IMAGINE Leaders – Michael Elegbede
ÌTÀN Test Kitchen, Founder
A Nigerian native and third-generation chef, Michael Elégbèdé is an award-winning chef revolutionizing traditional Nigerian gastronomy through his philosophy of celebrating his indigenous food traditions and ingredients. Although he began further education at the University of Illinois, Chicago, studying Biology and Psychology, Chef Elégbèdé answered his calling when he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America, Graystone. He trained at one of the world’s leading restaurants – Eleven MadisonPark and Nomad, under the tutelage of Daniel Humm between 2012-2015, before moving back to his hometown, Lagos, Nigeria in 2016 to solidify his understanding and develop the experience of, Nigerian cuisine. In the Spring of 2019, Michael Elegbede founded Abòri, an organization aiming to facilitate the continual development of the Nigerian gastronomic space. Through Abori, Elégbèdé curated a Food Design Summit where vendors had the opportunity to showcase their produce at a farmers market at the renowned Mike Adenuga Centre in Lagos. Michael Elégbèdé’s dedication to collaborating with local artisans is a testimony to his mission to build a sustainable culinary eco-system in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa, through his continued hard work, he was been recognized by partners such as James Beard Foundation, Chefs Manifesto, Dangote, CNN, BBC, World Health Organisation, World’s 50 Best Next, La Liste, and the United Nations. At the beginning of 2020, Michael Elégbèdé opened his test kitchen ÌTÀN T.K., to the public for the first time. ITÀN T.K is a unique space in the heart of Ikoyi, Lagos which serves as an educational space for reimagining the ways Nigerian ingredients can be used, and cooking traditions reinterpreted to curate remarkable eating experiences.