Former Kenya rugby sevens star, Dennis Ombachi alias The Roaming Chef has opened up on his mental health journey and cooking passion after exiting the pitch.
Ombachi, who has morphed into an internet sensation, shares how injuries affected his mental health leading to a bipolar disorder diagnosis.
“The injuries affected me more than they did physically,” he says.
Ombachi was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2018.
“Even before I was diagnosed, I usually had periods of mood swings and depression. I would just lock myself up when I am at home, drink a lot, do a bit of drugs to numb my feelings and then it sorts of escalated at some point and that was the first time I attempted suicide,” Ombachi told CNN’s Larry Madowo.
According to Dennis Ombachi, the stigma surrounding mental health made him take around three years to open up to his parents and tell them about his troubles.
The rugby legend says speaking up was the beginning of a new journey to fighting depression. He also used cooking to get through his darkest days.
“I used to watch lots of videos of people cooking, especially when I was injured,” he says.
It is through watching cooking videos, Ombachi says, that he grew inspired to try out his own cooking videos.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘The Roaming Chef’, his online moniker, was created. His TikTok channel where he shares short, quick videos of him cooking on his balcony started going viral.
His signature ‘Done!’ exclamation at the end of every step of his cooking process is as entertaining as watching him turn his ingredients into a sumptuous meal.
Last year, Dennis Ombachi won the TikTok Award for Top Creative in Sub-Saharan Africa for his enticing videos and now, he says his goal is to open a restaurant.
“Ever since I started cooking, I’ve had the dream of opening up a restaurant. That is going to be my legacy, something I would want to leave my kids with,” says the father of two.
Dennis Ombachi On CNN
Ombachi has no plans of returning to the pitch full time saying his dream is to opena restaurant.
”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 said.
He admires top chef Gordon Ramsey’s style of cooking saying he focuses more on the principles of cooking rather than just the recipe.