Editor's Review

Chef Ali Mandhry is arguably one of the most popular chefs in the country. 

Chef Ali Mandhry is arguably one of the most popular chefs in the country thanks to his aggressiveness on social media and appearance on local television stations.   

Chef Mandhry is widely known for his colorful and delicious recipes which he showcases on his socials and when appearing on shows on local TV stations.

Watching him, one may get the impression that he is from a well-off background and had it easy, but thats not the case.

Chef Ali Mandhry's Early Journey

Mohammed Hersi, a renowned hotelier documented Chef Mandhry's journey noting that he was first introduced to the latter in 2008, when he had completed his form four.

Hersi, who was then serving as the General Manager at Sarova Whitesands, got a call requesting him to meet a young man who had interest in being a chef but had no training.

According to Hersi, from his meeting with Mandhry, he could tell that he had the interest and determination, therefore he requested Yogen Datta, who was an Executive Chef at Sarova Whitesands to train and observe how Mandhry operated around the kitchen.

"I asked our Executive Chef then Yogen Datta from India to meet the young man and give him more of a job shadowing so that he can decide if truly he wants to be a cook. After 3 months the chef gave him a positive review," he said.

Joining Utalii College

After the three-month training at Sarova Whitesands, Mandhry expressed the desire to join Utalii College and perfect his culinary skills.

However, he had not met the required qualification as he had not attained the minimum grade in one of the required subjects, meaning he could not get direct admission.

File image of Chef Ali Mandhry. [Photo: Courtesy]

The qualification issue appeared to have derailed Mandhry's dream until Hersi's former lecturer came forth and saved the situation.

"After a few weeks, I got a call again from my former lecturer Mwalimu Dudah Thomas amazing soul always willing to help who was now in charge of Utalii and he said Mohammed look here that young man is truly passionate. I think I have found a way around to help him. If he enrolled as an apprentice then the full-time course will not be necessary and we will be able to bypass the maths requirement and bypass it legally," he narrated.

Being an apprentice he spent most of his time at the hotel perfecting his craft and would attend Utalii College for examinations.

Despite the challenges, Mandhry graduated top of his class. Hersi offered him a job at the hotel, but the former declined noting that his dream was to be a celebrity chef.

Becoming a Celebrity Chef

After graduating, Chef Mandhry took a part-time teaching role at Utalii College, Mombasa Campus while at the same time growing his followers on his social media platforms.

He would post food content on his socials and within no time, he started catching the attention of corporates such as Kericho Gold and Isuzu.

He later on became a household name in the hospitality industry and even featured on Citizen TV's breakfast show where he's prepared meals live on set.

Chef Mandhry is currently one of the most sought-after chefs in the country and was in 2023 voted among the top most influential Africans.

Other Kenyans that featured on the list include; President William Ruto, World Athletics champion Faith Kipyegon and the late World marathon champion Kelvin Kiptum among others.

Media reports indicate that Chef Mandhry has been cast in a Hollywood movie set to premiere later in 2024.