We’ve teamed up with Jeremy Chan of two Michelin-starred restaurant Ikoyi, to bring you and exclusive collaboration available for one day only on 13.10.23 at our Covent Garden Shack.
We sat down with Jeremy on all things collab, why he opened Ikoyi and of course, his go-to Shack faves.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Jeremy. I’m the head chef and co-owner of Ikoyi restaurant which I opened in 2017 with my best friend Iré. I’ve been working at Ikoyi since day one and it’s been a big part of the journey of my life so far.
What inspired you to open Ikoyi?
My best friend Iré is from Nigeria and he asked me to open this restaurant with him and I wasn’t actually planning to cook anymore at the time, then I saw an opportunity to run my own kitchen and express my ideas about food in a really original way. I’m very inspired by spices and seasonality and I wanted to create a restaurant that married these two important aspects of food together.
The restaurant started as analysing and working with sub-saharan West African ingredients and it’s grown to be a very multicultural, global cuisine which is very much our own.
Why partner with Shake Shack?
I’ve always been a big fan of Shake Shack and I’ve known Mark Rosati for a few years and I’ve always been really impressed with how consistent and how well constructed their food is. I can tell that it comes from a real kind of chef’s background, the way that the dishes are composed. I really love the flavours, the layering, the textures and I am really impressed with the brand and the way it has grown in the last few years.
I went to Shake Shack many days after we opened the first site back in 2017, it was good comfort food for me and my team at the time. So it’s kind of cool to be coming back and doing this collaboration with Mark and the team in Covent Garden.
Can you break down the ingredients and flavours in the Ikoyi Burger and Dark Beer Fondue Fries?
The burger is layered with fermented Scotch bonnet relish on the bottom, then you have a cheese patty. The bun is brushed with pumpkin seed miso brown butter glaze. Then we have some confit pressed grilled sweetbreads, which are glazed in a Buffalo sauce. Then we thinly slice some mustard greens which get sauteed on top of the cheeseburger. And then we finish the burger with an emulsion of fresh herbs and dried spices, which is very vibrant and very green.
How did you come up with these menu items?
I think we just wanted to showcase some of the really original, sharp, powerful flavours that we have at Ikoyi. Some of the new techniques, the vibrant colours and the textures and the use of wide-ranging and varying ingredients and how we combine them in a unique way.
Could you tell us about your journey into the world of culinary arts? What initially inspired you to become a chef?
I started being inspired by cooking when I was living in Spain and watching the way food culture there and going to the markets and seeing the convivial life. The way that people like to go out and eat in Spain and I thought I wanted to be a part of this field because I felt like it was a way for me to bring people together, express my creativity, do something physical, do something creative and do something very personal.
What inspired me to become a chef was by eating in some of the world’s great restaurants. Growing up in Hong Kong, having many wonderful food memories in my childhood and living all over the world from China, Italy, Denmark, Spain and Canada, I think having this multicultural background is part of my DNA and part of my story.
How would you describe your cooking style in three words, and why do these words resonate with your approach to food?
My cooking style is, I’d say. It’s passionate, it’s intense and it’s joyful.
I put my whole heart into everything that I do and I try and do everything to the max, so everything in terms of the food at Ikoyi is about intensity. It’s about memory. It’s about creating clear and decisive flavours and I want to bring joy with my food. I want the dishes to make people happy. I want to give people long lasting memories.
Many of our Shake Shack fans might not be familiar with Ikoyi’s cuisine. Could you describe the type of dining experience someone can expect when visiting your restaurant?
I’d say it’s very laid back, it’s very friendly and we try to have a very natural service style and make everyone feel welcome. In a way we’re trying to disarm people because we want the food to speak for itself. So while there’s a level of intensity and focus with the food, I’d say that we try to keep a relaxed and informal approach with how we treat people.
Beyond cooking, what are some of your other interests or hobbies that people might be surprised to learn about?
Well, I don’t really have much of a life, to be honest, IKOYI has been my life. So I’d say most of my activities outside of work kind of relate to work. I enjoy cycling, I cycle to work everyday. I like to read when I have the time. I read on a wide variety of topics, could be literature, it could be current affairs, it could be politics, it could be the history of architecture. It could be anything really, but I like to read to bring my mind outside of cooking sometimes.
Quick Fire Questions
- What’s your go-to Shack order?
Cheese fries and ShackBurger, and I really like the custards as well.
- What’s your favourite ingredient to cook with?
Probably rice, because it’s very versatile, very comforting, very homey and it’s a vehicle for many other flavours
- Describe the Ikoyi Burger in 3 words
Spicy, aromatic, complex.
The Ikoyi Burger & Dark Beer Fondue Fries are available on 13.10.23 at our Covent Garden Shack from 12pm ’till we sell out. P.S. the first 50 guests can nab some exclusive collab merch. See you there!