Although we must respect the growing, sourcing and innate properties of ingredients, it is how we employ them that communicates who we are,” says Jeremy Chan.
The chef is the co-founder of two-Michelin-starred Ikoyi. Born to a Canadian mother and Chinese father, he grew up between Hong Kong, Canada and England, experiencing a diverse range of cuisines. Chan, a Princeton graduate, worked as an analyst in Madrid before deciding to become a chef. Today he is one of the hottest names in the London food scene, blending his dishes with spice, flavour and personal experiences.
Ikoyi opened in 2017, headed up by Chan and his childhood friend Iré Hassan-Odukale, who was born and raised in Lagos in Nigeria: the restaurant, in fact, is named after a neighbourhood of the African capital. Using the bold flavours of sub-Saharan region as a catalyst, the pair began researching and refining their dining concept. The venue builds its own spice-driven cuisine around British micro-seasonality: vegetables slowly grown, sustainable line-caught fish and aged native beef. Chan’s menus harness maximum flavour from meticulously sourced and chosen ingredients.
Ikoyi: A Journey Through Bold Heat with Recipes tells the story of the chef’s creative, personal approach to cooking. It features 82 micro-seasonal recipes with beautiful photographs by Maureen Evans and eloquently written narratives by Chan. Recipe chapters, which open with a gallery of plated food shots, include base recipes, snacks, seafood, vegetables, meat, desserts and improvisations. Among the dishes featured are Varieties of Summer Squash; Cull Yaw Cured in Burned Seaweed and Asun Relish; and Brown Butter Apples, Cinnamon Berries, Custard and Rhubarb. The book opens with a substantial introduction covering Chan’s personal history, his journey to becoming a chef and the story of Ikoyi.
Since opening in 2017, Ikoyi has distinguished itself with a series of new dishes with distinctive international flavour profiles from a kitchen driven solely by Chan’s search for “deliciousness” and a totally objective, creative reaction to often overlooked ingredients in terms of context and culture. Beginning with the bold flavours of West Africa, the cuisine continues way beyond, transforming the identity of Ikoyi in the process. The result is menus that surprise the senses with a balance of heat and umami.
The book is an invitation to discover Chan’s cooking philosophy and unique dishes created from his vast collection of global spices, combined with an in-season snapshot of produce from the British landscape and seas. Ikoyi is featured in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list 2022 and has recently relocated to 180 the Strand.
Ikoyi: A Journey Through Bold Heat with Recipes is published by Phaidon and is available on 6th April 2023.