Highlighting the Kenyan chef who prepares food for Arsenal

Kariuki cooks for Arsenal stars. Image via youtube/chams media

Growing up, Bernice Kariuki was once expelled from school in the first week due to naughty behavior. Born and raised in Jericho estate, in Nairobi’s Eastlands, Kenya, Kariuki moved to a rural school to complete her secondary education after her dismissal.

Bent on traveling abroad after school, she managed to get a scholarship in Sweden when she was 17 years old. There, she enrolled in a culinary school for 18 months but she “didn’t like what they were cooking” so she left for the UK. Kariuki subsequently took a course in psychology for three years because her father wanted her to become a doctor. But after seven years of practice, she went back to what she loved — cooking.

Having studied Culinary Arts at Westminster Kingsway College, one of the UK’s leading schools of hospitality and culinary arts, Kariuki is now doing great in the hospitality industry, making headlines recently as English Premier League club Arsenal’s first team chef.

The 51-year-old got the job in 2021 after meeting with former Arsenal captain and now Chelsea skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at a Christmas party where she was part of the culinary group that prepared meals for the event. In an interview with Chams Media, Kariuki recalled making Pilau (an East African dish) for Aubameyang at the party. He enjoyed the meal and the two then talked about working together.

“So there’s one time we went to a Christmas party, and I met Auba and I urged him to consider me for a slot at Arsenal. The conversation bore fruits as later on, he informed me that I could be his personal chef and that’s how I got my job,” said Kariuki.

As Arsenal’s first team chef, her duties include cooking for the first team players at the London Colney training ground, particularly designing nutritious menus for the team, not forgetting the management team and members of Arsenal’s technical bench. 

Essentially, the Kenyan-born chef works about 14 hours a day, 90 hours a week, usually starting work very early in the morning due to 4 am runs by Arsenal players, a report by Kenyans.co.ke said.

“My shift starts at 3 am where we collect our fish in billingsgate and then we prepare the fish when the kitchen is cold,” Kariuki explained. “We do their shakes because the players arrive on the pitch by 4 am and do their running. Afterward, they have their omelet and some avocado, have a chilling time and begin their sessions at 11 am, so the money they’re paid is worth it.”

As someone who has had an amazing career in the culinary world, Kariuki, before landing the role at one of the biggest football clubs in the world, worked in several high-class hotels in London such as Dorchester Hotel and the Waldorf Hilton Hotel, according to Nairobi News. From the streets of Jericho to making headlines as Arsenal’s first-team private chef, Kariuki is definitely living her dreams.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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