The word “intense” is frequently used by friends and colleagues to describe Jeremy Chan, the 31-year-old philosopher-chef behind restaurant Ikoyi, which serves global interpretations of West African cuisine in the center of London. Chan, who studied languages and philosophy at Princeton University before embarking on — and then quickly abandoning — a career in finance, had only been cooking for five years when his best friend, Ire Hassan-Odukale, suggested opening a Nigerian restaurant together.

Barely a year after launching in 2017, Ikoyi earned its first Michelin star, and the chef credits his rapid rise to the “freakish energy and focus” that led him to seek answers to technical questions “like a perverted drug addict” during apprenticeships at top restaurants such as Copenhagen’s Noma and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London.

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