- Carol Waithera studied law while in Kenya but she fell in love with a German national and had to relocate to Europe.
- While in Germany, she had to quit her legal profession because her studies were not recognised.
On a typical Sunday, you will find Carol Waithera dancing and smiling while she compacts a piece of dough to prepare chapatis in her La[Kula] Restaurant nestled in Schermbeck, Germany.
Entrepreneurship has offered her a fresh lease of life for the former lawyer. While in her mid 20s, Carol Waithera had already earned a degree in law but as fate would have it, she wasn’t going to practise this noble career.
Waithera fell in love with a German national and had to relocate to Deutschland. She was faced with a culture shock and things headed further south after it was confirmed to her that she wouldn’t be allowed to practise law.
According to the entrepreneur, the law degree earned in Kenya wasn’t recognised. In order to work as a lawyer in Germany, she had to start the studies afresh.
And there was another painful reality; the studies would take at least 7 years. Waithera chose to give up on her profession and sought employment opportunities.
She began working as a dishwasher in a restaurant. During her free days, she would still volunteer at the restaurant just to get a few culinary skills.
“That is something I can always tell people; don’t always look that you’re earning money. If you can earn skills, that is the best thing ever,” she says.
Enrolling For Apprenticeship
According to her, she had always had a passion for cooking since her childhood days.
“I have always loved cooking. When I was in Kenya, when there were parties, I was always the one cooking but I had not thought of this as something I would do for a living,” she says
The enthusiastic entrepreneur managed to enroll for chef apprenticeship studies which took her two years to complete.
The course was a dual system where the theory and practicals were done on different days. After her studies, she was employed as a chef before the restaurant she was working for closed shop.
Starting Lakula Restaurant
Waithera decided to start her own restaurant but she didn’t have the required capital.
She chose to approach a bank for a loan and was lucky she was considered because her business plan had a unique selling point. Its establishment would make it the only restaurant selling African dishes in Schermbeck.
With the money, she incepted Lakula Restaurant which has a capacity of around 100 people but has an outside garden that can accommodate 300 people. It also has rooms for visitors who want to spend a night with them.
On Fridays, the restaurant offers African cuisines while Saturdays are for curry masala. Sundays are dubbed Nairobi brunch and she offers a variety of Kenyan foods that are mainly taken for breakfast.
Waithera’s culinary enthusiasm sees her dance and smile while preparing the foods in the kitchen. It is a sight to behold and makes the restaurant lively.
“Bringing people together to come and enjoy our African food is our tradition. We like enjoying food together,” she says.