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‘Roaming Chef’ Dennis Ombachi shares his struggles with bipolar disorder

Former Kenya 7s rugby player Dennis Ombachi has revealed his personal struggles with bipolar disorder and his passion for cooking.

In a recent interview on CNN’s African Voices, the popular TikTok chef also spoke about his challenging journey to recovery after he broke a leg break, an injury which sidelined him for an entire year.

Forced to move back home and wait for his leg to heal, Ombachi found himself grappling with the magnitude of his injury. Eventually, he reached a point where he attempted to take his own life.

“Bones and muscles eventually do heal. But what I really didn’t factor in was the mental toll that it was going to take on me, and which dragged on, even up to now that I still suffer a bit from it,” Ombachi said while reflecting on that difficult period.

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Fortunately, with the support of his friends and family, Ombachi received the intervention he needed.

He was hospitalized and subsequently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, shedding light on the underlying cause of his struggles.

During his darkest moments, Ombachi found solace in his love for cooking.

He said he discovered his passion for food while playing rugby on the HSBC circuit, touring approximately 18 countries each year.

Experiencing different cultures, languages, and cuisines inspired him to challenge himself in the kitchen.

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“My love of food is intertwined with playing rugby because it started when playing the HSBC legs. You tour close to 18 countries a year, and all these countries have their own culture, languages and food. We used to eat different kinds of foods,” he said.

“I used to come back home and challenge myself to try and create some of the different dishes I had here and there. I think that’s how the passion grew.”

The father of two said renowned chef Gordon Ramsey’s videos on YouTube inspired his journey.

“In cooking, Gordon Ramsey was my mentor, although he doesn’t know about it,” he said.

Ombachi was named TikTok’s Top Creator 2022 Sub-Saharan Africa winner three months ago.

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