- Business Insider SSA had a sit down with the popular chef to answer all these questions and more.
- The celebrity couple married in 2014 and have two beautiful daughters, Princess Anaya and Alyaanah.
- Chef Ali passion for cooking has put him on a war path with his beautiful wife.
Kenya's hottest Chef for the first time lifts the lid off his marriage and reveals how he met his beautiful wife, Khadija Abdalla to why they are fighting
Just who exactly is Chef Ali’s wife? How did they meet? Why are they fighting? What does he miss the most about his care free youthful days?
At the young age of 9yrs old, Ali Said Alamin Mandhry popularly known as Chef Ali was already cooking and by the age of 12yrs old he already had a booming cake business and from then henceforth he doesn’t remember asking his parents for a penny.
Chef Ali's story reads like an inspiration novel, he has cooked for who is who including Kenya’s former President Mwai Kibaki, a host of high profile foreign dignitaries swear by his mouth watering meals and he has graced international catwalk flying the Kenyan flag high among many other feats.
Some of industry's biggest names such as Chef Gordon Ramsey, popular with Hell's Kitchen TV show and Dubai based Chef Osama all know him and as a result big international corporates with big fat cheques like General Motors and Kericho tea gold have come calling and made him brand ambassadors
At the young age of 29yrs old he has already won the International Hall of Fame Award, The Sweet Life and Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan Sports Award, Tamu Tamu, NTV Arabic edition and he is not done yet.
That and more is public information and Chef Ali must surely write a book one day about his life (he is actually writing a Kenyan recipe book which will be released this year so be on the lookout) because the fourth estate will never do enough justice to his life story, of course yours truly is available for the task in cementing this legacy of the son of the soil.
What is not on public domain however is just who exactly is Chef Ali’s wife? How did they meet? Why are they fighting? What does he miss the most about his care free youthful days?
Business Insider SSA had a sit down with the popular chef to answer all these questions and more and prodded him enough to lift the lid off for his marriage and for the first time he revealed how he met his beautiful wife, Khadija Abdalla.
“I would say there is nothing tastier than my wife, she is one of her kind” Said Chef Ali setting the tone for one of the juiciest interviews yet.
The celebrity couple married in 2014 in a beautiful wedding held in their hometown of Mombasa and are now proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Princess Anaya and Alyaanah, but just how did they meet?
“Funny enough this is a hundred percent arranged marriage”
Contrary to media reports, Chef Ali and Khadija Abdalla were not an item and had never cohabited before until they tied the knot.
“I know there has been some blogs and stories that she was my girlfriend but no that was not the case this is a 100% arranged marriage”
The handsome chef with ‘angry birds’ eyebrows and sharp eyes to pierce a woman’s heart may be surrounded by all manner of modern day luxury but he is a traditionalist at heart and prefers the old way of doing things including marriage.
“I prefer arranged marriages myself because at the end of the day I feel like I want to do it traditionally so my parents picked a wife for me of course I took a look at the picture that I got and I felt like wow I like her and I went to meet her in person.”
Critics of arranged marriages always argue that women normally don’t have a say in the whole thing and it is true in some cases and Chef Ali was alive to this fact and moved with speed to meet this beautiful damsel he was about to walk down the aisle with, he actually did it more to clear his conscience
“What I had to make sure is that she is comfortable with this arrangement because it happens in our culture that probably sometimes we are being forced to get married especially you know like the women and I wanted to make sure she is comfortable about it and she would definitely take me as her husband at the end of the day I just wanted to make sure she is not forced.”
And so the two restless souls met probably by the beach or some nice restaurant in Mombasa serving some sumptuous sea food and playing Mzee Ngala Bango music, well I don’t know I have made that up because I forgot to ask Chef Ali where they met but the thing is it was their first adult meeting so it had to be romantic right? So they meet and Chef Ali pours out his burning question, is she okay with it, is she being forced to get married to him?
“She was okay with it and I heard it from her own mouth that ‘ I am fine with it and I would go ahead with it” and that is it, it was 100% arranged but again it was something we were all happy and willing to do which was really nice”
In reality, the two were not really strangers, they had family ties and they both came from a close knit society where majority of the members knew who was the son of who and who is the daughter of who.
“we are still family, she is my grand ma family, we are a bit distant but our community is basically the same community, I knew the mother, I knew the father, someone I knew someone from the family.”
Growing up in Mombasa, Ali attended the prestigious Aga Khan School and on his way home boys being boys he couldn’t miss sighting beautiful Khadija who would? What the young lad didn’t know however, was he would one day marry her and together have two beautiful babies.
“I knew her when she was little because she is a bit younger than me, she is about six years younger than me I remember seeing her while growing up because she was born in Kenya and studied here and then went to Yemen to study as well before coming back to Kenya so I knew her ever since she was little but then you know girls grow up so fast but I as I boy could be able to recognize seeing her as a girl”
Never the less unlike couples who cohabit for months some even for years, Khadija and Ali while they knew each other they hadn’t spent time with each other really to know what each liked about the other so I was curious to know how Ali popped up the question, what did he do or say to win over Khadija’s love, what was his secret? Men would forever thank him for this.
“Nothing I guess she was excited because I am a celebrity (bust out laughing) that is what I would say but you know at the end of the day I don’t know probably she liked me for who I am because the thing is I asked her you know I am gonna get married to you I want to make sure that you are in for this and again this is an arranged marriage so you have to be comfortable and she was like I am fine, I am not forced I am okay and I was like that is it.”
And so in 2014 surrounded by family and friends they walked down the aisle and tied the knot witnessed by all and sundry and they have been married for almost four years now and loving every minute of it.
“You know the good thing about arranged marriage is that number one you are in for a surprise number two you get to learn about one another every other day, you are not fed up you don’t get enough of one another like you wanna learn new things every single day so at the end of the day it is really good.”
Being single can be serious fun, the unbridled freedom to do what you want can be intoxicating but Chef Ali wouldn’t trade his arranged marriage for his care free single days even for a minute, marriage can as well be the best thing that happened to him.
“I have someone to talk to; I have my better half someone that I can trust someone I can talk to whenever I am stressed, someone I can talk to when I am happy you know like I think it is basically having that better half that is the big difference between being single and being married, sometimes you know you could be dating but then you are not comfortable to share a couple of things with the partner but with marriage the trust is there you can say anything and you know and you can keep it between you guys so basically that is what I am enjoying the most of it.”
Of course just like any other couple they are not immune to conflicts and they fight constantly and it is not going to end any time soon nor can any marriage counselor resolve their fights.
“I do the cooking most of the time, my wife is an amazing cook and loves to cook, she has what you call the mothers touch the food that she makes is really really amazing but I like to cook at the end of the day”
Chef Ali love for cooking has literally put him on a war path with his beautiful wife who is an equally good cook and can spin a delicious meal to make one speak in tongues.
“Akitaka kupika sisi huwa tunapigana kwa nyumba, namwambia hakuna kupika tunashindana hapo I tell her no way, you are not gonna cook so she says Ali like I have never heard of a husband who is actually stopping the wife to cook, you are the first one so if we have a disagreement is basically when she wants to cook, it is quite a challenge for her because she loves to cook at the end of the day”
It is not that Ali needs to touch cooking pans, slice hard onions and squeez fresh tomatoes to feel alive least he drops dead quite the opposite, he cares about his wife who is a creative director so much that he does not want to tire her more after taking care of their kids and wants to give her time to also focus on her career.
“I don’t like her to cook I like her to have her own time because I feel like she is busy enough with the children right now and she can even focus on her own career so I just want her to focus on herself and the children and at the end of the day I can do the cooking”
At the end of the day, Chef Ali loves Khadija Abdalla and his love for her may be the reason why they will never stop fighting.
“I want her to of course take care of the children and our home, I want her to feel good, I want to give her time for herself at the end of the day you know a woman needs what you called me time”
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