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Revelations: Emeka Frederick, co-founder, Chuku's, London

12 June 2020
Revelations: Emeka Frederick, co-founder, Chuku's, London

What was your best subject at school?

Economics. I was a real whizz. Straights As – there weren't A*s back then – and over 95% in all my exams. You can tell I'm still proud of that one

What was your first job?

Admin assistant in a business enterprise centre. Then I worked at M&S. I only binned my PAYE slips from those jobs last month

What was your first job in catering?

Work experience as a chef at the Savoy London

What do you normally have for breakfast?

Porridge with soya milk and raisins

What do you do to relax?

Exercise. Calisthenics is my new love, but I was a keen swimmer before. I'm hoping I can open-water swim later this summer

Which is your favourite restaurant?

Morito on Hackney Road in London

What is your favourite food/cuisine?

Nigerian food – obviously! Specifically, egusi (melon seed stew) and eba (cassava dumplings). At Chuku's our egusi is vegan but I'd add goat meat and season with smoked crayfish

How would you describe your desk?

The kitchen table. My sister and I have been hogging it for the last few years. It's from here we've built our business

Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?

Lots of popcorn kernels

What daily newspaper/website do you read?

I read newsletters mainly. Quartz Africa is one of my favourites

If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?

Working for a start-up in Nigeria or somewhere else in West Africa. That was the initial plan

When and where was your last holiday?

Dubai. I was supposed to go back to Nigeria in April but the trip was cancelled

What irritates you most about the industry?

People saying, "because that's how we/I've always done it." I think that's lazy reasoning

What's your favourite film?

Cool Runnings, by a long shot

What's your favourite book?

Of all-time: The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters; of the last year: Atomic Habits by James Clear. Both are excellent!

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