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Meet the 10-year-old vegan creating cruelty-free dips

MAKING A MESS: Omari McQueen invented his own range of dips to follow up his cooking show on YouTube

BY HIS mother’s own admission, Omari McQueen was making a mess in the kitchen of the type which would make most parents’ heads explode, but patience was the key – and when the flour dust settled, the magic was revealed. Ten-year-old Omari has always been a creative force, his mother Leah says. If it wasn’t his current project – Dipalicious Dips, a flavoursome vegan dip to go with his pizza and about everything else you can think of dipping savoury food into – he would have been busy making something else.

ENTREPRENEURS
Turning his idea into a business however, was a seed sown by his experience on a young entrepreneurs programme.

Leah enthused: “I met with Julian Hall, the founder of Ultra Education CIC, he told me all about Ultra Kids. I have six children so I couldn’t send them all there at the same time. So I sent my older son for two terms and then I sent Omari for two terms.

“On Omari’s second term, I became a franchiser of Ultra Kids and started to teach. Their work is amazing.

“I think what inspired him is what he was taught from the beginning to do what he loves and it won’t feel like work.”

She added: “He’s very creative, he always has been, so him going on this journey at the beginning wasn’t unusual. “I couldn’t give him the answer to whether or not certain sauces were vegan or not, so I let him try his own.

“I wasn’t expecting him to start using certain ingredients, though, and I actually told him off for using them.

“I went upstairs and by the time I came back down the place was a mess.

“I only came back down because I heard the blender going and he knows he wasn’t allowed to use the blender without an adult present. “He made me taste his first effort and I told him it wasn’t ready.

“He insisted I went away and came back later, which is how things went until he got the right one.”

Recalling the moment of inspiration that led to the making of Dipalicious Dips, a concept he brought to life aged eight years old, Omari said: “I had a YouTube channel called The Mari Maker Show and I made a vegan pizza, but I needed something to go with it. I didn’t know if Heinz tomato ketchup was vegan so I came up with the idea to make my own vegan dip and then I made my family taste it and they said it was delicious, so I made it become my business.”

Taking Life & Style through the process, Omari added: “I messed up the whole kitchen by using my mum’s t a s t y mang o , which I had to clean up. The first time I made a vegan dip it didn’t go so well. Then I started trying and trying until the whole kitchen got messy again and then it finally got good. Then I made my family taste it.”

Omari’s decision to create the condiment was motivated by his love of his grandma’s cooking and, later, an understanding of how animals become food for humans.

Talking about his love for spicy cuisine, Omari said: “I used to eat some chilli from my granny, when she cooked fish. But the reason I became a vegan was because I used to have loads of animals, I had a cat and three guinea pigs and I still have two dogs.

“But the other animals that are on the farm, why do people have to harm them and not my pets?”

FLAVOURS
Omari’s innocent, inquisitive questioning of why animals were killed for food led to him taking a firm decision to never eat any animals again.

It’s no easy feat and he admits the smell of granny’s fried fish when he visits can still make his mouth water.

A conversation with his mum set the precedent for his newfound interest.


Omari enjoys listening to hip-hop

Leah explained: “As kids get older you take them to the farm and when we were there one time he said, ‘mum, when you’re cooking curry goat and stuff, is it because they have died?’ to which I responded no, and from then he decided he wasn’t eating that.”

And so, all of Omari’s creations are suitable for vegans, but that doesn’t mean he’s had to skimp on the flavours. Dipalicious Dips is available in a range of tastes.

The Caribbean Kick Dip includes mango, pineapple and chilli, while the Sweet Tooth dip consists of mango, pear and peach.

Coco Curry combines coconut and curry spices.

All products are currently available on Omari’s website, dipalicious.co.uk, with each pot of the delectable sauces costing £4.99 – and the young chef says he has plans to create more flavours in the range very soon.

Talking about the satisfaction she gets from seeing her child pursue his ambitions, Leah said: “I guess seeing that I have created a child who is humble, that’s my main thing.”

He insists he hasn’t turned his back on growing his YouTube channel, either, and has promised his mum he will return to it when he gets a bit more of a foothold on social media.

Dipalicious Dips has already been recognised across the Atlantic with websites in the US hailing to success of the young entrepreneur bringing his concept to creation.

Away from the kitchen, Omari says he loves listening to hip-hop and even though his dream would be for “everyone in the world” to taste his dips, he says it would be extra special if Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes were to give it the thumbs up.

Watch this space.

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