UK’s first black female Michelin-starred chef

Nigerian-Born Adejoké Bakare Smashes Records As UK’s First Black Female Michelin-Starred Chef, Ranks 2nd Globally

Adejoké Bakare, owner and head chef of London restaurant Chishuru, has carved her name in history books by becoming the first Black woman to be awarded a Michelin star in the UK.

The achievement also makes her the second Black female chef globally to earn the prestigious honor.

Bakare’s Inspiring Journey That Led to Michelin Glory

Bakare’s passion for cooking traces back to her childhood in northern Nigeria where she grew up with a Yoruba mother and an Igbo father.

“Around the age of eleven, I started gathering cookbooks and that’s when I discovered my love for food and cooking,” she revealed.

However, she was advised to pursue a more traditional career and went on to study biological sciences at a university in Kaduna. During her college days, her culinary experience was limited to “running a fish and chip cart while studying,” she said humorously.

After relocating to the UK, Bakare worked in caregiving and property management sectors before deciding in 2017 to organize a private supper club with the goal of realizing her lifelong dream of restaurant ownership.

Her big break came in 2019 when she won a competition at Brixton Village to launch a three-month pop-up eatery, which later evolved into the now Michelin-starred Chishuru restaurant.

Chishuru’s Journey From Pop-up to Michelin Glory

Chishuru opened as a pop-up serving contemporary West African dishes in September 2020. It quickly built a loyal customer base with its unique flavours like fermented rice cake, bean cake, and corn cake, prompting a move to a permanent location in Fitzrovia in 2023.

Just five months after its Fitzrovia opening, Chishuru bagged the coveted Michelin star, making Bakare the first Black female chef in the UK to achieve the feat.

Bakare Hopes to Inspire Young Women of Color in the Industry

While proud of her pioneering achievement, Bakare hopes it motivates more diversity in the restaurant industry going forward.

“It did feel rather odd at last night’s ceremony that 90% of the room was white middle-aged men,” she said, referring to the Michelin award gala held in Manchester.

“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 added optimistically.

Her trailblazing success has certainly sparked celebration among Nigerians globally, with many taking to social media to congratulate her.