Njathi Kabui is an internationally celebrated organic chef, urban farmer, and food activist.
Kabui was born in rural Kenya to a coffee farmer mother and restaurant owner father, both of whom took an active role in the Kenyan independence movement. Immigrating to the United States at the age of 20, Chef Kabui earned Masters degrees in both Medical and Urban Anthropology at the University of Memphis and a Bachelors in Political Science and Philosophy Studies at the historically black LeMoyne-Owen College. He now leverages his rich legacy by sharing his extensive knowledge of farming, culinary skills, and food justice as he travels across America, Europe, and Africa. He is committed to changing the way society views food, justice, and sustainability.
He shares widely the effects of colonialism on Kenya and the traditions of his native Gikuyu indigenous group, connecting struggles abroad to those happening in the U.S. He founded The Association of African Students at LeMoyne-Owen College, showcasing African culture during African History Month, a tradition that continues to this day. In 2004 he founded a youth empowerment and community organizing group in the NC Triangle area for cultural and intellectual development and to improve community interdependence and self-reliance.
Chef Kabui grows a great deal of the food that he eats and serves his friends and family, and has long been involved in mentoring others to do the same. He led a community farming group that built food gardens for members to strengthen community ties and promote food sovereignty by working together to create sources of local food. He also ran a demonstration farms in Durham and Apex, NC to educate people on intensive urban agriculture. He now educates about farming from his intensive vegetable garden in Moncure, NC.
His work has been featured in interviews in the WUNC's "The State of Things," and in Kenya on Nation TV and INOORO FM. Listen to his perspective on famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, and Somalia on WAMU's nationally syndicated NPR program "1A." Kabui has spoken most recently at live events at The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, UC-Berkeley, Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Appalachian State University, Johnson C. Smith University, The North Carolina Museum of History's African American Heritage Festival, and internationally in Dubai, the Netherlands, and in Kenya on INOORO FM and Nation TV. Listen to his 2015 talk at Elon University, "Eating African Wisdom." You can find his essay "Eating as an Expression of Self-Worth" appears in the book "Mindful Eating," available for purchase this fall. You can find more of his writing here on the Chef's blog.
SPEAKING, FINE DINING & FUNDRAISING ASSISTANCE
Chef Kabui is a dynamic speaker on issue of food, race, and social and economic justice. He speaks at various conferences and economic forums, college campuses, elementary schools and cultural institutions.
Chef Kabui hosts fine, multi-course dinner on farms and in urban settings, and also serves as a guest chef at restaurants. His talks and hosted dinners are often employed by organizations raising money for social and sustainable causes.
WORKSHOPS & Consulting
As an indigenous elder/teacher, he offers workshops around food, race, and justice issues.
He keeps a garden, consults on farming practices, and offers advice on most things food, from seed to plate.