Tunde Wey: This chef is an artist shifting our focus beyond just food.

There are many times when I will set out to try and distill via words why someone’s event is worth your time. This is never truer than when considering the event: Culinary Conversations Meetup featuring Chef Tunde Wey.

As I looked at the calendar with this event circled, I knew that I would have to cover the arrival of Tunde Wey, but I just wasn’t sure where to start as he defies so many definitions.  

Wey is truly a modern artist who works as a chef illuminating his love of food as a platform to shine a light on a multitude of racial injustices still prevalent in American culture. I must admit that even with my knowledge of Wey’s path (he has written for RG’s sister publication, Model D), I would be challenged to entice you with the limited space we have to showcase this event because of his complex and necessary work. 

Wey, while in Grand Rapids for this Grand Rapids Downtown Market Meetup produced in collaboration with Start Garden, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, and Michigan State University Extension, will speak about a variety of issues including racial inequality, wealth disparity, and the struggles he faces as a Black chef and business owner.

“For decades we have made food spaces — at least dining spaces — exempt from critical conversations of race and equality,” said Wey. “Food spaces embody the sort of structural inequalities that exist in the larger community, and they contribute to those inequities as well. It is incumbent on all of us to address the injustices that we see in all the spaces as they exist.”

And lucky for us, last week a national publication, GQ, released what I believe to be a very good look at the work of this incredible artist who is shifting our attention to areas via practices we all engage in every single day. 

To read this incredibly insightful look at this artist who works with food, please read “The Provocations of Chef Tunde Wey” by Brett Martin. This in-depth piece will help prepare your mind for this powerful Meetup that is sure to rock the world of all those who will venture to our Grand Rapids Downtown Market for its latest Culinary Conversations.

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