“Passion turns perfection into art.”
This is one of Chef Safari’s guiding principles, and it shows in everything he cooks.
As the owner of Durango’s newest food truck, Chef Safari’s African Fusion, he has set out to take locals and tourists on a culinary world tour.
When he was just 10 years old, Chef Safari started working alongside his father as a chef at one of Kenya’s top resorts. A few years later, he attended the first culinary school in Africa, Kenya Utalii College in Nairobi, which launched his global career.
He represented Kenya in a showcase in Germany and was offered a scholarship by the Swedish Culinary Team to attend Umea University of Culinary Arts for four years. From there, his skills took him to Sardinia, Barcelona, and Zanzibar. He was the first African chef in the Royal Caribbean Cruise fleet, and then he came to Colorado to work at Cosmo, Telluride’s famous restaurant. He and his family eventually landed in Durango, where he worked at the historic Strater Hotel.
Over the years, Chef Safari has earned a number of recognitions and awards. These include U.S. Chocolate Fantasia Chefs’ Competition (four-time champion), Chef of the Year (2006), Kenya Sous Chefs’ Competition, and the Culinary Order of Merit.
Chef strongly believes in giving back to the community, and he founded Door to Door Better Cooking as well as several elite culinary organizations in Kenya. In Durango, he has served as an esteemed culinary instructor with Pueblo Community College’s culinary program and was named Volunteer Chef of the Year (2014) with Cooking Matters, a local youth program.
In 2015, he decided he was ready to launch his own operation, and his first stop was the SBDC.
He participated in the 12-week Leading Edge program and attended the Quickbooks workshop. He worked with Carl Malmberg and Bob Jagdfeld on cash flow, financial projections, and forming his new LLC. They set up a GoFundMe campaign, which helped him launch the food truck.
Throughout the process, he met with Mary Shepherd multiple times to discuss locations and sort out the many details involved in the project.
As Chef Safari prepared for the launch, he met with Bert Carder, who helped with sales and marketing. They tracked down customer reviews (there were a lot of happy customers who were waiting for him to re-open), determined the types of services he would offer, and brainstormed marketing and business ideas.
Chef’s vision is to host a food truck that takes guests on a culinary tour of Africa. He coined the phrase “African Fusion” to describe his cuisine….and every item on the menu exceeds expectations.
In October of 2023, the food truck finally opened its doors. Located next to Ted’s Rental on College Drive, the truck is in a prime location for attracting locals and tourists alike.
Chef Safari’s philosophy has always been, “Shoot for the moon and beyond; even if I miss the moon, I’ll land among the stars. In the course of my career, I have learned over and over that in every difficulty lies an opportunity, and in every failure, there is a lesson learned.”
Chef Safari could not be more thrilled to run his own business. He is always delighted to greet new customers and will make you feel right at home with his warm smile and African cuisine. Stop by sometime to say hello–jambo in Swahili!