Crave Kitchen: a story in Photos


To comprehend the unusualness of Crave Kitchen, you must first comprehend the unusualness of the man who created the Kitchen itself. Chef Tom.

I had the honour of sitting with Chef Tom for a chat back in March.

And it really was an honour. Because Chef Tom is like an eel – difficult to pin down, a predator of blinking opportunity with the rare ability to squeeze and fit into snug spaces.

(Ha-ha, I feel like I’ve totally forced that correlation. I wanted to simply say ‘he’s as slippery as an eel’. That we couldn’t get him to sit down for a chat, even after I pulled the ‘I’m from Nation’ card, instead of ‘I’m from Craft It’.

Who wants to settle for First-Aid-In-English clichés, though, when we can experiment with the elasticity of the English language?)

Anyway, the first time Mburu and I went down to Kikuyu to meet Chef Tom in early February, he said he’d completely forgotten we were coming down. (Mburu was the photographer on this project).

Chef Tom, in his grating voice, a voice that makes you imagine he swallowed a bowl of gravel for breakfast, said, “Guys, I completely forgot. And my phone doesn’t catch signal in the kitchen sometimes, maybe that’s why you couldn’t reach me.” He glanced at me apologetically. He continued, “Look, I was up all night baking, I don’t have a baker, so I really need to go home and sleep. Can we do this another time? Please? I’ll fix you guys something before you leave. So sorry, man. So sorry.”

What do you say to a man in sweatpants, faded-blue Tomy Takkies and a beanie,  a man who hasn’t caught a wink all night because he was baking all night to music?

You sit your ass down in his Kitchen and marinate in the unusual ambience.

Chef Tom made us a lunch of mbuzi with glazed plums and roast potatoes, I’ve never had anything so delicious in a long time. We wiped our plates clean then hit the road back to the city, the sun behind us.

That was a Wednesday, in February.

Weeks later, on a loose Friday in late March, Mburu and I were back in Kikuyu.

Chef Tom said, “Look, guys, there’s something I’m working on for the garden. I want to have more sitting space, clay ovens for pizza, steak grills… Why don’t you guys come when we open in a few weeks? Hm?”

What do you say to a man in sweatpants, Tomy Takkies and a beanie, who gives you puppy dog eyes?

You look away and negotiate with him. Hard. I said, “Let’s just sit for 30 minutes. OK? Whatever I’d have gotten in those 30 minutes will be enough for the story. Just 30 minutes. C’mon?”

He wiped his hands on his apron and put his phone down on the table.

We ended up chatting for three hours. From 11 to way after lunch service past two. We even read whole paragraphs from his ‘Bible’ – ‘Conversations With God’ – and discussed them at length with Mburu.

What sort of story do you get after chatting a chef in a white t-shirt and beanie for three hours? You get this story.

I have feeling gnawing at my heart that I took more from him than I gave back in return. Maybe I should offered to go in the kitchen and fix something for him? My cold potato salad, that one meal I know can’t fail? Hahaa.

Chef Tom gave me a tight hug after we wrapped up. He hugged me and said, “Keep doing your interviews like this.”

I blushed. Like a silly Kale chick from Kaplong.

Plenty of the principles Chef Tom runs his Kitchen with are also applicable to life.

I’m injecting these principles into my banal routines.

I thrive more on feeling these days, than on method or technique. (Not to say that I’m ignoring method or technique, they just feature lower in my list.) I find myself passing things over because ‘It doesn’t feel right’. Or, ‘I don’t feel it.’ And, ‘I have a feeling I shouldn’t have another slice of cake.’

I’m teaching myself to daydream and imagine more, because Chef Tom said, “You can’t have something if you can’t imagine it.”

I’m experimenting with my creative expression. I thought I had lost a large corner of my soul because I stopped writing in my journal. But some wise bird called Michelle last week told me, “You’ve transformed and evolved, Bett. You got a daughter, you become a wife and got your own home. You’ll be what, 35 in October? The therapy that worked for you in your 20s won’t work in your 30s. So say goodbye to your journal, and explore new ways to express yourself.”

And I have. I am. I got houseplants, for crying out loud. Houseplants! But more on that another day.

GB is studiously reading ‘Conversations With God’, the books that changed Chef Tom’s perspective on life. My young mind has not yet matured enough to comprehend the gravity of what it speaks. One day it will.

And music. God, music. I didn’t realise what a central part of my life music occupied until Chef Tom pointed it out in his and in his Kitchen.

Music is the soundtrack of my life. Others have the sizzling of a pan as their soundtrack. Some others it’s the giggles of their toddlers. Plenty others crave that whirr sound from an ATM as it spews bills.

Right now I’m listening to Scorpions ‘Wind of Change’. Take me to the magic of the moment, where the children of tomorrow dream away, on the wind of change.

Yesterday I had on repeat in the moti Enid Moraa’s ‘Mchungaji’, local gospel. Last week it was Deborah Cox ‘Sentimental’, old school 90s. Week before that was ‘Don’t knock it’, from Bobby Nunn. Motown soul from the 80s. Next week I’ll listen to ‘Tangawizi’, the new-ish album from Ondi.

Then there’s indie. Indie is for always.

What follows are the photos from the day with Chef Tom at Crave Kitchen. I’m aching with nostalgia just looking at them.

Take a trip down there for some lunch or breakfast. Or just to be jolted into an alternative inspiration.

Tell Chef Tom I said hey. Don’t let his sweatpants disarm you.


Half the time the chefs are whipping up stuff that’s not on this board. I want to have a board like that in my life. Board and those defiant chefs

See those deseeded plums in the corner of the photo? Chef Tom later glazed them for our mbuzi. I swear

Can you smell the muddy peel from that waru?

A simple kitchen that makes extraordinary meals. Folk worry too much about appearance

Burn, baby! Burn (I said that like Edi Gathegi’s character from ‘Gone Baby Gone’)

Do you know what I see here?

None of the chefs are college-trained. They work in those white tees because Chef Tom said so. Plus, they’re comfortable to work in. Of course.

This bulb haunts my dreams. It has the answers to all your questions, don’t you think so, too?

I know you’re wondering but the answer is no – those chairs won’t leave splinters in your ass. They’re quite comfortable, by the way.

I see chicken wrapped in heady indecisiveness and giddy delirium. It’s a thing you can actually serve on a plate

Call me Chep. Chepchumba. Not Emily Chepchumba, just Chep

I want to believe they’re brewing coffee harvested from the fields in their backyard

Shut your eyes and listen to what that chopping board is saying

This bell was pulled off the ears of a Black Mamba bike. Only a few chefs have the privilege of making it ring

The carrots may as well have been harvested at the crack of that dawn

We live and die by the roll of such pins

Plum tarts. Or something, I don’t remember their name. What I remember is how delicious they were. Warm and unadulterated, straight from the oven (Oi, do you see the laptop from where the music plays?)

Chef Tom says he wore these boots to farm, in the year the Kitchen unexpectedly closed. They now hold the door open. Literally and figuratively. Mostly metaphorically

All photos are by Mburu Muriithi, of Nyuso za Nairobi, for Craft It. Image copyrights apply. None of these photos can be used elsewhere without the express permission of Craft It.

Foreplay is overrated
Wakanda forever

Comments (2)

  1. Mercy

    That photo with plum tarts. There was a laptop on that photo? I have a migraine from looking for it. I need me some plum tarts. Or something.

    • Bett

      Hahhha. Maybe you need two plum tarts to find it, Mercy.

      I want to point it out, but at the same time… I don’t. Is that cruel? :)

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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