Meet the Chef: Patrick Ikinofo

photo credit: Skycity Entertainment Group

Patrick Ikinofo, Skycity Entertainment Group’s executive chef, is a local Aucklander from humble beginnings. He began washing dishes and sweeping floors, but his passion for cooking came from his mum, also a chef.

Ikinofo entered the hotel industry as a sous chef at 21, heading The Langham’s Italian restaurant Barolo. From there, he worked in some of the most prestigious establishments in the world, including Wolgan Valley Resort and Savoy Hotel.

During his time in Dubai, health food was booming, and he let his inquisitive chef nature take over.

“I threw it all in and decided to learn something new by heading up the only paleo restaurant in Dubai.”

Within two years, he had turned a desolate café in the middle of a bike shop into a Best Health Food restaurant. Ikinofo earned another Best Health Food Restaurant award after a year heading the food and beverage division of the Government Wellness clinic.

“Feeling as if I had done what I had set out to do, I got back on track to chasing my dream of being an Executive Chef for a major five-star hotel brand by the time I was 30.”

Ikinofo took his newfound skills in wellness cooking to luxury lifestyle hotel brand Nikki Beach.

“Then Covid hit… So, I packed up the family and returned to Aotearoa,” he said, where Ikinofo landed his dream job as Sky City’s executive chef.

“I fulfilled the dream two years over the deadline, but good things take time right,” he laughed.

And what better way to do it than back in the city where it all began.

As Sky City’s executive chef, Ikinofo’s menus are inspired by what he likes to eat, merged with what’s on-trend.

Having accomplished so much already, Ikinofo said he would “keep moving, progressing, and evolving.”

For those just beginning their hospitality journey, Ikinofo encouraged them to push, push, push.

“To get something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done. It’s a long game, and you must be committed.

“But also do it for the love of cooking!”