5 Nigerian Celebrity Chefs We Love
One of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, Nigeria boasts of good food and even better chefs. With a diversity in taste and foods that is born from equally diverse and rich customs, traditions and religions, it has been difficult to pick one solely recognised national dish. However, Nigerian foods and recipes are recognised all over the world. This is because some chefs are working hard to put them on the global food map by recreating some of Nigeria’s most popular and well-loved dishes like suya (sliced and grilled steak rubbed with ground peanuts and onion powder), jollof rice (rice made with a tomato and pepper base), peppersoup (broth made with pepper, spices and a fish or meat base), and egusi (a thick stew made with melon seeds and vegetables). Meet some of these Nigerian celebrity chefs we love, here.
Michael Ade Elegbede is a chef whose mission is to revive and tell the story of Nigeria’s cuisine culture while focusing on the unique ingredients, flavours and cooking traditions of the indigenous cultures. He hosted Nigerian food pop-up dinners while in New York and says that the country’s food made him fall in love with cooking. A graduate of culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America who has worked in the well-received Eleven Madison Park, Le Benardin and Alinea restaurants, Elegbede recently opened ITAN, a tasting menu in Lagos. He believes one should follow one’s calling in life to impact the world around them.
Chef Gbubemi Fregene, who is also known as Chef Fregz, is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute, Paris. He birthed his brand Fregz Catering out of the need to communicate, especially with young and mobile people like himself. He is passionate about life and even more so about cooking great food.
Chef Fregz relishes the local buka-inspired dishes, like amala (prepared from yam flour) and jollof rice. On completion of his diploma at Le Cordon Bleu, he worked as an intern at the Prestigious Market Restaurant, Paris between 2010 and 2011. He is also a judge on Knorr Taste Quest and a popular food columnist.
Chef Oke, was trained in classical/contemporary French cuisine at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) in Vancouver, Canada, and worked with Lear Faye in East Vancouver before returning to Nigeria. The owner of XO Boutique Bakery and an instructor at the Culinary Academy, Lagos-based Oke, is passionate about bread, pastry and confections.
After a short stint as an engineer, in 1995 Duntoye decided to pursue a life-long passion for food and cooking. He would spend five years working with the celebrated Pierre Koffman at the 3 Michelin Star La Tante Claire, where he served as an executive sous chef, before studying at the Butlers Wharf Chef School.
Raphael Duntoye’s worldwide culinary pedigree is defined by his position at La Petite Maison’s international chain of restaurants spanning the United Kingdom, United States and the United Arab Emirates. He started his own kitchen in Mayfair more than 10 years ago and is renowned for his classically unique menu.
Mrs Iquo Ukoh, the founder of IQ Food Platter Blog, is a trained dietician from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A marketing services director of Nestle Nigeria Plc., and former consumer maximisation manager of the same organisation, Ukoh has worked with Nestle for more than 30 years and utilised most of this time creating and refining recipes fit for Nigerian women. To share food and health tips for healthy lifestyle, Ukoh created the blog, IQ Food Platter.
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