It is a sunny afternoon on pre-covid campus. A flea market, vibrant with student buyers and sellers. David, a first year BCOM student is hoping to sell as many of his 30 chicken tacos as he can. Before he knows it, he is running home to make more tacos because all the thirty he had been sold out. He didn’t recognize that moment for what it was – the highlight of his time at Strathmore.
David’s story – with food and with Strathmore – doesn’t start there, so let’s rewind a little bit. Growing up, David most looked forward to weekends, because he got a chance to go out and try different restaurants with his friends and family. It’s where his love affair with food began. To sweeten the pot, he came from a family full of chefs and his cousins, all more or less his age could cook… he didn’t want to be left behind. Food was an integral part of his youth. So much so, that he took an interest in Culinary Arts. He says now that he’s glad to have made culinary arts a plan for the future, because otherwise, it could have meant never discovering his true passion.
Q: Would you say that you’re a content creator or an influencer?
A: I guess a bit of both. I get to create amazing recipes and help people discover a love for food. But at the same time, I am able to use my platform to convince people to try the restaurants I think are great, and the brands I work with.
Right after high school, David took his love for food digital. In that down time after KCSE, he started posting videos and photos on Snapchat (when it was still a thing) and then gradually on YouTube (don’t try to find those videos though). Eventually, he got on to Instagram and with encouragement from some friends, he launched a website to share recipes and recommendations. But his holiday was coming to an end and he had to make a decision. His parents suggested he chooses something other than culinary school, perhaps a business degree like his father had. Looking back, he contends that sometimes your parents really do know what’s best for you – he appreciates their input and continuous support.
Striking a Balance
Q: Are there any skills you’ve learnt while studying BCOM that you transfer to your content creation business, and vice versa?
A: For sure. Working together in groups has taught me how to manage professional relationships – even the difficult ones. I’ve been able to use that when working with brands. From content creation, I’ve had to learn time management and consistency, and carrying that into my school life helped me get through my project.
Over the past four years, David had to strike a balance between getting his degree and managing his growing content creation business. He would carve out time to film recipes and attend events while attending classes and doing his assignments. Sometimes he was surviving on 4 hours of sleep a night! What he discovered though is that both couldn’t thrive at the same time. He chose to prioritize school and work on influencing on Friday afternoons, thorough weekends and on school breaks.
When the pandemic hit, he was smack dab in the middle of his degree. It was a double edged sword, because though online learning was not ideal, it gave him more time and flexibility to create. It was in this period that he got his first major brand deal – a defining moment for him; brands were noticing his content and they wanted to work with him! He still counts that as one of the highlights of his journey, an affirmation that he was on the right track. Since then, he has worked with international brands like CocaCola, Weetabix, EABL and Blue Band. An equally defining moment for him was being invited for a live interview at KTN. He got to talk about being a food influencer and, despite the early hour, many people tuned in to support him.
The next season[ing]
It has been quite the journey for David, and as his time in the university elapses, he can turn his focus fully to creating content.
Q: What is the thing you’re most excited for in the near future… and don’t say graduation, because that’s what everyone says!
A: (laughing) I actually wasn’t going to say graduation. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I’m going to miss it. I wish I had done a lot more as a student, like participating in clubs or skills training, but I am grateful for the four years and the friends I’ve made. I am looking forward to resting after a hectic fourth year and dedicating more time to cooking and creating.
Come July, David will be graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with a specialization in marketing and an ever growing Instagram following, currently made up of tens of thousands of foodies. I wonder what first year David, unexpectedly selling out over 100 chicken tacos with the help of his friends, would have to say about that.
Find him on IG @davidkinyanjuii.
This article was written by Celia Kinuthia.
What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org