“I cook from my heart” – UK’s First Black Female Michelin-starred Chef

Mar 25, 2024 | News

Adejoke Bakere, who won the award last month, hopes to inspire a new breed of chefs with diverse backgrounds.

Adejoke (pictured above) Bakare, a Nigerian fish and chips stall owner, has become the toast of London’s foodie scene.

She is the first black female UK chef to receive a Michelin Star. She is also the second black woman chef in the world.

Bakare tells Positive News that “it’s still sinking into my head.” “It has been my lifelong goal to own my own restaurant. Winning a Michelin Star is the cherry-on-top.” The social media response has been overwhelming. I never expected to get 20,000 likes on my photo in my new Michelin-starred chef’s jacket. !”

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Chishuru is Bakare’s restaurant and it specializes in modern west African cuisine, as well as culinary styles typical to Nigeria’s Hausa ethnic group, Yoruba, and Igbo.

She explains: “Chishuru brings all three culinary cultures together in one place.” “It’s a culinary adventure for diners who are unfamiliar with the food. I’m fascinated with the history of food and the meaning behind dishes. We’ve served a black-sauced fish dish that is traditionally served to new mothers as a postpartum dinner, and a tomato sauce fermented with the movement of slaves from West Africa to Brazil and back. .”

Bakare’s love of food began in childhood. However, she was diverted from the kitchen at university to study biological sciences. She ran a fish-and-chip cart between lectures before moving to the UK.

The cuisine of Nigeria’s Hausas, Yorubas and Igbos is combined in the dishes at Chishuru.

Bakare, who is self-taught, began her career in the care industry. She then moved into property management. It was not until 2017 that she rediscovered her passion for cooking by running supper club.

She won a competition two years later to open a pop-up restaurant in Brixton for three months. The restaurant was a hit with national newspaper critics, and became a permanent fixture. Bakare and Matt Paice moved Chishuru, a Hausa term that describes the silence that descends when food is served at a table, to its new central London location in Fitzrovia last September.

In a tweet praising Bakare, Michelin Guides called her ‘the chef-of-the-moment’. However, in the guide, anonymous inspectors commented on Chishuru’s “delicious and satisfying dishes”.


I cook from my heart and I suppose that you could say that I have a mission. I want to honor and present the food of my heritage

Bakare hopes that she can inspire a new generation chefs who come from minorities. She says, “Representation is important so it’s nice that my star could encourage other black women chefs in the UK.” The industry is slowly changing, but it is not just employers who are responsible for this. It’s also landlords, critics, and investors, who need to expand their horizons.

Despite the accolades, Bakare’s childhood memories are of home cooking – like the spiced fish broth and smoked yam waiting at the end the long drive to

Visit her grandparents – this ignites the fire in her stomach.

She says, “I’ve always cooked from my heart and I suppose you could say I have a mission: to present and honour the food of my heritage, the food that my grandmother cooked for me.” “I’ve always been a cook from the heart. I suppose you could call it a mission to honour and present the food of my family heritage, the food that my grandmother prepared for me .”


Images: Harriet Langford

 

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