Kavachi Ukegbu has been working to promote the food of her Nigerian heritage pretty much her whole life. She was inspired to action by an elementary school trauma: The school had an “international day” for which the children were encouraged to bring the food of their cultures. Ukegbu’s mother is a chef, Margaret Jason of Safari Restaurant in Houston, and she pestered her to make a Nigerian red stew to bring into class. But her teacher decided not to serve it because she didn’t know what it was; she hadn’t even bothered to ask Ukegbu.
Since then, she has been working to market her mother’s restaurant, commercialize international flavors with her company Grubido, and teach the world about the West African staple fufu and other foods of the region through her educational project, the Art of Fufu.
In this video, Ukegbu discusses her own work and what she thinks needs to be done to promote African cuisines better.
She also discusses the recent demonstrations focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, how they brought her community together, and her hopes that, this time, some real change might come about.
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