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Discover 6 Chefs Changing the Global Perception of Nigerian Food



Nigerian food is, without a doubt, one of our most cherished exports. Nigerian chefs have found themselves under growing pressure to challenge, surprise and eventually, please diners. Cooking is no longer just restricted to the two-dimensional challenge of creating a dish that both looks and tastes good. It has become a medium through which the best, brightest and most innovative can let their fancies run wild.

Essentially, the Nigerian kitchen is at the heart of a new revolution and food is no longer just about taste. In response, a crop of Nigerian chefs has emerged, creating menus that are breaking down traditional barriers and specialising in creating new sensations. These foodies are not only pushing the Nigerian menu in uncomfortable, unfamiliar directions, they are showing how it has the potential to offer the ultimate intimate experience as well.

Here are 6 Nigerian chefs giving us a taste of something new and challenging our ideas of what it really means to eat a Nigeria meal.

Tunde Wey

Nigerian-born thinker and chef from Detroit, Tunde Wey dishes out authentic Nigerian food alongside a healthy serving of reality. According toa profile on him by, he is a chef “who serves you Nigerian cuisine with a side of existential inquiry: Why are you here…? And what have you done lately for your fellow man, in recognition of the opportunities you’ve enjoyed but did not earn?

For some time now, he has been in the news for his traveling dinner and dialogue series Blackness in America aimed at promoting black discourse and prioritizing black perspectives. He has been pushing the limits of what a pop-up restaurant can do, however, he also owns Lagos, a restaurant named after his hometown.

Lopè Ariyo

Lope Ariyo is one of the many British cooks and food writers of West African descent delving deep into their cultural heritage and attempting to repurpose classic ingredients for the modern world. She is determined to bring the Nigerian cuisine to the forefront and essentially to a wider audience. Her approach is a contemporary one, which combines African flavours with cosmopolitan-style cooking practices. First, she contested in a cookery competition organised by Red Magazine and Harper Collins. She won; securing a cookbook deal with Harper Collins and a 5-page spread with Red Magazine featuring her recipes. The cookbook, Hibiscus, has been out since June 2017.

Tomi Makanjuola

Nigerian-born writer, food blogger and chef who currently resides in the city of London, created and maintains ‘The Vegan Nigerian’ – a space for foodies seeking culinary adventure to experience the food and culture of Nigeria with a vegan twist. In this space, she develops and shares a range of vegan menus created either by ‘veganising’ traditional meals or using well-known Nigerian ingredients in new and innovative ways. Tomi’s recipes showcase the vibrant and colourful flavours of traditional and contemporary Nigerian food and certainly reflects her passion for fusion and vegan cuisine. Some of her recipes have been featured on the BBC, as well as online platforms such as One Green Planet. Her book is titled Nice Cream.

Fregene Gbubemi

Chances are you’ve seen Fregene Gbubemi on TV, heard him on the radio, or read one of his recipes in a magazine — he’s is quite a celebrity in the Nigerian culinary world. From his early days at the Market Restaurant, Paris, to attaining the “Chef Fregz” brand (birthed out of a need for the young chef to communicate and connect with the upwardly mobile crowd which he has serviced hitherto) and being a judge on Knorr Taste Quest, he has maintained a passion for sharing good food. His approach is about a multi-sensory outlook as it is about eclectic new techniques.

Alex Oke

A Nigerian/Russian chef, Alex is passionate about bread, pastry and confections. It is not secret that Alex Oke’s calling is in the culinary/pastry arts. Currently based in Lagos, he is the owner at XO Boutique Bakery and an instructor at the Culinary Academy in Lagos.

While Alex draws inspiration from local and seasonal produce and tries to live and work within the farm to table philosophy, his approaches show that modern culinary innovation. He uses a combination of technique and sensual experience as he experiments with Nigerian dishes, fusing them with European and Asian influences to create what he calls “gentrified Nigerian food”.

Ozoz Sokoh

Popularly known as the ‘Kitchen Butterfly’, Ozoz Sokoh considers herself a ‘Traveller by lens and plate’. A writer and food explorer who has been documenting African cuisine over the last couple of years, she is most passionate about food fusion. She has a knack for transforming Nigerian meals into delightful culinary adventures, with a goal to elevate traditional Nigerian cooking to fine dining.

She has since become well-known both for her challenging and unusual recipes. Ozoz created ‘The New Nigerian Kitchen’ – a platform which celebrates Nigerian cuisine by reinventing and representing Nigerian food, unearthing history, sharing techniques, using old ingredients in new ways and focusing on in-season produce- with hopes that it will inspire other chefs to be more innovative and push food and restaurant industry here to grow. She believes that reinventing age-old recipes will ensure that those traditions remain alive and continue to be passed down from generation to generation.

Have we left anyone out? Let us know !


  1. Vee

    June 21, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Yes you have- Lohis creation…

    • star

      June 21, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      Please i would like if there’s a show on how to cook less carb foods deliciously, we only hear about things like that abroad. Please how can we cook our nigerian food but with less carbs? Thats what i expect to hear.

    • fatimah

      April 16, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      reddish chronicle ceo is also a great chef

  2. Mrs chidukane

    June 21, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Dooney will not be pleased,lol.

    • Anon

      June 21, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Is she a Chef? I see her more as a Cook (a very good one.) The difference(s)? How long have you got?

    • Mary

      June 21, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      Thank you. She never calls herself a Chef not to my notice anyway. The ones listed here, not all of them are Chefs, so be gone with the shade Mrs Chidukane at least you know who she is, question is does she know you or does anyone know who you are in your field.

    • Mrs chidukane

      June 21, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      Yen yen yen Mary. They said chefs that are redefining Nigerian cooking and that’s what dooney prides herself on. Besides, what makes a chef? How many of these people went to culinary school?

    • Smh

      June 21, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      I don’t know what’s going on with you, your comments are usually positive, but these days it’s all kinds of shades and aggression.

  3. 'Wande

    June 21, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Nice piece. You left some people out…. @nancyumeh_ and @opeyemifamakin on Instagram. You can check them out.

  4. Foodie

    June 21, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    where is Chef Erps? ehn BN? Shey u know u didn;t say enough about Fregz up there.

  5. Foodie

    June 21, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    where is Chef Eros? ehn BN? Shey u know u didn;t say enough about Fregz up there.

    • Godwin legend

      April 18, 2019 at 10:49 am

      chef Eros is the best chef as much as i know

  6. Ruth

    June 21, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Yes you have – Chef Eros

  7. Mz Socially Awkward....

    June 21, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I can’t lie, came here and was scrolling through to see if Dooney and Ozed were featured, so I can do aluta. *side eyes to BN* Dooney fell out of favor or worrapen?

    And re Ozed (i.e. KitchenButterfly), much respect to a woman who combines a day job in the hdyrocarbons industry with her passion. My most memorable testimony of her skills was attending her sister’s wedding lunch at a hotel in Edinburg, where they had a Nigerian option on the menu in addition to the standard British one (bride was Nigerian and the groom was English). Skeptics such as myself scoffed at the idea that Norton House could prepare jollof and chicken and jejely ordered the continental option (make dem just give us food wey we know say dem fit cook).

    Omo. That jollof showed up with chicken and dodo and see us continental dish owners, drooling at our neighbors’ plates. Chai! Jollof was on point! Dodo was crisp! Chicken was well stewed!!! I sharply investigated this wizardry (howwwww????) and was told that Ozed was performing virtual cookery lessons with the head chefs of the hotel. Sending them a list of ingredients, precise instructions of how to prepare each item and supporting from Nigeria. From Nigeria, oh! Na when she land, dem do final taste test and viola, we had our wedding meal without tears.

    Ozed, I’m not family oh but you will come to Greece or Cyprus (as the pocket allows). We will replicate those efforts, step by step for my wedding, And may your gifts continue to lift you to higher platforms, nwa nne m! xx

    • Mrs chidukane

      June 21, 2018 at 6:52 pm

      Are you getting married soon? Yaaaaay! Congrats in advance.

    • Anastasios Adamopoulos

      July 11, 2019 at 6:16 pm

      Nice write up. I love Nigerian food, can’t wait to check out these resturants when I hit Lagos.

  8. Stephanie

    June 21, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Lol Chioma is not on the list? Hehehe

    • Dayo

      June 22, 2018 at 2:29 am

      @Stephanie, LOL! And here I was thinking I was the only Cynic on here. BN, Where’s Chef Chi?!!

  9. Chef Siri

    April 22, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Chef Stone of Burgundy and Red Dish Chronicles culinary school.. Definitely one in the top 5

  10. oladoke Kehinde

    July 4, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    I just decide to check to see who the best chef in nigeria and was surprise to see that chioma is not on the list

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