4 months ago

Interview: Joké Bakare, Michelin Star winner

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Joké Bakare has just been awarded her first Michelin Star. We caught up with her…

Credit: @chishuru

Chef Joké Bakare has been creating fantastic West African inspired menus since she started Chishuru in 2020 and, ok, we know Chishuru isn’t a Brixton-based restaurant anymore (and our hearts are still a bit broken about it), but they do have Brixton roots. They were located in Brixton Village for two very successful years until Bakare closed the original location in 2022. She then opened the equally successful second site in Fitzrovia last year.

Since then the restaurant has gained some incredible press. Visits from high profile food critics like Jimi Famurewa and being voted Time Out’s best restaurant in London ’22 has meant that it’s becoming trickier and trickier to get a reservation. And there’s no wonder it’s doing so well. They serve a set menu only (4 courses at lunch and 5 at dinner) and, though it changes frequently to accommodate what’s in season, it’s always inspired by Joké’s West African heritage and it’s always phenomenal.

So of course Joké was awarded a Michelin Star. Aside from all the other parts of the acclaim that makes it exciting, it also makes Bakare the first black female chef to get a Michelin Star in the UK ever, and the second in the world. We managed to catch up with Joké to ask her a few questions about her success.

Credit: @chishuru

First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to have achieved your Michelin Star?
It’s a thrill! Having my own restaurant has been a life-long dream, and a Michelin star is the cherry on the cake. Being the first black female Michelin-starred chef in the UK has attracted a lot of attention and I’ve had so many lovely comments of support.

We are very proud to have Chishuru’s routes in our very own Brixton Village. What role did the Brixton community play in your recent success?
I opened Chishuru in September 2020 in between the first two lockdowns (remember them!) and I felt part of the community right from the beginning as we all tried to find our way through that very strange time. Then of course as the restaurant found its feet I built up a network of local suppliers, whether for restaurant ingredients even just proper coffees! I loved the gossipy community of traders in Brixton Village. 

Do you have any personal favourite places to eat in Brixton?
Maureen’s goat curry with rice and peas. IYKYK!

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