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Lakeith Stanfield (L): Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for EW. Kwame Onwuachi (R): Courtesy of Kith/Kin.

A Film Adaptation Based On Nigerian-Jamaican Chef Kwame Onwuachi's Memoir Starring Lakeith Stanfield Is In The Works

The remarkable journey of the 2019 Rising Chef of the Year is set to be told on the big screen.

Kwame Onwuachi, the acclaimed rising head chef of Kith/Kin, is set to have his remarkable story be developed for the big screen, Variety reports.

Onwuachi's memoir co-written with Joshua David Stein, Notes From a Young Black Chef, has been picked up by A24 and will be adapted into a feature film starring none other than Lakeith Stanfield. Randy McKinnon will pen the script based on the book.


Photo by Rey Lopez, courtesy of Kith/Kin.

The Nigerian-Jamaican takes us through his childhood living in the Bronx with his mother to launching a fine-dining restaurant at just 26-years-old in his book. In between, we learned in a 2018 interview with OkayAfrica that his mother sent him to Delta State in Nigeria to live with his grandfather, where he learned how to whip up traditional Nigerian food at 12, which had him hooked. "I hope that people can feel the soul behind my cooking and dishes," he says touching on his food at Kith/Kin. "My menu is honestly a correlation of autobiographical anecdotes."

Variety continues:

The story encompasses the extreme highs and lows of his path to becoming a chef in a mostly white, elitist industry, including financing his first catering business by selling candy on the subway, appearing on 'Top Chef,' and his first restaurant, Shaw Bijou in D.C., closing just 11 weeks after its opening.

Though there has not been a director named for the film yet, Stephen "Dr" Love will produce with Stanfield and Colin Stark as its executive producers.

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This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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