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Why Dennis Ombachi has turned down diaspora sponsorships

Kenyan self-taught chef and former Rugby 7s player, Dennis Ombachi, known to many as the ‘Roaming Chef,’ is carving a unique path from the rugby pitch to the kitchen. In past interviews, Ombachi opened up about his culinary dreams, battles with mental health, and his unexpected rise to fame in the world of online cooking.

Ever since hanging up his rugby boots, Ombachi has set his sights on a new goal – opening a restaurant. He sees it as a legacy, something he can leave for his children.

“Ever since I started cooking, my dream has been to open up a restaurant. That will be my legacy. Something I’ll leave for my kids,” the chef shared.

Despite receiving numerous offers, particularly from abroad, to sponsor his meal giveaways, Ombachi explained his cautious approach.

Also read: Davido reveals why he follows ‘The Roaming Chef’ Dennis Ombachi

Responding to an X user expressing interest, he stated, “I don’t have the system in place, especially for the sake of accountability, so I’m just running it out of pocket.” The ‘Roaming Chef’ noted that, for now, he prefers maintaining control and running the initiative independently.

While hinting at the possibility of a change in approach, he emphasised the need for a structured system to monitor contributions if circumstances evolve.

Ombachi reflected on his pre-COVID days as a chef, moving from house to house cooking for clients, and revealed the inspiration behind his moniker.

“Just before Covid, I was moving from house to house, cooking for clients, hence the name ‘Roaming Chef,’ and I really enjoyed myself. I learned a lot and made some amazing connections,” he shared in a post.

The retired rugby player, who represented Kenya for over a decade, faced significant challenges, including injuries and a bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2018. Cooking became more than a passion for Ombachi; it became a therapeutic journey.

“There is a healing feeling I get from cooking that I can’t explain,” he expressed during an interview with CNN.

Also read: Nameless, Dennis Ombachi and Arap Uria open up on their TikTok journey

The road to recovery wasn’t easy for Ombachi, who admitted to experiencing mood swings, depression, and even contemplating suicide before seeking help.

“Hitting rock bottom was a wake-up call for the online chef, and he decided it was time to take charge,” the report states.

In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ombachi ventured into online content creation. His cooking videos quickly gained traction, and he became a sensation on TikTok, amassing over two million followers. The ‘Roaming Chef’ was honored with the 2022 TikTok Award for the top creator in sub-Saharan Africa.