fbpx Skip to main content

Nigerian-born British chef Adejoké Bakare was recently awarded a Michelin star for her London restaurant Chishuru. The ‘modern west African’ restaurant had just opened four months prior to the award.

Bakare is the first black female Michelin-starred chef in the UK, and only the second black female chef in the world with her own restaurant to win a Michelin star.

At a ceremony at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on Monday 5 February, Bakare was awarded the prize and a custom-made chef jacket by the International Director of the Michelin Guides, Gwendal Poullennec.

Bakare commented “I’m speechless… and that hardly ever happens. It’s been my life-long dream to have my own restaurant, and to win a Michelin star is the cherry on the cake.” After the ceremony, Bakare dedicated her award to “all female chefs, especially black female chefs” and urged up-and-coming female chefs to “cook from your heart.”

Through their account on X (formerly known as Twitter), the Michelin Guides described Bakare as the “chef of the moment”. In the Guide itself, Michelin’s anonymous inspectors praised Chishuru’s food, commenting “Delicious, satisfying and full-flavoured dishes showcase cleverly judged spicing, with sauces proving a particular highlight.”

Bakare’s food at Chishuru had already attracted the attention of national restaurant critics: Charlotte Ivers of the Sunday Times gave it five stars in her review; Jimi Famurewa described Bakare as “one of the most blisteringly gifted and original chefs in the city”, Tim Hayward of the Financial Times said “it’s hard to think of a chef who more richly deserves a Michelin star” and David J Paw of British Vogue said “Bakare has lit a fire under the capital’s restaurant scene.”

About Adejoké Bakare

Bakare studied biological sciences at university in Kaduna, Nigeria, where she ran a fish- and-chip cart in her spare time, and she came to the UK in 1999 with her family. She worked in a variety of fields including property management, and much later started to run supper clubs.

Her move into food came in 2019, when she won a competition to run a three-month restaurant popup in Brixton Village – she only entered the competition because a friend said she would “disown” her if she didn’t apply.

After noted restaurant critic Jay Rayner of the Observer newspaper came in and gave the restaurant a rave review, the popup became permanent. In April 2022, TimeOut named it the best restaurant in London. Chishuru’s Brixton site closed in October 2022, when Bakare and business partner Matt Paice decided to move it into central London. The Fitzrovia site opened in September 2023.

Bakare is self-taught; her only professional cheffing experience outside her own restaurant was for her mentor, chef Jackson Boxer, at his Vauxhall restaurant Brunswick House in 2019.

Chishuru is a Hausa word meaning literally ‘to eat in silence’; more poetically, it refers to the silence that descends on the table when the food arrives.

Bakare describes her food and the restaurant as ‘modern west African’ because there’s no one thing that can be called Nigerian food; rather her menus mix three of the main food traditions found in Nigeria and the wider region: Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.

The restaurant is located at 3 Great Titchfield St, London W1W 8AX

For more information, visit their website at chishuru.com. The restaurant trades Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner, and is closed at weekends. It offers a set menu only, priced at £40pp for lunch and £75pp for dinner, and has a wine list made up solely of French wines.

Bakare’s business partner Matt Paice is a former restaurant operations director; he runs front of house for Chishuru and is responsible for its wine list.

The first black woman in the world to receive a Michelin star for her own restaurant was Georgiana Viou, for her restaurant Rouge in Nîmes, southern France, in 2023.

Photos by: Harriet Langford

You may also enjoy reading about incredible women in our Women To Watch section.

Subscribe & Win