Return to Kenya, a seven part TV series coming to Amazon Prime, follows Anita Kerai returning to her birthplace 22 years after leaving.

The 43 year old former accountant from Harrow changed career and became a chef. In the show she returns to Kenya retraces her culinary roots and inspiration.

Anita says: “Although I’m a busy working mum of two, I always make time to prepare home cooked meals. I hope both Return to Kenya and Flavours of Kenya brings cultures and communities together, because cooking for my family and friends is my way of showing them love.”

The forthcoming TV title, which will be available to stream from November 24, recreates recipes from Anita’s Kenyan-Indian upbringing. A Hindu faith combined with African hardships lend flavour to 100 per cent vegan & vegetarian recipes that intentionally reduce food waste.

At the same time Anita will release Flavours of Kenya, a 170-page cookbook which revisits several dishes from Return to Kenya. These include Swahili Vegetable Udhiyu, which draws natural ingredients from Kenya alongside Anita’s ancestral home of Gujarat. Other one-pot recipes were learned in Nairobi and Mombasa from Anita’s parents, grandparents and friends, and then perfected for a global audience.

Some of the proceeds of Flavours of Kenya will be donated to Curry for Change, a charity that assists poorer families in both Asia and Africa. Anita is also a Food Revolution Ambassador and regularly conducts free cooking shows and classes in North London schools to teach food science and nutritious home recipes.

I spoke to her to find out more…

Where did you grow up?

I am a third generation Kenyan- Indian and grew up in Nairobi. I came to the UK in 1997 when I was 21 years old to study ACCA . Joined by my family in 1999.

Tell me about some of the biggest parts of Kenyan culture?

Kenya is a mixture of cultures as the Arabs, Portuguese, Indian (especially from Gujarat and Punjab), British, and the 40 ethnic tribes have influenced it. The Masaai are the only ethnic group that has retained their culture. Family and communities are very important to all Kenyans. Kenyans are very friendly and hospital and are always welcome guest at any time.

Kenyan culture is a way of life that has blended traditional with modern influences. This is clearly shown in the food, music, dances, art, and literature, language and mostly its people. The third generation kids of immigrants such as myself consider ourselves Kenyan rather than Indian and consider Kenya as our home.

What is Kenyan food?

It is heavily planbt-based as there are plenty of fresh vegetable being grown. Traditional ethnic Kenyan staples are sorghum, millet, maize, beans, collard (spring) greens, mung beans (ndengu) and plantains (matoke), alongside meat stews and chapati bread. The Kenyan diet is centred on completely starchy meals that are very high in carbohydrates. Kenyans rarely eat starters and desserts but if they were to grab something sweet, it would usually be a fruit such as a banana or papaya, a piece of sugar cane, passion fruit, mangoes, lemons, oranges, pomegranates, coconuts… to name just a few.

Due the influences of from different cultures, food in Kenyan is very varied. The Mombasa and the surrounding coastal areas use a lot of coconut and spices such as nutmeg, cloves, saffron and have dishes such as mahamari ( sweet donut flavoured with coconut and cardamom and wali ya nazi ( coconut rice ).Nairobi and the central regions are have traditional githeri (beans and maize, ugali and Sukuma wiki and chapati . Along with grilled sweetcorn, roasted cassava and mandazi you can also find Indian snacks such as bhajias, and samosas and roasted cassava being sold on the streets. Kenyan love their Chai (tea with milk and spices), so any time is teatime for Kenyan, this is a tradition inherited from the British and the way of making chai is Indian style.

The modern Kenyan cuisine is now a fusion of different cultures and influences. Kenyans enjoy traditional dishes such as sukuma with Indian roti and ugali (served with Gujarati kadhi.Food in Kenya has become more exciting, adventurous and flavoursome in recent years

Why did you decide to do this?

Cooking and Food has always been a fundamental part of my growing up. I enjoy cooking and do not find it as a chore. The thought of turning my hobby into my job has always been there since my daughter was born. Towards the end of 2016, I gave up my role at Kantar World panel as they were going through restricting the finance department and my role was changing and family reasons. In Feb 2017, I decided to follow my passion and dream. I always believe that it better to try to fail then to regret not doing it. Therefore, at the age of 41yrs I took the brave step to become a chef.