With a glass of wine in hand, Annabel Onyango arrives at The Taste Awards to do what the stylist in her does best; check out what everyone is wearing.
I got to the Taste Awards an hour late for several reasons: getting my makeup done (obviously), traffic (obviously) and changing my outfit at the last minute (obviously). All day I had planned to wear all-white- a white pencil skirt paired with a bomber jacket with eyelet detail, but as I opened the front door to leave, I changed my mind and my clothes, opting instead for a purple suit with a cluster of black rose brooches at the lapel (because menswear is my safe place).
So I eventually get to DusitD2 as guests are finishing up their cocktails and heading towards the ceremony. Making my way through the gauntlet of attendees, a glass of red Neder- burg wine in hand, this is the perfect opportunity to see what everyone had on. So who wore what? Lifestyle Editor Susan Wong, in her usual bespoke style, looked like a generous glass of the Merlot I was drinking, in a wine-coloured, off-the-shoulder number with retro bell sleeves- a bespoke creation by local designer Wambui Kibue of Angelsmile. Cocktail dresses seem to have been created for Susan’s body, which is a natural wonder considering her job as a food writer.
EatOut Founder Mikul Shah mimicked his relaxed demeanor at his own event in a dark tuxedo jacket, trendy knit tie and jeans. In her usual minimalist style, his artistic wife Ami Doshi Shah of jewelry label, I AM I, wore a navy jumpsuit highlighted by a statement geode neckpiece in brass; her own design.
The red ponytail bobbing up and down a few rows in front of us the entire night turned out to be Doxis Bekris, Executive Chef at the Fairmont Group of Hotels, who would eventually take the coveted award for Chef of the Year. He is olive-toned, has a cascading mane of curly hair and is covered in tattoos – all the ingredients for a culinary rockstar. I suppose that’s why he didn’t feel the need to wear anything distinctive for his special night.
Then there were the Food Bloggers: Sheila Rabala (Rabala’s Delights) showed off a plunging dé- colletage in a black tea-length wrap dress, while Karen ‘Kaz’ Lucas (OMG! What’s happening in my mouth!) went the opposite way in a white mini-dress and flatform sandals. Miss Mandi (MissMandiThrowdown) was a girl after my own heart in a crop top and stretch skirt combo.
Ultimately, my best dressed of the evening was Shivani Radia Patel, winner in the Best Pan-Asian category for Bamboo. She wore a demure knee-length dress with a painterly print, but with a bold asymmetrical hemline that made it look like she had on a real piece of art. Her sister and business partner, Payal Patel, also displayed effortless elegance is a blush-coloured column dress. These two are a formidable force in the hospitality and style industry of Nairobi, and their fashion choices reflect their success.