My name is Tawfiq, Ali to be exact. I am a Digital content creator and YouTuber and i have an undeniable passion for culinary arts and food photography. I was born in Nairobi and grew up on the Swahili coast of Mombasa, Kenya. That’s in East Africa. The Island of War, but its richness lays in the white sandy beaches and aroma of spices and the twilight crowded fish market, infused with a punch of African culture influenced with the Arabian and Portuguese background, and what’s left of it, is in its architecture and the tales you’ll hear from the diverse locals. While sipping your cardamom rose iced tea, as you inhale the aroma of grilled corn or sugar cane being chopped on the side of the street;
As you wait for your freshly grilled fish or perhaps Nyama Choma “grilled meat” (seasoned with sea salt and secrets) served with “kachumbari” salsa, made up of pungent fresh corridor, thinly sliced green garden chilies, cubed shallots, and hand-picked diced tomatoes, slightly seasoned with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lime.
Meanwhile, during the summer “mandi” traditional Yemeni cuisine, an aroma that would exploit the Mombasa old town corridors would literately leave you for more. Is a memory I have for Mombasa.
I moved to Dubai at the age of 11, before returning back to Kenya for boarding school to complete my high school and then moved back to Dubai, where I graduated with a bachelor’s in Media at Murdoch University.
I began experimenting with food at the age of 8 and as far as I can remember, it first started with making flavored spiced ice teas and “mandazi” Swahili doughnuts. Then came “Betty cooker” cake recipes. And by age 12 I made my very own birthday cake from scratch, and I mean flour, sugar, eggs, e.t.c and by age 13 I would cook for family and my friends. The kitchen was and still is my studio and turf. My inspiration in cooking really stems down in my childhood ( having a food and speech disorder) and being surrounded by the Swahili diverse locals and my curiosity of it all.
I love technique, I enjoy tasting, and developing recipes; The simplicity of culinary arts, sous vide steam or flower vegetables and I take as much in time cooking, in plating, and most importantly I just love cooking and sharing it all with you. Fortunately here’s where “Oganikku Pantry” comes in, where I develop and create healthy Gluten-free, vegan recipes. All of my recipes reflect my journey to veganism and road to recovery.
So what does “Oganikku” mean?
Oganikku is the Japanese term “Organic” which perfectly summarizes my pantry in one word; besides Japan’s awesome.