This Chef Is Asking His White Customers If They’d Like To Pay More
The Nigerian chef asked white customers to pay more for food to prove a point.
Chef Tunde Wey opened a pop-up in New Orleans where white customers were asked to pay a suggested price of $30 for a meal, while non-white customers paid $12.
I use Nigerian food specifically as a tool of protest or interrogation.” Wey explained. “Folks would come up to the store and I would sort of make sure that they wanted to get the food first. So, we had agreed that they wanted food. And then I would ask them what they knew about racial wealth disparity.”
In New Orleans, Black, Latinx, and Asian populations have lower incomes that those populations nationwide, while NOLA’s white population has higher incomes. Way said most people had a good idea about current wealth gaps. After a discussion about national and local stats, 78% of the white customers paid the $30. Some customers also offered larger tips while others negotiated prices.
The pop-up was open for a month and had a total of 62 customers. The sums earned at the end of the month were given to people of color who purchased lunch. Its name, Saartj, was inspired by Saartji Baartman — a Black South African woman who was exploited for having what was considered an unusual body.