Meet Slutty Cheff, the Anonymous Cook Shaking Up London’s Culinary Scene
There is only one relevant chef in London these days, and no one knows who she is. Slutty Cheff hides her face with a burger emoji and works shifts at an unknown food establishment. At night, she rides a VanMoof e-bike hands-free, dunking leftover kebabs in bins along the way before returning home to write her daily missives on Instagram such as: :
“8am: I arrive at work. I get naked in a changing room full of men. 9am: I do things with my hands. People speak but I have nothing to say before 11am. 10am: The fish guy shows up. We have the same conversation everyday. “You alright darling?” “Yeah all good thanks”. He can call me darling, finance bros can’t. 11am: I converse with chefs. “What did you do last night?” “I was here.” “You?” “Nothing.” 12 hours more of this riveting joy.”
After calling out celebrity chef Thomas Straker (followed by 2M foodies and bots) for hiring a rogues’ gallery of identical men to work at his namesake restaurant (London’s answer to Lucien), Slutty wrote an ironic post, pretending to do a trial shift at their kitchen with “Joshua, Richard, Archie, Rupert, Humphrey, Bastian and Cockface.” She was soon wooed by the Notting Hill culinary elite. Her British Vogue article, on what she calls the “full-throttle, balls-out world of kitchen work,” is reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain’s “Don’t Eat Before Reading This.” Between long bike rides and shifts at Café Rouge, Slutty took time off to reveal parts unknown about her life in London.
NIMROD KAMER: Hey. Are you cycling right now?
SLUTTY CHEFF: Yeah. Can you hear me okay?
KAMER: It’s good. Seems like everybody knows about you in London now. Did you get a raise?
CHEFF: No, I am still paid badly. Like all chefs. I don’t think me slagging off Thomas Straker was going to get anyone a raise, unfortunately.
CHEFF: [Laughs] Also, I don’t think I actually slagged Straker off. It was a bit of fun and games. I was taking the piss.
KAMER: Have you been to Strakers, the restaurant?
CHEFF: No, but I’m planning to go in the next few weeks. Undercover, of course.
KAMER: How did you come up with the burger emoji to cover your face on IG?
CHEFF: The burger emoji fits my burger-shaped head perfectly.
KAMER: I see. So what kind of restaurant are you actually a chef in?
CHEFF: I won’t tell you which one it is, but it’s a very fine establishment and one that you’ve all been to.
KAMER: I’d love to come and—
CHEFF: Fine. I’ll tell you what it is. It’s Café Rouge.
KAMER: That’s a classy destination. There are five Café Rouges. I’ll look you up.
CHEFF: You’ll find me in one of them.
KAMER: What happens when people spot you riding around?
CHEFF: I get really awkward. Some guy the other day—he was a doctor, which really surprised me because I thought doctors were too civilized to read the stuff I write, because it’s quite crude. He cycled alongside me on his way to work. It was 7:30am and he was like, “Are you that famous Instagram chef lady?” And I just went really shy. Unfortunately, he wasn’t going fast enough for me and he kept stopping at all the red lights, so we said goodbye.
KAMER: You have a really fancy bicycle, VanMoof, which just went bankrupt. How come you and all the chefs have this expensive bike?
CHEFF: No other chefs ride this bike. They all use the dirty, dirty tube. I can’t go on the tube. I’m actually claustrophobic and not in a chic way. In a serious way. I won’t even go to my toilet at work. I have to wait 16 hours to pee some days. If you’re claustrophobic and looking for a good toilet in London, I highly recommend the Charing Cross Foyles bookshop.
KAMER: How do you charge the e-bike in the kitchen?
CHEFF: I have a clunky portable charger that I lug up and down my flat stairs every day to charge. It was the stupidest fucking decision to get that VanMoof, but its sexier than all other ones that have smaller portable chargers. Style over substance. I call it my stallion.
KAMER: You eat while cycling hands-free?
CHEFF: Always eat while I bike. I believe it aids digestion.
KAMER: Do you carry a chef knife at all times?
CHEFF: I actually have a Swiss army knife on my keychain, just a little Christmas cracker one, and I somehow manage to use it every single day. Today, for example, I was with my dad and he had really long eyebrow hairs so I trimmed it with the little scissors.
KAMER: Do all chefs carry fancy knives and compare them?
CHEFF: People can really be into knives. I’m not really that interested. It’s a whole other world and quite serious and homoerotic for men. I’ll usually just ask someone else’s advice. Obviously, some knives are sexier than others. Japanese knives are the sexiest.
KAMER: You post a lot about men you wake up with, sometimes chefs. Do you make them bespoke bedside breakfasts?
CHEFF: No. Usually I get them the hell out of my house as quickly as possible so I can call my friends and tell them all about the sex. But sometimes, if I do quite like the boy, maybe I’ll take him on a nice stroll around East London, maybe end up in a nice posh pub in Islington and have a pint of ale and a scotch egg and maybe he’ll kiss my sweet, gaunt face [Laughs]. And then I’ll send him on his way.
KAMER: Do most of these guys know you’re such a big person, or do they think you’re just a lowly chef?
CHEFF: I’ve met a couple lads through Slutty Cheff DMs. It’s quite funny because, who knows if I’m really that character? Sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not. I’ve set a rule now that I don’t want to meet anyone through it because I feel like I have this fucking lethal weapon at my fingertips, like it needs to be handled with caution.
KAMER: What is the rule, exactly?
CHEFF: The rule is unless they’re exceptionally hot or make me laugh, then I won’t meet anyone online via Slutty DMs.
KAMER: You’ve been compared to Anthony Bourdain because he wrote that story for the New Yorker while being a chef.
CHEFF: I think you’re the only person that compared me to him. But yeah, It was a bit crazy the day my Vogue piece came out. Oh look, I’ve just seen someone with your kind of lame bike.
KAMER: Yeah, I have a massive cargo bike which I invited you to ride on.
CHEFF: I know. It just feels very intimate. Maybe after we know each other better. Anyway, Bourdain was an amazing writer and very hot as well. I liked the shape of his nose and the way he wrote. But I would not compare myself to him, I have major imposter syndrome. Someone said to me the other day, “Your writing is a mix of self-deprecation and superiority.” And that’s basically the state I’m in mentally 24/7.
KAMER: You said you’d do a face-reveal at one million followers. How about voice-reveal at 500,000 followers?
CHEFF: I’m absolutely never going to do a voice-reveal. I don’t like my voice at all. It’s very nasally, so I’d rather do a face reveal, because at least then I can put makeup on and look really stunning. I also don’t really like podcasts. There’s only one podcast I listen to and I’ve listened to it every day for the past year, called Dear Joan and Jericha, and it’s fucking hilarious. Other than that, I don’t listen to podcasts and I’m scared that if I go on one, I’ll say something stupid.
KAMER: So you’re sticking to the face-reveal?
CHEFF: Yeah. I’ll see you there in a couple of months lad.
KAMER: Are you annoyed that the Vogue article had a picture from The Bear in the article and not a picture of you?
CHEFF: There is not one picture of me that I would want to see on British Vogue, but yes, I am a bit bored of seeing that show.
KAMER: Could The Bear happen in London?
CHEFF: No. There is no space for that level of emotion in London.
KAMER: You wrote on IG that you were removed from a train for eating Stilton cheese?
CHEFF: Yeah. Who knows if it was because of the cheese or because the train conductor fancied me.
KAMER: What happened exactly there?
CHEFF: I was just drinking a glass of deep, silky red and tucking into a big wedge of smelly Stilton and people in the surrounding seats started to faint and vomit. Some girl vomited so much that another passenger ended up slipping on her vomit and then sliding down the aisle of the train as it veered around corners. That’s when they evacuated me.
KAMER: You used to post a lot about eating McDonald’s and now it’s more kebabs. How come?
CHEFF: It’s all about where I’m cycling, so at the moment I’m cycling a lot past a kebab place on my way home from work. It’s called 01 ADANA next to Newington Green, so I’m going there a lot. Your tastes vary month to month, it can depend on who you’re hanging out with, what you’re watching or reading online, and whether you’re on your period.
KAMER: What’s your specialty dish?
CHEFF: Probably boiled broccoli with no seasoning or olive oil. Overdone as well.
KAMER: Any spicy reactions from people you’ve cooked for?
CHEFF: A few months ago, I was seeing this chef and made him a crisp sandwich and asked if he wanted butter and he said no, and that he likes his food dry. I really liked that because he’s a chef and he’s meant to like things done in a swanky way, but he just wanted a dry, crisp sandwich. It made me laugh.
KAMER: Are you going to open your own restaurant?
CHEFF: For now, I’m going to say absolutely not. It’s the fucking hardest job in the world to own a restaurant and I don’t think I have it in me. But catch me on a good day and I’ll be like, “Yeah, absolutely.”
KAMER: Because you keep referring to “your business”?
CHEFF: I’m working on a few different projects and will let you know in due course. There’s some exciting stuff going on. It’s all writing-based and I’m doing that on the side of my 50-to-60 hour-a-week kitchen work. My business projects are coming in hot and heavy, and I want to make all of it happen. You’ll find out more when the leaves on the pavements in London match the color of my hair.
KAMER: What’s the worst food season?
CHEFF: Oh, god. Probably the season we’re in right now. Fucking grouse season. This is when fat, tubby English aristocrats come to restaurants with their chubby fingers, small penises, and signet rings cutting off all blood circulation and they rejoice at the site of glorious grouse. And the bins in the kitchen smell like ass.
KAMER: Do you remember the most scandalous scene you have witnessed as a chef in London?
CHEFF: There was one time when I accidentally knocked a gas canister into a burning hot deep fat fryer and it exploded and nearly killed all the chefs. Other than that, I believe that tragedy is probably more prominent in kitchens than scandal. It is very much like a Greek tragedy with plate smashing, carcass cracking, meat smelling, all of that shit. And broken hearts. There are so many broken hearts. Mine included.
KAMER: I’m going to keep trying to spot you in restaurants I go to with what little info of you I have: the bike and the vibe.
CHEF: Where do you live?
KAMER: I live in Hackney in Victoria Park.
CHEFF: We’re very close. I’m sure we’ll crash into each other soon.
KAMER: Yeah, I follow your stories and cycle quickly to show up where you just posted.
CHEFF: Do you have a weird fetish with anon cyclists?
KAMER: Well, I also hate the tube.
CHEFF: Everyone tells me, “What are you talking about? You’re never going to get stuck in a tunnel. That’s ridiculous.” One of my chefs two days ago got stuck down there for an hour. Fuck that. I’m not doing that.