(Photo Credit – Angus Bremner)
Over recent years there has been a rise of Nigerian influence in popular culture. This cultural shift is epitomised by the explosion of Afrobeats music and the likes of Wizkid and Burna Boy rising to prominence. Now, with events such as the Jollof Festival, celebrating World Jollof Rice Day – a special day for the popular Nigerian dish, this popularisation is moving to food with West African cuisine being been heralded as the next big food trend.
At the forefront of this trend are Great British Entrepreneur Awards’ 2018 Finalists and British-born Nigerian brother-sister duo Emeka and Ifeyinwa Frederick, with their unique cultural brand, Chuku’s – the world’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant. Since launching in 2016, the duo have been popping up across London with their award-winning restaurant concept. The sibling duo, who were raised in East London, are on a mission to celebrate the beauty of Nigerian culture and help to positively change the perception of Africa in the UK, by rewriting the narrative around Nigerian cuisine and giving people in the UK an opportunity to partake in this rich West African culture. Now, after three years of sell-out pop-ups, thousands of delighted guests and critical acclaim, they are crowdfunding for their first permanent restaurant home – with plans to open in Tottenham.
Already Chuku’s has contributed to the rising prominence of West African cuisine and has been recommended by Time Out and featured in over 20 media outlets including Eater, MUNCHIES, London Live and The Evening Standard. Chuku’s is gaining a reputation as an industry pioneer with award recognition as the winners of a Virgin global entrepreneurship competition in 2016 and finalists for the 2017 Black British Business Awards. The entrepreneurial duo have also been named one of the top 20 Most Exciting Entrepreneurs in 2019 and one of the 15 Most Exciting Food and Drink Entrepreneurs in the UK in 2018 by the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, following their shortlisting as finalists in last year’s award.
In the restaurant, Chuku’s serves sharing plates of Nigerian dishes against a backdrop of Nigerian rhythmic afrobeats, contemporary art and street photography, to give guests a taste of Lagos – Nigeria’s cultural capital – in the heart of London. This cultural immersive dining experience has been coined by its founders the “chop, chat, chill”. Whilst all dishes are centred on authentic Nigerian flavours, they have put a special twist on some, such as their Jollof Quinoa – a healthy spin on the traditional jollof rice – and Plantain Waffles – their signature gluten-free and vegan dessert.
So, if you want to support this sibling duo and be part of their restaurant start-up story, check out their campaign and pledge your support this week. There’s only 15 days left! www.crowdfunder.co.uk/chukus