Commis Chef

Monifa Dayo decided enough was enough. The Oakland chef had toiled in kitchens for years, and she could no longer stand the insults from bosses, the hostile micro aggressions from co-workers, and the isolation as the only African-American female employee.

Since she didn’t have $400,000 to start her own restaurant, she went underground. In fall 2016, Dayo sent out an email blast announcing her new project: Monifa Dayo, a supper club experience. About 50 people showed up to that first event, and her following has swelled through word of mouth. She renovated her one-bedroom apartment to feel like an intimate restaurant full of bright colors, vintage accents, and carefully sourced California cuisine with African influences.

I worked with Dayo to produce a video and images for her successful crowdfunding campaign to finance her travels through France, Gambia, and Senegal to research for her upcoming cookbook.