A culinary journey from West Africa to Richmond to the UK


Being in the digital age allows people from across the world to connect and share information. You can pursue a career as a content creator through YouTube, Patreon, TikTok and other social media platforms. Or you can use these platforms as a repository for information as Christopher Gbelay is doing with his Instagram page.

Gbelay developed a passion for cooking at a young age by spending time with his mom and grandma.

“The inspiration of cooking actually comes from my family,” Gbelay said. “Because my family is like a big cooking family. And I helped in the kitchen, making stuff, baking stuff, you know, creating memories.”

Gbelay, who was born and spent his younger years in Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa, immigrated when he was 15 to Las Vegas, where his dad was a chef. Gbelay lived with his family until he went to college in Iowa, where he met his wife, Meghan, a Richmond native.

Each time Gbelay would cook something, he’d take photos of the finished product and post the recipe so his son could look over the menu of dishes his father cooked, harkening back to his own childhood memories.

“At first, my page was private and I was putting, you know, just like small recipes here and there,” Gbelay said. “Then my family members wanted to see more of what I was doing, so I made it public. As soon as I made it public, more people were interested in my style of cooking and wanted to know more about West African cuisine.”

His Instagram page @gbelayskitchen has more than 10,000 followers showcasing his culinary and confectionary creations.

During the pandemic, Gbelay debated about opening his own catering business, but it wasn’t something feasible given his schedule working as a full-time as a social worker in Chesterfield County.

“I do love helping people, but my passion is actually, you know, kitchen and cooking,” Gbelay said.

As his Instagram page grew, not only was he getting more followers, he was getting more questions about when he’d post his next recipe. This only fueled his desire to continue following his passion of cooking and his page.

Gbelay’s persistence to continue cooking his way and following his passion led him to finally land a catering job in the United Kingdom, which he leaves for on Monday.

He’ll be working at a Royal Air Force base in England where he’ll be one of the caterers for events held on the base. His team will provide meals and desserts for officials visiting the base or events held on the base.


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