Who doesn’t love a hearty dinner filled with good wine and great conversation? We do and we decided that our first guest at the Yummy dinner table would be the eclectic Vincent Ochieng aka Vinie O aka The Captain at Harvest Restaurant in Village Market.
Some people don’t like interviews. Some people like to sit in restaurants, order a giant burger and get to know each other. This is exactly what happened one evening right before Nairobi’s sweater weather appeared in a fit of long-awaited rain. Just in case you want to know how informal this ‘not interview’ was, the interviewee reached there before everyone, but the team shuffled in and settled to begin the night.
Before we could even order drinks (or browse through the menu), the banter began.
V: What I always do whenever I go to a new restaurant is I Google the menu so that I can know what to expect and not get too surprised by the options. I don’t necessarily pick what I want to eat, I just like to have a feel of the menu. That’s why I like restaurants that provide their menus online. Sometimes you want to go there and not have to ask for a recommendation, you want to be able to pick something for yourself.
Imagine Vinie’s (and the rest of us) surprise when we found out that our meal had been picked for us in advance. We all took it in stride because we wanted to find out just how big this giant burger was. After a few curious flips through the simply designed menu, we moved on with the conversation.
So how is the new job going?
V: It’s interesting because I was previously at Capital for 10-12 years. You know, I left campus and went straight to work there where I was in radio. The decision to move on from there was challenging and I was scared but I said, no let’s do this! During this time I fully concentrated on Twitter for another 5-6 years which was really good. I got campaigns on my own, built a lifestyle platform and started my own blog. One of the highlights was the biggest campaign I did for Kenya Airways which was their inaugural flight to New York. I was the only Kenyan social media influencer on that flight.
V: It really is. So after all this when Capital offered me this job I was excited to be coming back to something different that wasn’t radio. That’s exactly what I wanted and I’m enjoying it. It means someone noticed what I was doing and I now use it to encourage people especially the ones with a social media presence. You never you who is watching and you never know where it will take you.
You mentioned Twitter and we’re curious: what does your social media handle mean?
V: When Kenya Airways brought the first Dreamliner, I was on that campaign and previously people on Twitter would see me post all these pictures of planes. Add on the fact that they couldn’t figure out where I worked so they assumed I was a pilot and started calling me Captain and I ran with it! The second part of my handle comes from the British-Ghanian designer Boateng Ozwald. I love his style and I would really love to meet him one day.
Let’s talk style then. How do you come up with all your impressive outfits?
V: Let’s start with the fact that everything I am wearing today is Kenyan made. I work with my own tailors. I have two who I pass on my concept to and once I have picked the material I leave it to them to run with it. I like it because then you get a proper fitting and you get what you want unlike going to a shop. I don’t go to a lot of shops, usually just for shoes.
You wear everything with so much confidence.
V: Yes, I tell people the confidence will sell whatever you put on. What I do is before I leave the house is I put on my outfit of the day. Once I’m fully dressed, I play my favourite music for 5 minutes. I turn around, look at myself in the mirror, enjoy the music then I’m ready to go.
It’s at this point that we are informed that we will be eating a giant burger that might just be the most impressive dish at Harvest Restaurant. After a few sceptical looks around the table (because we didn’t believe it would be enough to feed 4 hungry people who had sat through traffic for the better part of an hour).
Now that the food is on the way, let’s talk wine. You picked a sweet red wine.
V: Oh it takes me to heaven! It gives me a whole other level of confidence and it suits the mood of a dinner. I have nothing against beer but I feel like it just dumbs it down. I’d rather have a beer during the day with my brunch.
What about cocktails?
V: I love craft cocktails because you can tell the bartender what you want. As you can tell, I have such a sweet tooth so I like chocolate and vanilla based cocktails.
Before we demolish the giant burger, give us some advice about dating Vinie O.
V: I always say whoever I date has to like going out for dinner. If you don’t like it then it’s a problem. I like early dinners that start at 6 pm then you can sit back and relax and enjoy. No clubbing though because someone will end up stepping on your shoes. It’s just so much. I would much rather do a dinner like this. Also, I think dating a photographer would be nice because you get good pictures. If I was dating a chef I would be hosting dinners all the time for us. I’d also love to travel together.