The chef and TV show host talks about his travelling experiences and admits to having an unending list of places to visit
Sign In/Sign Up to view the picturesque world, participate in contests and much more
OT: The dream destination you’re still to visit?
Chima Okorie: Every place is a dream place. Hailing from Nigeria, I came to India in 1987 and did my B.Com from Vizag. Later, as a footballer, I travelled to many places in Asia and Europe, only to discover that different places have their own unique charm. not to be experienced elsewhere.
OT: A place you could visit again and again?
Chima Okorie: There is this cold town in Assam, Haflong, surrounded by mountains. I went there for an exhibition match way back in 1989, when I was playing for East Bengal. I had never heard of it and did not really want to go there. But once there, I did not wish to return. It was heaven on earth. And there were such good momos to be had.
OT: Do you miss Nigerian food?
Chima Okorie: In Nigeria, we make a special dish with cod, called ofe. They take away the oil, dry the fish and make it is hard till you could break your head with it. That’s why you have to soak it overnight in salted water. I have a footballer friend, Odafe, who is also very good in the kitchen. He makes it with palak and methi. My mama, back home in Owerri, uses okazi, ugu and oha but these vegetables are not available in India. Do you know what ugu is?
OT: No. Tell us...
Chima Okorie: Pumpkin leaves. I thought I would never have it here but one evening a Manipuri friend’s mother served it to us. Of course they call it by some other name but it’s strange. Nigeria and Manipur are so far apart and yet we share something common in our cuisines.
OT: You seem quite a foodie...
Chima Okorie: I love cooking. I like hotels where they let you cook your own food. My friend Odafe plays for Churchill Brothers in Goa. When I’m around, I always stay in his home near Benaulim beach. It’s wonderful there. After my morning jog along the beach, Odafe cooks whatever I fancy. He is especially good at making perfectly round puris and parathas. I’ve been pestering him to open a beach restaurant.
OT: Your favourite hotel?
Chima Okorie: Green Hotel in Gangtok. It’s homely. They make you feel like a baby by serving hot chocolate every night. The family which owns it occupies one of the floors, and they often invited me to have momos and green tea with them. Many hotels are attentive but there was something special about the service here.
OT: Your favourite destination is in Assam and your favourite hotel in Sikkim. Any special reason you prefer the Northeast?
Chima Okorie: Ha ha ha. We can’t ignore the fact that Gangtok girls are beautiful. Pretty, red-cheeked, well-fed but not fat. Very fresh and appealing. Don’t look surprised when I say that my wife, Ket, is from Assam.
OT: What do you never fail to pack?
Chima Okorie: My precision training manual. It’s my black book with illustrative instructions about how to play football. While travelling you never know when you will chance upon youngsters and whether you can speak their language. But I can at least explain how to play good football through this manual.
OT: Does Ket pack for you?
Chima Okorie: I’m not like Indian husbands. I do my own packing. But I do it rather carelessly and need my wife’s touch in the end. Oh, I think I am like an Indian husband!
Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...Explore All