Meet Shola Olunloyo, Chef-owner at StudioKitchen in Philadelphia

Updated: May 14

This first Chef-in-residence at Blue Hill at Stone barns is committed to educating about delicious sustainable food through techniques, flavors and traditions.

Photo Courtesy of Shola Olunloyo

"The future of food is about education."

Nigerian chef Shola Olunloyo is a distinguished member of the Philadelphia restaurant community, with a reputation for highly technical food and exciting flavors. Schooled in both England and Nigeria, he continued his culinary studies in a series of apprenticeships and stages across Europe, East, and Southeast Asia, working at some of the most formative restaurants in the industry. Along the way, he’s cultivated up a phenomenal library of techniques, flavors, and traditions with a special emphasis on fermentation. A culinary jack-of-all-trades, Olunloyo has also worked in food writing and catering.

In 2002, he opened the culinary laboratory StudioKitchen, where he experiments with culinary concepts, flavors, and cutting-edge technology. In his kitchen, he works with restaurants and food equipment manufacturers in order to develop new ideas. In 2021, he was the first Chef-in-residence at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where he re-interpreted the bounty of Hudson Valley through the lens of Yoruba Nigerian cuisine and highlighted the rich and complex flavors that make up the coastal region.

Across this interview Chef Shola tells us more about his philosophy and explains to us how sustainability and taste are strongly connected.

Welcome Shola to Chefs for Impact!

By Shola Olunloyo as told to Chefs for Impact

How did you become a Chef?

“I became a Chef through circumstances and necessity. I grew up in Nigeria in a household where, at that time in the 80s, it wasn’t really a place where you go to the grocery store and can buy everything. In France, you go to the market and you see all the veg