Shola Olunloyo is a talented, passionate, and resourceful chef and distinguished member of the Philadelphia restaurant community. He’s carved out a creative niche and reputation in an industry where getting a foothold is difficult, let alone making an impact. Now known to the Philly food world as just Shola, Olunloyo was born in England and raised in both Europe and West Africa. Never one to follow a traditional path, Olunloyo embarked on a self-designed apprenticeship that included employment in several countries, from Italy and France to countries throughout Southeast Asia. Picking up techniques, flavor profiles, and traditions along the way, Olunloyo developed what would become a culinary credo.
Back in Philadelphia, Olunloyo found an outlet in food writing and working as a private chef and caterer, but his passion and curiosity weren’t quite satisfied. He moved to New York City, where working as a private chef and selling all of his bicycles (Olunloyo was an avid cyclist), earned him roughly $15,000 to invest in a small, experimental project, Studiokitchen. At Studiokitchen, or “SK,” Olunloyo develops and plays with culinary concepts, global foods, and cutting-edge technology in an approachable laboratory setting. There, he sees ideas to fruition, from concepts for restaurants to innovations for food service equipment manufacturers.