This 11-Year-Old Chef Is Taking Over The Vegan Movement With Caribbean Food

Omari McQueen became one of the youngest restaurateurs on earth after his weeklong pop-up stint in London.

Photo Credit: Instagram

| September 12 2019,

8:46 pm

At 11 years old, most of us were concerned with playdates and school games, but Omari McQueen is different.

The young CEO of Dipalicious became the youngest restaurateur in the world in late August when he spent one week running his own pop-up restaurant in London. McQueen has become a bit of a celebrity in the U.K., winning dozens of awards and making appearances on cooking competitions for kids. 

He is mostly known for his ardent love of vegan food and signature brand of plant-based Caribbean cuisine that has heads turning. 


She decided to enlist the oldest child in making dinner for the rest of the kids, but McQueen quickly proved to be the best of the bunch at making dinner. His Jamaican father tried to teach him how to fry fish, but McQueen watched a PETA video about meat and never looked back.

He initially started making fun YouTube videos where he cooked vegan Caribbean food. As the videos became more popular, McQueen decided he wanted to step things up a notch. 

The precocious little boy contacted Roger Wade on LinkedIn, looking for advice on how to start his own restaurant. Wade, the 53-year-old CEO of a company that manages food halls across London, told NPR's Richard Morgan that he was inspired by McQueen's confidence. He told the young CEO he could run Dipalicious out of a stall at a Boxpark in Croydon.

Wade thought back to his own experience as a child selling candy to friends and decided to waive the 1,000-pound rental fee for McQueen. 

Dipalicious was a huge hit at Boxpark with customers noting how amazing it was that McQueen was able to take traditional Caribbean spices and incorporate them into vegan cooking.

“I wanted to open a restaurant to bring people together through food without harming animals,” McQueen told VegNews in July.

McQueen's menu includes callaloo, barbecue jackfruit with breadfruit chips and pumpkin soup. He has his own signature dish, the Omari umami, and a list of sweet peach and pear purees with nutmeg dipping sauces. 


"You can tell people that food is healthy or to be kind to animals, but they won't care unless the food is fun and delicious," he told NPR. 


"I want to create food which everyone can enjoy," McQueen told AfroCulture Blog. "That's what great food is all about, to me — it's a way to bring people closer together, and that's what I hope to do with Dipalicious."