Cheesy Charcuterie by Sara Mitaru of ASH
By Waithera Mbuthia
Yes, taking a long hot shower after a long day is therapeutic. But have you tried some good food and some relaxing music? This combo gives therapy a whole new meaning. Kenya’s Emmy nominated artist, Sara Mitaru knows this all too well and together with her husband David, have created two amazing products, ASH Music and Ash Kitchen and Grill, from the ground up. We caught up with her and she meticulously prepared a Cheesy Charcuterie board as she shared her inspirational journey, giving us a deeper understanding of what ASH is all about.
“Ash which means Acoustic Songwriters Hub is a space where we combine great music and great food. With the pandemic we have restructured and we are bringing the music and food into people’s homes and backyards,” she starts. “Two years ago, we begun a musical experience for songwriters that grew in to a community. We are now combining that with the food aspect, which is a celebration of creative music and good food. Perfect way to blend the arts,” continues Sara who describes herself as a singer, songwriter and one half of ASH.
“We are not trained chefs, we are Google taught, so many times and as expected, we’ve had to work twice as hard to learn and make sure that what we are cooking matches the standard or supersedes it if we can,” she confides. They pick some of the tricks from Google, specifically YouTube, then fuse that with some of their own renditions of these recipes to give it that ASH hospitality.
ASH has collaborated with brands and friends who have proven to be quite reliable and helpful in the process. The collaborations have mutually beneficial. “There’s Rosemary of splendid events who makes our set ups look amazing, and Mumbi who runs Kisementi Oak farm, who gives us fresh ingredients. Collaboration has become critical,’’ continues Sara as the Cheesy Charcuterie begins to take shape.
“The Covid-19 Pandemic really hit the entertainment and hospitality industries hard. As ASH, we barely had the food element going before the pandemic but then we had a series of chats with our friend Ciiru of Fun Homes who made us realize that we needed to pivot. She showed us how and since then, people have been supportive of what we do.”
On lessons picked along the way, Sara firmly says the process has taught them the importance of changing one’s mindset. Accept the new normal, don’t have an ego, ask for help, always be grateful and give thanks to those who help and pay it forward.
“A typical day at ASH revolves around processing orders, mastering recipes from YouTube videos, testing and tasting.. y’know..just balancing work and family,” says Sara before adding that the idea of dining- in is changing since the pandemic. “People want an experience, we were lucky enough to be in the experience industry. Myself as a Songwriter and my husband David Kimanthi Muthami as a music producer and co-founder of ASH. He’s actually the one behind the great cooking and so we used that combined experience to guide us. We are now setting up in people’s homes and enjoying the intimacy of it all,” she says as she works the final touches on the Charcuterie Board.
On ASH’s ultimate game plan, Sara says they hope to give an opportunity for many more creatives to get paid, keep busy and re-create the industry with the new normal.