MasterChef contestant to take charge at new West African restaurant

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist William JM Chilila to be head chef at West African Akoko restaurant

Related tags: Restaurant, London, Fine dining, MasterChef

A former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist is to oversee the kitchen at ‘a new and progressive’ West African restaurant opening in London’s Fitzrovia in October.

Having spent nearly 10 years rising through the ranks at Orrery in Marylebone, Akoko will be William JM Chilila’s first head chef role.

Combing British ingredients with authentic regional spices, the restaurant says it will ‘offer a unique window on the still relatively unknown West African Cuisine in a polished and relaxed setting’.

The interiors will be designed by René Dekker Design ‘to showcase the natural beauty, simplicity and earthiness of West African rural areas’.

There will also be contemporary African art by Niyi Olagunju on display, as well as bespoke ceramics inspired by the 60s-era West African ‘Queen of Pottery’ Ladi Kwali and designed by artists including Andile Dyalvane, Kat Wheeler Ceramics and Jun Rhee.

Chilila’s menu will include dishes of smoked jollof rice; grilled aged beef suya with caramelised onion and confit tomato; barbecued baby aubergine maafe; and smoked goat consommé.

While Spencer & Smelskaya, the new consultancy firm by former Noma Mexico and Nuala London sommelier Honey Spencer, will manage the wine offering.

Akoko follows in the footsteps of other London restaurants that have positioned themselves as offering a contemporary take on West African cuisine including Iré Hassan-Odukale and Jeremy Chan’s Michelin-starred Ikoyi.

Related topics: Venues

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