ITALIANS IN KENYA
19-12-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
Patrizia is one of those tough Italians who are sure of themselves and their potential.
With a passion for cooking and for Africa and its nature, she left Biella, got on a plane in 2008 and landed on the shores of Lake Naivasha.
Then to Gilgil, not far away, where she set up a company that produced breadsticks and distributed them widely in Nairobi.
Finally, she sold everything and, with a reasonable profit, did not take the first plane back to Italy, but now adapted and happy to stay in Kenya ("wonderful land, even with all its contradictions," she notes) she landed in Nanyuki, on the slopes of Mount Kenya, where planes and helicopters take off and land every day at all hours. Patrizia, with her partner Walter who went back and forth for a while and finally managed to reach her, today brilliantly manages the historic restaurant inside the small town's airport, Barney's.
Those who arrive here usually move to luxurious hotels on the slopes of the Batian and Lelion peaks or the Point Lenana celebrated by the book "Fuga sul Kenya" by the diplomat Felice Benuzzi, a prisoner of the British army, whom he mocked.
There is the Fairmont built by Hollywood actor William Holden and there are prestigious wildlife conservation oases like Ol Pejeta, Solio and other gems of sustainability in the Laikipia Plateau.
"I'm in the right place given my great love for animals," Patrizia explains, "but also in the perfect environment to express my passion for cooking and customer service.
At Barney's, in spite of its vegetarian temptations, the Anglo-Kenyan tradition of the pleasure of meat is respected and exalted by pork and lamb specialties that are very tender thanks to an excellent marinade, by hamburgers and pepper fillet. But pizza is a must and the international clientele, which is not only passing through the airport but now includes residents of Nanyuki and its surroundings and travelers of all kinds, can also enjoy specialties that recall Mediterranean flavors and suggestions.
Patrizia is satisfied, although her love for the sea and the sun would take her to Malindi.
"As soon as I can, I escape for a few days on vacation to the coast - she admits - and I love that lively town, with its human rhythms and vituperated by so many, which always makes me feel good."
But the work is in Nanyuki, she knows how to do it well and the success of Barney's is the proof.
When in Kenya, you find a good Italian, and we will not tire of finding them!
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