Flash-grilled: Ayo Adeyemi

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Akoko executive chef  Ayo Adeyemi interview on respecting kitchen porters, his first industry job, and growing up in Nigeria

Related tags Akoko West African cuisine London Restaurant Chef

The executive chef at West African tasting menu restaurant Akoko in London's Fitzrovia on the importance of respecting kitchen porters, his first industry job, and growing up in Nigeria.

What was your first industry job?
Part time chef in small fine dining restaurant whilst studying in Birmingham.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Either in sports as a boxer or finance as an accountant.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
My old mentor and friend Chef Ryan Clift, for his expressive style and creativity, and showing me a no holds barred style approach to cooking.

What’s your pet hate in the kitchen?
Chefs who lack of respect for kitchen porters/stewards, who I regard as integral part of the back of house brigade.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Bold flavours, heat, spice, modern technique and fun!

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Never short cut, always put in 100% and go the extra mile, it will be beneficial for your career in the future even if you do not immediately see the results.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Thermomix (specifically the TM31 model), as most chefs can relate to!

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Imperial Treasure pekin duck, or 500 Xiaolongbaos.

À la carte or tasting menu?
Depends on the moment… most likely tasting menu.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet in Shanghai - by far still to this date the greatest dining experience and meal I have ever had in my life.

What’s your favourite fast food joint?
McDonald's – the most consistent dish in the world is the Big Mac, it tastes the same whatever country you are in!

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
Great British Menu.

You’re restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Bright lights on camera phones.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
Anthony Joshua, Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman – the three kings of Nigerian combat sports.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Street food in Nigeria, especially butchering live goat with my uncles at the age of five years old!

Twitter or Instagram?

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
Probably snowboarding drunk in blizzard storm in the Alps, and almost falling over steep cliff edge off-piste.

What’s your tipple of choice?                                                  
Negroni, or neat Japanese whiskey.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?
Jollof rice with native blue lobster.

Related topics Chef

Related news

Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more