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Adejoké Bakare: A Culinary Journey from Home Cook to Michelin Star Chef

Introduction

In the bustling culinary landscape of London, where flavors from around the world converge, one chef stands out for her bold and innovative approach to West African cuisine. Adejoké Bakare, the founder and Head Chef of Chishuru, has not only redefined the way we experience West African flavors but has also made history as the UK's first black female Michelin-starred Chef. Let's delve into the remarkable journey of this talented chef, from her humble beginnings to her well-deserved accolades.

Adejoké Bakare | Head Chef at Chishuru | The Business Anecdote

Early Influences and Passion for Food

Adejoké, affectionately known as Joké, was born in Nigeria and grew up in Kaduna, a city in the northern part of the country. Her culinary journey began with childhood memories of watching her maternal grandmother prepare traditional East Nigerian street food, including the irresistible dodo ikire (fried plantain). Joké's parents came from contrasting food traditions—her Yoruba mother and Igbo father exposed her to a rich tapestry of flavors. "My dad is Western, and my mum is Eastern," she explains. "The food cultures are very different, so I feel very lucky to have a connection to both sides."

As the eldest child, Joké often took on the responsibility of cooking for her siblings. However, this wasn't a chore; it was an expression of her deep love for food. Despite her passion, she never considered that cooking could be more than a hobby. Instead, she pursued a degree in microbiology in the UK, following societal expectations. But fate had other plans for her.

Chef Joké doing what she is great at

From Supper Clubs to Chishuru

Joké's friends knew about her culinary talents and encouraged her to organize a supper club. She finally took their advice and hosted her very first supper club at Well Street Kitchen in Hackney. Friends and family gathered, and the joy of feeding people filled the room. It was a resounding success, and Joké realized that her love for cooking could be more than just a weekend hobby.

In 2019, she entered the Brixton Kitchen competition, where her unique style of West African cuisine impressed the judges. Joké's victory catapulted her into the spotlight, and she seized the opportunity to open Chishuru, her West African restaurant concept. The name itself reflects her heritage—**"Chishuru"** means "eat" in the Yoruba language.

Chisuru food

Chishuru: Where Tradition Meets Innovation

Chishuru quickly gained acclaim for its bold flavors, vibrant presentations, and thoughtful reinterpretations of West African classics. Joké's menu celebrates the diversity of West African ingredients, combining traditional techniques with modern twists. Diners at Chishuru experience dishes like jollof rice, suya-spiced lamb, and plantain fritters elevated to Michelin-star quality.


The Michelin Star and Beyond

In February 2024, Adejoké Bakare made history as the UK's first black female chef to receive a Michelin star. The prestigious award recognizes her commitment to excellence, creativity, and authenticity. Chishuru, once a pop-up, now stands as a permanent fixture in London's culinary scene, drawing food enthusiasts eager to explore the flavors of West Africa.

Joké's journey—from avid home cook to Michelin-starred chef—inspires aspiring chefs worldwide. Her story reminds us that talent, passion, and a deep connection to one's roots can lead to extraordinary achievements. As she continues to innovate and delight diners, Adejoké Bakare remains a beacon of culinary brilliance, bridging cultures through the universal language of food.

Chisuru food 2

Conclusion

Adejoké Bakare's culinary odyssey is a testament to the power of following one's passion and embracing cultural diversity. Her journey from Kaduna to London's culinary elite serves as a reminder that the most extraordinary dishes often emerge from the heart and soul of a chef. As we savor her creations at Chishuru, we celebrate not only her talent but also the rich tapestry of West African cuisine she brings to our tables.

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References:

1. Great British Chefs: Adejoké Bakare

2. The Cable Lifestyle: Nigerian-born Adejoke Bakare is UK’s first black female Michelin-starred chef

3. The Culture Newspaper: Adejoke Bakare - Rise of the first black female Michelin-star chef in the UK

4. UK’s first black female Michelin-starred chef: ‘We’re at the forefront .... https://www.theguardian.com/food/2024/feb/06/adejoke-bakare-chishuru-london-first-black-female-michelin-starred-chef-uk.

5. Chishuru

5. Photos

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