Immigrants who hail from different parts of the world come to the United States to pursue their idea of the American Dream. It isn’t difficult to encounter immigrant stories involving some form of persecution or extreme cases of poverty. For a lot of undocumented immigrants, residence in the United States can be the best way for them to carve out some form of reprieve from their challenging backgrounds. Tunde Wey joins the swarm of immigrants who come to the United States each year to realize their dreams. Wey’s story isn’t different from that of other immigrants but his experiences capture the challenges and unexpected rewards of being an undocumented immigrant in the United States.
Tunde Wey’s story starts in Nigeria. At the age of 16, Wey’s parents send him to the United States in hopes that Wey will become a doctor. Wey takes up science but the academic life proves to be far from rewarding for him. 15 years after he arrived in the United States and a string of college majors later, Wey realizes that his life’s calling is to be a cook. Wey abandons his academic career to pursue his ambitions of being a cook. Devoid of any formal training in the culinary arts, Wey begins to develop a cooking style culled from YouTube videos, experiences shared with his family in Nigeria, and a home grown gusto for well prepared Nigerian food.
Wey’s journey led him to a brief professional stint in a Detroit restaurant called Revolver. While his time in Revolver was fleeting, he was able to develop the idea of putting up a series of Nigerian pop-up eating events during his tenure. Emboldened by this idea, Wey hopped on a greyhound bus and began cooking his way through a good portion of the East Coast. The dinner events that Wey puts up in each place that he visits is named after his birthplace in Nigeria, Lagos. Wey began to gradually build a reputation in the various food circles of the East Coast. Now, each Lagos event is packed with diners eager to get a taste of Wey’s distinctive way of preparing West African dishes.