2 Michelin Star Chefs: Jeremy Chan, chef and co-founder, Ikoyi

The  Staff Canteen

Jeremy Chan is chef and co-founder at Two Michelin-starred Ikoyi in St James’ Market, London.

Jeremy was born in the northwest of England but spent his childhood travelling throughout Europe, the United States and Hong Kong. As a teenager, he taught himself to speak six languages fluently.

Ikoyi

Image Credit: John Carey

1 St James's Market, London, SW1Y 4AH

Opening Hours:

Lunch:
Thursday - Saturday, 12pm - 2pm

Dinner:
Monday - Saturday, 6pm - 8:45pm

Closed Sunday

Tel: 020 3583 4660 

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://ikoyilondon.com/

Head Chef: Jeremy Chan

Facebook: Ikoyi London

Twitter: @IkoyiLondon

Instagram: @ikoyi_london

Biography

He studied philosophy and theory of languages at Princeton University, where he added Farsi to his collection of languages.  

He then started a graduate job at a renewable energy investment company, but in 2011, he decided against pursuing a career in finance in favour of professional cookery.

"When I’m interested in something, I want to know everything about it,’ he explained, "I was interested in languages in my teenage years, but that flipped onto cooking later on."

Image Credit: Maureen Evans

Having always had an interest in food, it was during his time in Spain that he turned back to it as a touchstone. He moved back to London, quit his job and wrote to chefs all over the city, asking for stages.

Eventually, he was able to make his start as a chef with a stage at Hibiscus.  Having no professional kitchen experience whatsoever, he learnt a lot during his time at Claude Bosi’s former two-Michelin starred restaurant.

Jeremy then worked at some smaller restaurants and brasseries in London, before going to work at Noma for three months. On his return to London, Jeremy worked at Dinner by Heston, before leaving to open his own restaurant.

Ikoyi

In May 2015, Jeremy and his best friend and business partner Iré Hassan-Odukale decided that they wanted to open a restaurant together. The pair were looking to combine both of their backgrounds and create something unique and contemporary, but they were concerned about the situation of the restaurant scene at the time. 

In 2016, Jeremy left Dinner by Heston and he and Iré hosted a series of residencies at various London restaurants including Carousel and Le Bab, before securing a permanent site in St James' Market. They opened Ikoyi in July 2017.

Jeremy Chan and Iré Hassan-Odukale
Image Credit: John Carey

Jeremy's menu at Ikoyi combines heat and umami, and features exciting ingredients such as grains of selim (a musky flavoured seed originating from Africa) and wild black tiger prawns, creating a cuisine that is completely unique.

Example dishes include Pork Jowl & Agege and Smoked Jollof Rice. The tasting menu for dinner is priced at £60 per person. There is a pre-theatre set menu available between 5:30 and 6:30pm, priced at £35 per person. 

Ikoyi received its first Michelin star in 2018. At the time, inspectors said: “The somewhat colourless development that is St James's Market is the unlikely setting for one of the most innovative and original restaurants to open in the capital in recent times. The two owners, friends since childhood, have put together a kitchen that uses home-grown ingredients enlivened with flavours from West Africa.” 

The restaurant has continued to grow and developed, gaining its second Michelin star in the Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland 2022.

Tasting menu

It is surprising to learn that the same year as they received their first Michelin star, 2018, Ikoyi was on the edge of closure. Jeremy and Iré decided that if they were going to fail, they were going down in a blaze of glory, so they moved away from the a la carte menu and switched to a tasting menu format - which, as they saw it, meant that they could give customers a more curated experience.

This not only brought Ikoyi back from the brink, but led to it being awarded a Michelin star in the Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland 2020, with the second following just two years later.

Videos with Jeremy Chan

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st February 2022

2 Michelin Star Chefs: Jeremy Chan, chef and co-founder, Ikoyi