Nigeria, Feast and Famine

On 10 June, the World Food Programme UK (WFP) and OmVed Gardens hosted their latest instalment of The Chef’s Table, “Nigeria, Feast and Famine”. OmVed Gardens is an urban green-scape in North London. It is a sustainable environment for people to reconnect with nature through food and creativity. OmVed Gardens partners with the UN World Food Programme on events to highlight disparities worldwide and to speak about the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Profile picture of Chef Arthur Potts Dawson
Arthur Potts Dawson @OmvedGardens

The focus of the ‘Feast and Famine’ cook-along was on the unfolding food crisis in Nigeria. Introduced by British WFP Chef-Advocate Arthur Potts Dawson, the event highlighted the rising food prices and devastating conflict faced by Africa’s richest nation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chi Lael, WFP Communications Officer for Nigeria joined the event from Abuja. Chi explained that the conflict has led to the displacement of 7 million people who do not know where their next meal will come from. The number of people experiencing food poverty in Nigeria in 2021 is reaching levels found in 2016 when the country was on the cusp of famine. Chi described a situation in which many uprooted people were in IDP camps and entirely dependent on WFP for food. Chi described a situation in which many uprooted people were in IDP camps and entirely dependent on WFP for food.

Reaching out to 1.8 million people

Profile picture of Chi Lael
Chi Lael, WFP Nigeria

WFP had been assisting people in more rural parts of Nigeria but since the pandemic hit there has been increased demand in urban communities. One such place is Makoko in Lagos, the world’s largest floating slum, where food poverty has become more widespread. In addition to food, WFP is delivering pre-paid top up cards to support these urban communities in the fight against famine. The use of cash support and food vouchers helps to integrate internally displaced people with the host community since it allows them to purchase fresh food products from vendors and markets.


Nigerian fish and chips

Sharing his recipe for Nigerian fish and chips, live from Lagos, was Gbubemi Fregene also known as ‘Chef Fregz’. The recipe consisted of seasonal Nigerian ingredients and a fish bought in the morning from the local market. Chef Fregz spoke about the hopes of Nigerian people in the face of the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Profile picture of Chef Fregz
Gbubemi Fregene, ‘Chef Fregz’

“The WFP’s work is very key. We know there is a problem. I want to do my part to help the millions of people that are hungry. Nigerian culture is about “making it happen”.

During the event, the audience learned that Nigeria is a country rich in food culture with staples like pepper soup, jollof rice and egusi soup.

With his recipes, Chef Fregz hopes he can demonstrate the delights of Nigerian cuisine and receive global recognition for its national dishes. According to Chef Fregz his Nigerian fish and chip recipe was inspired by the concept of fish & chips in the UK, but with a warning to reduce the number of chillies if you are not used to very spicy food!

Chef Fregz Fish and Chips

Chef Freg'z Fish and Chips dish

                  Recipe and Method


     1 medium white snapper or any white fish

                     Marinade for fish:

                      6 medium chilies

                         1 knob ginger

                         2 yellow chilies

                                                                           4 cloves garlic

2 tsp mushroom powder seasoning

1 cup shallots

1 tsp fermented locust bean powder Sea salt and white pepper to taste (substitute: Shrimp paste)

1/4 cup vegetable oil Efirin Emulsion (sauce)

1 cup Efirin (substitution: 1.5 cups even mix of fresh oregano and basil)

1 tsp baking soda Salt to taste Black pepper to taste

2 cloves Garlic

1 cup olive or vegetable oil

1/2 cup lightly toasted cashews

Sweet Potatoes or plantains to serve


 Marinade the fish

  • Add all the ingredients for the fish marinade into a blender. Blend it almost smooth.
  • Cover the fish with the marinade. Rub into the scored cervices. Allow to marinade for 20 minutes. Prepare Emulsion
  • Blanch your Efirin leaves in hot water with the baking soda and cool in ice cold water. Next, Take out of the water once cooled.
  • Add the Efirin leaves, half the oil, the garlic, seasonings and cashews and blend until smooth.
  • Add a cube of ice so as not to heat the emulsion too much. Grill the fish
  • Place the fish onto a baking tray and place under a preheated grill at 200ᴼc for 12 minutes or till cooked through. Serve
  • Once the fish is done, drizzle the emulsion over it.
  • Serve with roasted sweet potatoes and fried/roasted plantains

To receive updates on future Chef’s Table events like ‘Nigeria, Feast and Famine’ follow the WFP-UK on twitter and sign up to OmVed Gardens newsletter.

To help families around the world: download the award-winning ShareTheMeal fund-raising app and help families around the world.

Latest news