Brixton Village announces chef contest winners

(left to right): James Cochran, Jackson Boxer, Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya, Claire Ptak, and Alistair Maddox in Brixton Village for the final of Brixton Kitchen.
(left to right): James Cochran, Jackson Boxer, Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya, Claire Ptak, and Alistair Maddox in Brixton Village for the final of Brixton Kitchen.

Brixton Village has announced the two winners of the Brixton Kitchen competition. The competition set out to find the next big talent in food and offered the winners a mentorship programme and a six-month residency.

Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya, winner of the experienced category, brings the Filipino supper club Sarapto to Brixton Village for its first stand-alone site, while amateur winner Adejoké ‘Joké’ Bakare introduces her West African concept Chishuru with a weekend pop-up.

The competition’s mentoring team includes co-founder and head chef of 1251, and the ‘Champion of Champions’ on BBC’s Great British Menu 2018, James Cochran; chef and restaurateur of Brunswick House, St Leonards and Orasay Jackson Boxer; and baker, food stylist and author Claire Ptak of Violet Cakes, who created the wedding cake for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Each winner will have created for them a tailor-made mentorship with the judges on hand throughout to support and help put their ideas into practice to build a long-term presence in Brixton. Workshops will be open to the public where possible so that all interested parties can benefit from the expertise offered.

The honorary runners-up in the competition included Ruben Dawnay of sandwich concept ‘Ruben’s Reuben’ and William and Jack, the duo behind small plates pop-up ‘Fallow’.

Alistair Maddox, Director of Brixton Village & Market Row at Hondo Enterprises, said: “We are extremely excited to develop this next stage of Brixton Kitchen, not just with our brilliant winners Budgie and Joké but with all those interested in bringing together the community through food and entrepreneurship. We aim to grow Brixton Kitchen into an umbrella resource through which the market can support culinary innovation, encourage homegrown talent and create invaluable experiences for both locals and visitors alike.”

Winner of Brixton Chef competition Budgie Montoya.
Budgie Montoya. Photo: Liz Stone

Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya of Sarap, winner of the Experienced Category, said: “I feel incredibly blessed and humbled by winning Brixton Kitchen. The amount of support I received throughout the competition was more than I could have ever imagined. I entered the competition in the hopes to find a permanent home for Sarap. Brixton for me has always been a place where the minority matters, and Filipino cuisine undoubtedly fits into that category, so it really felt like the perfect fit for our concept. I’m extremely excited to work with the Brixton Village and Hondo team to take Sarap to the next stage.”

Winner of Brixton Chef Competition Joke Bakare
Joke Bakare. Photo: Liz Stone

Adejoké ‘Joké’ Bakare of Chishuru, Winner of the Amateur Category, said: “Winning for me was a major step towards fulfilling my dream of introducing my vision of West African cuisine to the London food scene. The feedback Chishuru has received so far has been wonderful. I’m so glad to be able to bring pleasure with my food, and introduce the cuisine of our region to more people.”

Co-founder and head chef of 1251 James Cochran said: “It’s been a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with Brixton Village and mentor this next generation of restaurateurs. Joké gave us a brilliant take on West African food that not many have seen before, drawing up her family’s traditions in a new and innovative way.”

Chef and restaurateur of Brunswick House, St Leonards and Orasay, Jackson Boxer, said: “From the moment I met Joké, I found her completely compelling as a cook and host, and moreover so knowledgeable about the fascinating diversity of African cuisines. Her food is absolutely beautiful – considered, delicious, and utterly her own.

“Budgie is similarly a great cook, a killer chef, and a wonderful person. He has achieved an enormous amount of success and recognition for Sarap, and I have no doubt he will stand out in Brixton Village among the already exemplary diversity of voices and flavours. I love his food and can’t wait to eat more of it when I come down on my weekly shopping trips with the kids.”

Claire Ptak of Violet Cakes said: “Budgie has proven that he knows how to run a business through his successful pop-ups, which have gathered an amazing following. We’re really looking forward to supporting his vision and helping him grow his business into a stand-alone destination here in Brixton Village. Joké is also making incredible food that is worth travelling for. She’s incredibly knowledgeable about West African cuisine: more than just taking cues from her family, she is keen, curious and has a discerning palate.”

Follow @brixton.village on Instagram for news on Brixton Kitchen, Sarap and Chishuru, including more information on public tastings, workshops and more.