Chef, writer and activist Tunde Wey is taking the pop-up dinner beyond just a meal — he is making the experience a conversation about community, race, wealth and privilege.
Wey, who is Nigerian-born and lived in Detroit for years before establishing a second home in New Orleans, was recently profiled in Civil Eats about his lunch stall, Saartj. The stall's name comes from Saartjie Baartman, a black South African who was brought to Europe and objectified as a specimen in wealthy homes.
At the stall, which operated in New Orleans during the month of February, guests ordered their food, then Wey gave a presentation about racial wealth disparity in America. "At the end of his speech," writes Korsha Wilson for Civil Eats, "Wey presents his guests with two options: White customers can either pay $12 for lunch or the suggested price of $30. Black customers are charged $12 and also given the option to collect the $18 paid by a white patron as a way to redistribute wealth."
Now Wey is bringing Saartj to Detroit in May as a dinner series. The same principle will apply: the cost of your meal depends on your level of privilege. Because of this, before purchasing a ticket to the event, diners must first fill out a survey that asks your age, race, gender, postal code, education, employment status and other details.