Feature on local chef Victor Ejelonu

This article originally appeared on the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s website as “International Taste & Tour 2017 Participant: MyVillage-Grill” on August 31, 2017.

Victor Ejelonu’s goal for MyVillage-Grill is to marry what people know with what they don’t. This looks like taking the ingredients we’re all familiar with—chicken, fish, rice, beef—and showing people the vastness of flavor when you cook a different cuisine.

“We all have the same kind of raw material, but we prepare it in different ways,” Ejelonu says. “So rice is rice wherever you go in the world. Beef is beef wherever you go in the world. Vegetables are vegetables wherever you go in the world. It’s how you prepare it.”

Hailing from Nigeria, Ejelonu has done many things throughout his life, from building furniture to medical administration. Ejelonu says he never does anything he’s not passionate about, and right now his passion is to bring African culture and flavors to Kansas City.

“After my degree and working for all kinds of companies, I keep going back to food, food,” Ejelonu says. “It’s always something that draws me back, and it’s my most comfortable zone.”

Ejelonu recognizes that the first thing many people want to know when they visit another country or meet someone from another place is: what do they eat? That curiosity is one of the main reasons Ejelonu started MyVillage-Grill

“Every weekend people come and say, ‘Hey, we wanna come hang out. What are you cooking? What are you grilling this weekend? What are you preparing this weekend?’” says Ejelonu. “So they all get excited what I’m going to eat, what I’m going to cook. So they come in and get a taste of it. And they’re like, ‘Wow. We need more of it.’”

That elation over food is what Ejelonu loves the most.

“Food to me is that joy, that coming together, that excitement,” he says. “Or that table where everybody’s talking about how tasty it is, how spicy it is. How it makes me feel. How I want to get more of it, and I want to try some other one.”

Ejelonu also wants to bring to the Kansas City community the diversity of cuisine that exists all across Africa.

“In my country, Nigeria, we have 254 languages,” Ejelonu says. “Imagine driving from here to Raytown and they speak another language. And from Raytown to Overland Park, another language. And that’s how it plays out in Africa. We have all different kinds of meals, all kinds of varieties. And that’s just one country.”

As of now, MyVillage-Grill doesn’t have a physical location, but Ejelonu does take catering orders by phone or website and prepares the orders in a commercial kitchen that he rents. For now, he just wants the people of his community to be able to taste the excitement of African cuisines.

Ejelonu will be one of our two VIP chefs at this year’s Taste & Tour. He is bringing a few different items, one of which is his Suya beef, a sizzling, roasted stack of beef that represents several West African countries.

While MyVillage-Grill doesn’t have a physical location yet, you can order food by phone at (816)-533-5801/(913)-999-2072 or website at www.myvillage-grill.com.

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