The James Beard Rising Star winner Kwame Onwuachi’s memoir has been picked up by production company A24 and Lakeith Stanfield is set to play the chef.
Stanfield, known for his roles in Atlanta and Sorry to Bother You is also on board as Executive Producer for A24 who have had huge hits recently with the likes of Midsommar, Lady Bird, and The Favourite.
Notes on a Young Black Chef, written by Onwuachi and Joshua David Stein, follows the chef’s journey from rocky upbringing in the Bronx, to when he was uprooted as a teenager to go and live in Nigeria and his return to the United States where he began to pursue his dream of a career in the top echelons of the world of fine dining.
As a youth, Onwuachi’s mother realised he was hanging with the wrong crowd and decided to send him back to Nigeria to live with his grandfather to teach him about life in Africa and how lucky he was to have the opportunities afforded him as an American. Onwuachi said in an interview with Fine Dining Lovers, “she sent me to Nigeria to live, to learn to respect and also to understand where I came from, my culture, give me a different set of values… I went from playing Playstation to doing my homework by a kerosene lamp.”
The memoir also chronicles the difficulties Onwuachi faced as a young black chef trying to crack the world of fine dining and the racism he claims to have experienced while working at Per Se and Eleven Madison Park.
Other important scenes in the film will include the devastating closure of his first tasting restaurant Shaw Bijou and his appearance on season 13 of Top Chef. No doubt the film’s ending is already written as a happy one as he went on to win the James Beard Rising Star Award for his work at Kith and Kin Washington D.C.’s InterContinental Hotel and the international acclaim received for his memoir.
As far as Hollywood scripts go Notes From a Young Black Chef has it all. Triumph over diversity, cultural contrast, racism and the courage of believing in your dream and achieving it through hard work and talent. With A24’s already established production and distribution credentials it could become one of the defining chef biopics of our time.