Update: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Tunde Wey’s dinner at Pot has been postponed.
Detroit-based, Nigerian-born chef Tunde Wey, who’ll be cooking some of his favorite dishes as a guest chef at Roy Choi’s Pot on Thursday, February 5, says he wants to “contemporize Nigerian food.”
What he means by that is that he wants to showcase the food that’s eaten by 150 million people in Nigeria.
“I’m focusing attention on it,” he says. But, “I’m not enhancing or modernizing it.”
Wey, who plans to move to New Orleans soon to open a restaurant and is also looking at a restaurant opportunity back in Detroit, has been touring the country to focus attention on the food he loves. At Pot, Wey will serve dishes like spicy jollof rice with chicken, frejon (coconut bean pudding) with fish and dodo (fried plantains), egusi (melon seed soup), and isi ewu (spicy goat-head stew).
Wey’s not a trained chef, but he’s thought about food most of his life. He learned how to cook largely from his mother in Nigeria and still calls her sometimes to work through recipes. He also learned from his aunt, his brothers, and even YouTube videos. In Detroit, he opened a restaurant called Revolver, known for its focus on bringing in different guest chefs each weekend. He recently sold his ownership stake in Revolver and is focusing on his own food.
Say Wey: “150 million Nigerians eat this food, this is their staple diet. This is not a fad. This is food that stretches back hundreds of years. I want to make this food accessible, but I don’t want it to be pedestrian. You want to find the balance. How do you protect this voice? That part of the challenge is what’s exciting about it.”
Wey will be cooking at Pot next Thurday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., or until dishes run out. Pot’s regular menu will also be available, and Droc2pus will spin Detroit rap and Nigerian beats in the restaurant.
Pot at The Line Hotel, 3515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-368-3030