A new day, a new reminder that Nigerian food is king. And any Nigerian worth their salt will tell you that Nigerian street food is even greater. The Vendy Awards is an annual street food competition that determines the best street food vendors in New York City. Since 2005, the awards has celebrated excellent street food and the hardworking people who make them who are, more often than not, disrespected.
This year, a Nigerian street vendor won the Vendy Cup. Godshelter Oluwalogbon and his wife Bisola run DF Nigerian, a food truck in East New York, Brooklyn. Godshelter was born in Ghana and grew up in Nigeria, but he immigrated to the US in 2001 at the age of 25. And while working various restaurant gigs, he started catering for members of his church.
After ten years of catering, he started selling meals out of the back of his car outside the Nigerian embassy in midtown (if this isn't product-market fit, I don't know what is). Two years ago, he opened DF Nigerian food truck, and recently signed a lease on a restaurant.
Vendy Awards winners are chosen by attendees as well as a panel of celebrity judges that includes chefs, television personalities and city officials. Godshelter's DF Nigerian won from a category that included Big Brother’s Delicious Food (Chinese food cart), Yolanda’s Tamales (Mexican tamale cart), Anton’s Dumplings (Russian-style dumplings truck) and Adel’s No. 1, which serves Middle Eastern delicacies, fully Halal of course.
The awards ceremony serves as a fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project, a membership-based non-profit organization that stands up for vendors’ rights while providing legal and small-business services. The Vendy Awards is doing a great job shining a spotlight on people who are mostly overlooked for their contributions to society. And congratulations to Godshelter! It's a well deserved win in my opinion, because his menu looks lit!