Irene Jepkogei, better known by her Kalenjin nickname Cheptab Oret Age, is a resilient woman who has waltzed her way to fame through posting of mouth-watering delicacies.
The 29 year old boasts of over 61k followers on Facebook and is attracting more people to her page due to her culinary expertise. And she is now a brand and is also minting money through collaborations with established companies.
She is the founder of Afrikan Eats, a firm that deals with food delivery, catering services and training. Her venture utilizes the idea of cloud cooking which basically is a commercial kitchen without sit in customers. Instead, the concept of cloud cooking entails food deliveries and takeouts.
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This is her inspiring story as told by WoK:
Irene is the sixth born in a family of 8. Life was tough for them as the mother was forced to brew and sell illicit alcohol in order to make ends meet.
However, the family’s matriarch would sometimes get arrested, something that compounded the existing challenges.
Irene was heart-wrenched as she felt their lives were undeserving.
“Questions always lingered in my mind, ‘Is life this tough to all, and was I born to witness my family ruining people and families with alcohol?” She told DN.
The mother would then abandon the business for farming. Sadly, Irene’s father passed away in 2008 while she was in form 2.
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The mother took a loan from friends and gave their only cow as security in order to pay for Irene’s school fees.
After completing secondary school education, the 29 year old was employed as a shopkeeper. Occasionally, her job would also involve cooking for the suppliers. The suppliers gave a thumbs up for the tasty food she prepared and this influenced her into taking cooking seriously.
In 2015, she began posting the foods she had prepared on a Facebook group called Let’s Cook Kenyan. She steadily began amassing followers and even ended up winning multiple cooking competition.
Moving to Nairobi
In 2018, Irene moved to Nairobi to take up a cleaning job. While at it, she continued posting the foods she had prepared online.
One chef realized her passion and asked her to take a course in culinary. She used her savings and enrolled at the East African Institute of Certified Studies for a Diploma in food and beverage.
In 2020, amid the pandemic, she teamed up with friends and began an food delivery venture. They prepared food at home and delivered to offices. They then founded a restaurant at Zimmerman but the business collapsed.
Founding Afrikan Eats
The year 2022 would bring fortunes to Irene after she ventured into cloud cooking and incepted Afrikan Eats. Due to the large base of followers on Facebook, she would get a number of customers and deliver their order.
In December 2022, she told Nation that the most affordable package she sold was Ksh 200 and she would successfully deliver to at least 50 clients daily.
“I serve corporate customers such as Equity Bank – City Market branch where I deliver breakfast and lunch, besides other offices within town. My food costs Sh200 and above, depending on the choice of food and location of delivery,” she said.
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