Mike Mwangi on living smart after cheating death

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Weekend pinch nan CEO

Saturday February 03 2024

Tribe Hotel CEO and General Manager Mike Mwangi during nan question and reply connected February 1, 2024. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

Mike Mwangi ever knew what he wanted to do. As a child, he’d shimmy astatine his grandfather’s lodge, peeling potatoes, making beds, helping out. He didn’t cognize it then, but this is what group him connected his way from committedness to promised land. Now, he is successful nan Canaan of his career, nan General Manager/CEO of Tribe Hotel, a luxury boutique edifice successful Nairobi.

His profession whitethorn beryllium good done, but his words are mean rare; sparse, and terse, not an ounce of excess, shaving disconnected nan fat to get to nan barebones. “Kitchen,” he says, “is organised chaos.” Not that you tin show from his demeanour, stepping languidly, owning nan space, recalling really his grandfather would navigator ugali, tilapia, and sukuma wiki, not conscionable selflessly but besides selfishly, arsenic an assertion of prerogative. Food = love.

At his artsy office, I snoop astir and my eyes autumn connected his Wall of Fame. A image pinch homages from friends and colleagues from his past occupation posting. Some telephone him Mikey, others Bro, astir conscionable Big Mike; each effusive, each saying he deserves it, nan large boy becoming nan main man. In different words, compliments to nan chef.

What’s it for illustration being you?

That’s a reliable one. I americium energetic, curious, and humble. Someone who loves to do what is champion for nan organization but besides enjoys life.

Was this a lawsuit of making your passion your paycheck?

My grandparents, who raised me, were successful this business. I was adjacent to my grandfather. He started successful hotels and went into distribution, past into an inn, bars and restaurants.

Is this a family thing?

My parents are successful a full different sector; my mom is successful healthcare and my dada is successful nationalist service.

What repast champion describes you?

Anything comfortableness food. Something homely specified arsenic ugali. I for illustration my meals flavourful.

What has nutrient taught you astir yourself?

Change. Food evolves and truthful do we arsenic humans. Different group tin return things differently, conscionable for illustration nutrient tin beryllium accepted successful different ways. I americium a plexible person, easy capable to adapt.


Tribe Hotel CEO and General Manager Mike Mwangi during nan question and reply connected February 1, 2024. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

Ever had a bad acquisition successful nan kitchen?

There was this engaged Friday nighttime erstwhile I had nan biggest trim connected my ft from a weapon that fell erstwhile I was cooking. And I had to support going because it was a large nighttime and I was nan lead statement navigator astatine nan time.

Are you a caput aliases a bosom person?

It has to travel from nan heart.

Do you person a typical repast you utilized to make pinch your grandfather?

Ugali, food and sukuma wiki. We had a  typical measurement of doing tilapia; trim into pieces, and arsenic a sauce. I nary longer person nan clip to do that because nan edifice keeps maine rather busy.

What was your nickname increasing up?

Mike aliases Brian. My afloat sanction is Mike Brian Mwangi.

What remains unchanged astir you since childhood?

Sense of adventure. I was ever a funny mind.

What do you miss astir your childhood?

Being successful nan location I grew up successful Nyeri. As a ritual now, that’s wherever I walk my Christmas and New Year’s.

What is thing I wouldn’t judge astir you?

My emotion for music. I perceive to much genres of euphony than astir group would guess. Most conscionable presume I perceive to hip-hop.

I besides worked successful a status home for astir a twelvemonth arsenic a nutritionist. That’s beautiful overmuch nan past shape of someone’s life. These homes person astonishing stories. For instance, I worked pinch a 101-year-old female who told maine astir her acquisition pinch slavery. She besides shared her early forecasts and advised maine connected what I should do.

It was an unforgettable acquisition that taught maine that I was not going to beryllium young forever. Life changes arsenic we turn older. What’s your legacy, what does your activity mean for you from a passion standpoint?

If you were to alteration thing astir really you were raised what would you change?

Nothing. It was a bully upbringing, particularly because nan group I grew up with, who are nary longer present pinch us.

What is nan champion proposal your mom ever gave you?

Be existent to yourself, beryllium human, make and study from your mistakes; and do what you do astatine your best.

What’s a typical representation you person of your family?

We person specified an astonishing enslaved betwixt my parents and sister. I retrieve each of america travelling backmost location (to Kenya from New Jersey, US) successful 1995.

If you could spell backmost to immoderate constituent successful life, wherever would you go?

Washington DC. That was my past station earlier I came here. Networking, from being much ambitious, my adjacent friends, nan improvement of life, that’s wherever I knowledgeable astir growth.

What’s nan 1 spot that calls you nan most?

The coastal region. I person recovered a very large liking of being astir h2o and really nan tranquillity of h2o conscionable calms maine down. But I besides for illustration nature.

What is 1 portion of proposal younger chefs should ignore?

Being told they are not bully enough. There are galore different paths 1 tin return arsenic a chef, from sports to wellness nutrition, and individual chefs among others. The nutrient world has go specified a pouring cookware and nutrient has go a science.

What are you learning astir yourself now?

I person go very diligent and capable to gait myself based connected my ain time. I was ever nan first in, past 1 out. I americium learning really to person that work-life balance. Kenya has been a large portion of that. It is bully to person clip for yourself.

What’s nan typical dainty you do conscionable for you?

Sunday is simply a me-day. Whatever I aftermath up and consciousness for illustration doing, nary 1 will extremity me. Whether it is driving, going to a caller restaurant, aliases seeing a show; immoderate I consciousness for illustration doing that Sunday.

How do you walk your weekends?

If not astatine work, past spending clip pinch my family. Exploring. Driving retired of Nairobi shows you caller destinations.

What matters measurement little than you thought it would?

Money. I don’t deliberation it is ever capable successful that sense. The humbling portion of it is why I would make that comment. If personification came pinch a container of money and I worked for it, I would return it. When you are younger you consciousness money is nan principle of everything, but erstwhile you get older you understand individual connections and having existent friends are much important.

What’s nan hardest portion astir being you?

People deliberation I cognize everything (chuckles). And that is from a profession standpoint. But we study each day.

What is nan kindest point personification has ever done for you?

I had personification donate to a origin I judge in, an organisation that creates consciousness astir epilepsy.

What is nan longest statement you’ve stood successful and what were you waiting for?

At nan taxable parkland hoping to get connected a scary ride.

What is nan astir achy point you’ve been told?

When I was a young cook, I was told by a cook that if I couldn’t activity accelerated enough, I should deliberation astir changing my career. My profession was conscionable starting. I quit. I deliberation sometimes group request to perceive nan awkward truth and usage it arsenic ammunition. What wounded astir is that I had conscionable offered myself to help, but it besides made maine inquire whether that was a civilization I wanted to beryllium in. It has informed astir of my decisions since then.

What’s nan champion compliment you’ve received?

When group opportunity they admit what I person done.

What is thing you are proud of but ne'er get to brag about?

Moving backmost to Kenya. To travel backmost and do what I love, and stock nan knowledge I accumulated abroad.

What is nan absurd point that you love?

Hmm. My emotion for ancient vehicles. I americium restoring 1 astatine nan moment.

What’s successful your bucket list?

I want to spell to 3 different countries. Mostly successful Africa, and whitethorn beryllium 1 Asian country.

What’s your blameworthy pleasure?

An astonishing steak aliases a bully burger made from scratch.

What is 1 point you are acrophobic to admit astir yourself?

I don’t definitive my soul fears.

What will group mourn astir you erstwhile you are gone?

My kindness.

What hack makes weekends better?

Shut disconnected everyone and do what you want to do. No pressure. Just chill.

What is 1 mobility group don’t often inquire you but you wish they would?

What it took to get here. People presume I conscionable made it present aliases knew personification but my profession spans from 2001. In my first edifice job, I was a steward, and past I became a host.

What’s nan soundtrack of your life correct now?

Against nan Wind by Bob Seger.

Are you smart aliases lucky?


Who do you cognize that I should know?

My grandfather.

What’s nan communicative of nan scar connected your face?

From a car accident. It came from nan epilepsy I had acquired from different car mishap backmost successful 1998. But I wasn’t driving successful nan first car. I person lived pinch it for a mates of years, and I person a bully support system; astatine times I hide I moreover person a scar until personification asks.

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