In a city of 17,000 restaurants, there’s serious competition when it comes to standing out in the kitchen. Forget your Michelin Star restaurants and celebrity chef joints, these chefs in up-and-coming kitchens are the ones to watch. Read on for our pick of rising stars on the London restaurant scene; it's London's hottest chefs.
London's hottest chefs
Allen’s quiet confidence is written all over the menu at the supper club-inspired Pidgin, where her modern British cooking pulls in flavours from her travels across the world and treats them with creativity and restraint. The result is some of the most inventive, elegant and downright thrilling food in London – and at £40 for four courses, it’s a real steal too.
Most likely to: Win her first Michelin star before the age of 30.
Taste her food at: Pidgin.
‘MasterChef’s youngest ever winner is a seriously inventive cook, more preoccupied with successful flavour combinations than so-called ‘authenticity’. So, while Anderson’s first restaurant venture is inspired by the comfort food of southern Japan, the chef also sources ingredients from his more immediate surroundings. Which, in Brixton, means popping curried goat into ramen. Sounds bonkers but it works.
Most likely to: Launch a miso-flavoured beer. This former publican has already added yuzu to a Pressure Drop IPA. Surely an umami brew is next?
Taste his food at: Nanban
Portuguese-born Carreira, a graduate of northern Spain’s world-ranking Mugaritz restaurant, came to London to work at Viajante. His first own venture is still a pop-up (extended until the end of the year on the back of rave reviews), but we’ve no doubt that the likes of octopus in red pepper miso and beef with clams and fermented radishes will be served in a more permanent space very soon.
Most likely to: Win a Chefs’ Choice Award. Fellow cooks can’t seem to get enough of LC’s gutsy cooking.
Taste his food at: LC at Climpson’s Arch
Both the Portuguese Ana and Chinese Zijun trained with Nuno Mendes, but it’s the latter’s Asian heritage – and the pair’s mutual obsession with rice – that shouts loudest in their first venture on their own. Having wowed street food fans with their short rib ‘ricewiches’ at Druid Street Market, they found a permanent home for their ‘Chinese-inspired small plates’ in a Haggerston café earlier this year.
Most likely to: Rewrite the cookbook (and dictionary) one rice dish at a time.
Taste their food at: Curio + Tata
He may only have had a three-month starter course from Le Cordon Bleu under his belt at the time, but Katz didn’t shy away from writing to five top chefs for career advice – and he’s not looked back since. The ambitious young chef scored his first head chef role at Made in Camden at an early age, and is now the proud owner of a buzzing grill restaurant with offshoots of its own.
Most likely to: Go global. His East-meets-West barbecue format has legs.
With London’s current love for all things chargrilled, smoked and pickled, Kiazim has picked precisely the right moment to take her trademark modern Turkish cooking from supperclub to standalone restaurant. Oklava opened just before her thirtieth birthday (something she swore she would achieve), and showcases Kiazim’s passion for charcoal cooking, big flavours and smart spicing. Her medjool date butter will rock your world.
Most likely to: Roll out Oklava as a Barrafina-style mini-chain by the age of 35.
Taste her food at: Oklava.
First introduced at Nahm, this scorching pair went on to shake their woks in Bangkok and New York before reuniting in London, where they’ve now launched what’s arguably the best informal Thai restaurant outside Asia. Their show-stopping deep-fried seabass with roasted rice and Isaan herbs has got to be one of the most Instagrammed dishes in town. Rightly so.
Most likely to: Write a bestselling cookbook.
Taste their food at: Som Saa
‘If you have a good carrot, let it be a good carrot.’ This pretty much sums up Magnus Reid’s low-intervention, low-fuss, low-bullshit approach to cooking. The straight-talking Aussie has been on the scene for a while – he started turning heads at the brilliant Rooftop Café in London Bridge – but his wine-led Legs restaurant in Hackney opened earlier this year to rave reviews, and Reid is really hitting his stride.
Most likely to: Change profession entirely – he’s also a trained tattoo artist.
Taste his food at: Legs
Venue says: “Every Sunday our head chef Mitz Vora and his team will host our intimate 'off-menu' tasting sessions for up to 10 guests at a time!”
It’s been a breakthrough year for Mitz Vora. Having earned his stripes as sous chef at The Palomar, we weren’t surprised to hear he’d decided to go it alone – but if you’re expecting more of the same at Foley’s, you don’t know much about Vora. His culinary CV, writ large in his bold new menu, hops gaily around the globe in glorious Technicolor.
Most likely to: Bring fusion with a capital-F back into fashion.
Taste his food at: Foley’s.
Unofficial Ghanaian food ambassador to London and beyond, Zoe Adjonyoh has given thousands of Londoners their first taste of West African food at various festivals, pop-ups and supper clubs, before settling last year in a shipping container at Pop Brixton. If you eat one thing from her line-up of reworked Ghanaian classics, make it the jollof-spiced fried chicken. You won’t regret it.
Most likely to: Be the next Thomasina Miers. Look out for a ZGK roll-out, cookbook and sauces.
Taste her food at: Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Pop Brixton.
More on London's coolest chefs
Women in kitchens all over the city are doing fine work, but you're unlikely to know about it as numbers of them have been steadily decreasing over the past few years. 23 percent of chefs in the UK were women in 2010, but that dropped in 2014 to 20 percent and as of this year stands at a paltry 18.5 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics. Well, we're here to say big up the broads in this increasingly butch food world! We've pinpointed a handful of the coolest female chefs London's vast array of restaurants has to offer, who dish up top nosh daily.
There's plenty of pedigree behind this South Kensington restaurant - it's from the Brindisa stable, a group with impressive form at various other London sites covering restaurants, shops and food stalls. They specialise in offering high quality Spanish produce. This Exhibition Road spot - the second of the group's ventures - is a good example. Tapas plays an important role, with dishes such as Catalan spinach, marmitako, chorizo a la sidra and tortilla de chorizo menu staples alongside daily specials. Lamb cutlets, confit chicken breast, sautéed squid and grilled pluma ibérica are specialities of this Brindisa address. Each of the six sherries is available by the glass and bottle, served alongside Spanish beers, cocktails and a wine list focused solely on Spanish bottles. There's a Spanish brandy, from Jerez, too.
Venue says: “Come and enjoy a family lunch after visiting the museums and exhibitions. Nuestra casa es tu casa (our home is your home)!”