Nigerian Born Chef ‘Adejoke Bakare’ Broke Culinary Barriers as First Black Female With Michelin Star

Adejoké Bakare founder and head chef of West African restaurant Chishuru in Fitzrovia, London is the first black female Michelin-starred chef in the UK and only the second ever in the world.

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Nigerian Born Chef 'Adejoke Bakare' Broke Culinary Barriers as First Black Female With Michelin Star

Adejoke Bakare, a  Nigerian-born chef is the first black female chef in the UK to receive the prestigious Michelin star award. Bakare’s West-African-themed restaurant in London, Chishuru offers a diverse range of affordable West African dishes in an upscale setting.

The restaurant serves unique West African dishes such as sinasir (fermented rice cake), moi moi (bean cake), and ekoki (corn cake). Matt Paice, Bakare’s business partner, noted an increasing interest in the “West African movement” among customers in London.

West African dishes at Chishuru (Image: Harriet Langford)

Jimi Famurewa, a British journalist and food critic described the place as a “containment facility for the whirring dynamo of Bakare’s blazing, intuitive talent.”

What’s more astonishing was that Chishuru secured its prestigious accolade less than six months after establishing its permanent location in Fitzrovia, transitioning from a Brixton Village pop-up shop. Chishuru is one of only two Michelin-starred restaurants in Fitzrovia specializing in West African cuisine.

As per the Michelin Guide’s criteria, securing the prestigious accolade involves evaluating a restaurant’s food quality, flavor balance, culinary techniques, and the chef’s distinctive touch evident in their dishes. This assessment extends across the entire menu and considers the consistency maintained both throughout the offerings and over an extended period. Chishuru successfully met all these criteria, leading to its well-deserved recognition.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. Until this morning, I was just focused on enjoying the accolade itself, which I’m hugely honored by. But seeing reactions on social media today, I’m starting to feel a weight of responsibility on my shoulders too; it’s lovely,” Adejoke Bakare stated after receiving her award. 

Bakare’s Culinary Journey 

Bakare’s culinary journey started with her passion for food from a young age. Growing up in Kaduna, Nigeria, Bakare’s earliest memories include watching her grandmother prepare traditional East Nigerian street food. Despite her love for cooking, Bakare initially pursued a degree in microbiology in the UK, only later embracing her culinary passion.

After winning the Brixton Kitchen competition in 2019, Bakare opened Chishuru, starting as a pop-up in September 2020. The restaurant, now specializing in modern West African cuisine, found its permanent home in Fitzrovia in September 2023. Bakare emphasized the importance of diversity in the culinary industry, stating,

“Especially in London, where there’s so much food, there are so many people, you can eat the world if you want to, if you know where to look.”

She encourages more exploration of diverse cuisines by food publications and writers. The chief inspector at Michelin in the UK praised Bakare’s unique style, describing Chishuru as “fun, full of life, generous, and hugely enjoyable.” 

Chishuru Restaurant in London (Image: Harriet Langford)

Adejoke Bakare’s journey from a fish and chip cart to the first black female Michelin-star chef in the UK is a testament to her dedication and passion for West African cuisine.

“It did feel rather odd at last night’s ceremony that 90% of the room was white middle-aged men. But the passion I see among young women in the industry is such that I’m confident things will change. It’s an enormous thrill and privilege to think I might have some influence on that,” Bakare said.

Juliet Anine

Juliet Anine is an accomplished writer and editor, boasting over five years of experience in the field. She specializes in crafting compelling narratives and excels in reporting and news writing.

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