaluhi!

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Thank you so much Lyra! I really enjoyed it… nothing like interviewing someone you look up to!

  2. Gatuiri

    Great interview K.
    Siba is such an amazing woman. Inspiring and very humble. Great role model.

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Her humility is beyond words, no wonder she succeeds in everything she does. I have found even more reason to aspire to be like her. #goals. May we all in our own way, with our God given gifts add value to our continent.

  3. Debbie

    I love how relaxed this feels. You both have a warm, genuine spirit. i have never met neither of you, but i am proud to have both of you as trail blazers in Africa!

    • kaluhiskitchen

      That is one of the best compliments I have heard! Thank you so so much. It was a really fun interview too! Very relaxed and easy!

  4. Whispery Wind

    Loved this interview. So real and personal. You really did a good job bringing that out.

    • kaluhiskitchen

      So glad you did! This will always be one of the best people in the food scene I will ever rub shoulders with <3

  5. Maureen

    Great work ,
    I felt like I was there with you guys 🙂

    • kaluhiskitchen

      That is such great feedback! I wanted to make this interview warm and personal and I am glad you felt that too :))

  6. Moffat

    So you are the person being named ‘siba ‘on the interview…Great conversation there.

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Not too sure if I understand your comment :DD. I hope you enjoyed the read though :))

  7. irene ogalo

    for a minute there i thought she came to your house hahaha!!! I love it you guys look so comfortable and open .

    • kaluhiskitchen

      One day she will. And we will cook up one hell of a storm!!!! LOL! It was indeed a calm, comfortable, warm interview. Couldn’t have imagined it any other way.

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