World News

Kenya's Facebook chef: 'I want to be the African Jamie Oliver'

Posted June 4, 2018 11:50 a.m. EDT

— From Jamie Oliver's food crusades to Ocean Robbin's "Food revolution," popular chefs have had a huge impact on how people prepare meals and eat.

And it is no different in Africa, where one Kenyan chef is redefining home cooking and promoting African cuisine through Facebook classes on a page that has attracted more than half a million followers.

Raphael Ndaiga believes everyone can make a delicious meal from wherever they are.

"No matter where you are, an onion is the same, beef is the same, tomatoes are the same, what is different is how they come together to create one dish," says Ndaiga.

Ndaiga developed his palate early in life. His father used to work for the Carnivore restaurant, a high-end entertainment spot in Nairobi where Ndaiga would later carry out an apprenticeship before joining college.

'African Jamie Oliver'

At 24, Ndaiga decided to take up cooking professionally and joined the famous culinary school, Utali college. 

"After finishing college, I went to Orlando, in the US and worked for a restaurant. Immediately after that, I went to the UK and worked in a five-star hotel and the next year, I got a job on a cruise ship and traveled the world."

After gaining experience, he returned to Kenya and chose to move away from working in restaurants to teaching cooking classes online and privately.

However Ndaiga says he felt restrained because he now has the freedom to "do whatever I want in terms of of creating a menu, creating recipes and cooking different meals... which I would never get to do if I was working in a restaurant."

His long term ambitions is to bring the continent together through its cuisine.

"The impact I want for my Africa, is to be the guy who encourages people to love their cooking, the guy who brings families together. I want to be the African Jamie Oliver," he says.

"But I'm not all about being a celebrity, it's about making an impact, a positive impact in somebody's life."