Chef Ali Started Cooking Aged 9, Ran a Bakery by 12

Ali Said Mandhry is the first-ever African chef and media personality to be the official Chevrolet brand ambassador. He is among the Top Five reigning chefs of African Cuisine in Africa (Africa Style Daily). The 34-year-old is ranked among the Top Male Chefs in Africa by DSTV. Ali is also Kenya’s Chefs Global Ambassador.

Few chefs in Kenya have been fortunate enough to earn the celebrity status that Ali has enjoyed over the last decade.

He claims to have introduced Swahili biryani to the world with his YouTube video which has garnered over 1.5 million views since it was uploaded four years ago. This is, however, only the tip of accomplishments.

Food has always been a part of his life. While other boys went out to play, young Ali preferred to hang around the kitchen entranced by the magical creations it produced.

Chef Ali was inspired by his grandfather who went against the grain by stepping into the kitchen to prepare his meals. He would encourage the young chef to watch cooking shows on television with him. Ali became a proficient cook at just nine years old and was running a thriving bakery at the age of 12.

With an evident passion, Chef Ali caught the eye of a hospitality guru. The budding chef got the chance to apprentice at arguably the biggest resort in East Africa. Hard work yielded yet a bigger career stepping stone into what was the region’s most prestigious culinary arts institution.

As soon as he finished his secondary education, Ali was recommended as Sarova’s apprentice choice into Kenya Utalii College at only 18 years. He did not squander this opportunity and graduated with honors three years later.

The turning point of his career followed after the principal of Utalii called on the culinary prodigy to return to his alma mater as a lecturer. Soon after, aged only 23, Ali invited a cooking showdown in the US where he would return with the revered International Hall of Fame Award thanks to his African artifacts-inspired creation that stunned the judges.

For all his achievements, Ali underscores the value of mentors in a man’s life.

The chef has not rested on his laurels expanding his horizon into entrepreneurship as well as being a trailblazer in the digital space. So alive is his content with his enviable social media following that Ali is one of the most sought-after brand ambassadors.

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