The Bear star Will Poulter got candid in a recent interview about his love for African food and why the culture is so “underrepresented” in the culinary industry.
Poulter, 30, appeared on Times Radio and revealed how much he enjoyed food from different cultures, including African cuisine. However, the British actor couldn’t understand why African restaurants are less likely to receive Michelin stars for their food and dining experience.
“One of the food cultures that is massively underrepresented in the fine dining level is the food of African origin,” Poulter said in a clip shared by The Shade Borough. “And the best restaurant I’ve been to recently is a restaurant called Akoko in London, and it’s been recently overlooked by Michelin, which I think is a great shame.”
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According to the website, a Michelin star “is awarded to restaurants using top quality ingredients, where dishes with distinct flavours are prepared to a consistently high standard.” However, Poulter said only four Black chefs have received the prestigious honor since its inception in 1926.
“There have actually only been four Michelin stars held by Black chefs ever since Michelin’s inception, and there’s currently one in America,” Poulter explained. “There’s a massive oversight of food of African origin and Black chefs in general, but Akoko deserves a star.”
Akoko was founded by Nigerian entrepreneur Aji Akokomi, who wanted to create a restaurant that served authentic West African cuisine.
“Our culinary team skilfully create family recipes as well as innovative dishes that combine the finest seasonal British produce with specially sourced African spices,” according to the restaurant’s website. “Akoko reflects our creativity and imagination inspired by the traditions, art and culture of West Africa.”
In December, the Financial Post reported that executive chef Ayo Adeyemi and Akokomi are planning a second location in London sometime this year. The overall dining experience is expected to be more casual than Akoko.