Home & Design

Onwuachi and fiancée Mya Allen prepare breakfast at home.

The kitchen features stainless-steel appliances and a glass-tile backsplash.

The chef poses in the sleek, modern kitchen of his Shaw apartment.

Private Tour: In the kitchen with chef Kwame Onwuachi

A behind-the-scenes look at the kitchen of a local restaurant star

Whipping up breakfast at home in Shaw, Kwame Onwuachi is focused on another kitchen nearby. The Shaw Bijou, his highly anticipated restaurant, has just opened in a row house within view of his apartment’s gleaming white kitchen, where the sleep-deprived chef is savoring a rare morning off with fiancée Mya Allen and their puppy, Clove.

The couple’s spice collection, which ranges from Calabrian chilis to Ethiopian berbere, hints at Onwuachi’s global approach to cooking. “My mother is Creole and my dad is Nigerian and Jamaican. I grew up in the Bronx, a melting pot of all different cuisines,” he says. “I tell my story with food.”

So far, his crowd-pleasers include Alaskan king crab in garlic sauce with grated uni bottarga, and a play on steak and eggs combining wagyu beef with soubise and a pickled quail egg. “Flavor and spices translate over different continents,” he says.

Before moving to DC in 2015, Onwuachi launched a catering company, studied at The Culinary Institute of America and survived 12 episodes on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” He created a series of pop-up restaurants around the country, Washington investors came calling and The Shaw Bijou was born.

The couple hasn’t set a wedding date yet, but Onwuachi has a wish list for his dream kitchen in a future home: an island with refrigerator and freezer drawers, a French-top range with gas burners and a combination oven (heat and steam).

For now, his sights are set on The Shaw Bijou, where a 13-course meal starts at $185 per person and where, Onwuachi says, he wants guests to feel as though they’re dining in “a very nice house.”

ALWAYS ON HAND: "Chilis, garlic, ginger, lime and sambal for something spicy and acidic. And leftover Chinese food."

MUST HAVES: "My Vita-Prep blender so I can make a sauce on the fly. And my handmade Japanese knives."

DINNER AFTER HOURS:  "After a long day, I’d probably sear a piece of steak, straight up. That’s it."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Following the publication of this article in December 2016, The Shaw Bijou announced its closure on January 15, 2017.


You may also like:

Cold Play
A jacket lets wearers be seen after dark
Bethesda Systems Goes to the Movies
An industry expert raises the curtain on mistakes to avoid in a home-theater design
Smart Home Tech
Pros shed light on the vision of the future
HOME&DESIGN, published bi-monthly by Homestyles Media Inc., is the premier magazine of architecture and fine interiors for the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

The company also publishes an annual H&D Sourcebook of ideas and resources for homeowners and professionals alike. H&D Chesapeake Views is published bi-annually and showcases fine home design and luxury living in and around the Chesapeake Bay.

The H&D Portfolio of 100 Top Designers spotlights the superior work of selected architects, interior designers and landscape architects in major regions of the US.

Stay Connected with HOME & DESIGN Newsletter

Copyright © 2021 Home & Design. All rights reserved. | Back to top