“The ageing process begins at two weeks with the uncut pieces, and another four months once they have been cut up. You might think it would end up a little dry, but it doesn’t, thanks to the range of temperatures”. This morning Jeremy Chan (Ikoyi*, London) inaugurated Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión 2020.
Jeremy Chan (Ikoyi*, London) kicked off the Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión 2020 workshops demonstrating his veneration of meat. The son of a Chinese lawyer and a Canadian ballet teacher, Chan explained his meat maturing procedure, which commences at a high temperature and finishes at low temperature, “so that the juices are not lost”. The ageing process begins at two weeks with the uncut pieces, and another four months once they have been cut up. “You might think it would end up a little dry, but it doesn’t, thanks to the range of temperatures”.
Chan – who 9 years ago lived in Madrid, where he fell in love with cooking – elaborated on the origins of the animals he uses, “all from organic farms where they have lived out their lives with no human contact”. This, and the maturing process employed, means that meat reaches the customer’s plate “with a chestnut taste, no rotting, in an ensemble where the fat is just as important as the meat itself”.
“Our fare has very few components. Sauce and meat and perhaps a little something else, some content of umami, bitter, sweet and acidic. I don’t put in more than three or four components because this could confuse diners. I prefer them to home in on a specific taste, the caramelisation taste produced by the maturing process, for instance”. Another carnivore tip: “We don’t put the cooking temperature up too high because I don’t want to lose the pure taste”.
This is the cookery model deployed by Chan at his small London restaurant, which features a blind menu. “I choose the fare on a daily basis, depending on the produce my trusted suppliers bring me”. Ikoyi uses many West African products and spices, “but we’re not an African restaurant. We’re creative, and we don’t stick to any recipes; we follow our emotions”, Chan explained in excellent Spanish.
The chef rounded off his presentation by making a dessert, also of animal origin, an African dry pea ice cream, “where we use the caramelised fat of meat for the biscuit”. The ultimate proof of Chan’s love of meat, using all parts of the animal.
Jeremy Chan and Ikoyi
Ikoyi burst onto London’s restaurant scene in 2017 as the odd man out gastronomically speaking, but also in terms of the cooks behind the enterprise. Chan and his partner Hassan-Odukale, both in their thirties and both from different universities, did not plan to go into cooking. Before he established Ikoyi he worked at Noma, Hibiscus, and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
Their first Michelin star came barely a year after opening. Their star dish “plantain, smoked scotch Bonnet and raspberry“ and their tasting menu (“blind” – nothing is revealed beforehand) have rapidly made them one of the great promises of their generation, and their eatery one of the most exciting and different on London’s current restaurant scene.