The festival's energetic social media campaign promised an endless sea of pizza, with an exotic variety of toppings and flavors, enjoyed in luxurious surroundings. Even better, the event would be held simultaneously with the NYC Burger Festival, which would have "mountains of French Fries, Oceans of Ketchup and Waterfalls of Beer." Over 1,000 people paid between $55 and $150 for tickets, with some even driving in from out of state. So they were very surprised when they arrived to find a couple of tents in a "sketchy parking lot," where staff were "taking cold pizzas out of delivery boxes" and cutting them into tiny slivers. It ultimately emerged that Osekre had ordered a mere eight cheese-and-onion pizzas for an event attended by hundreds. Eight pizzas! The panicking staff were left with no choice but to desperately try for some kind of bread-and-fishes miracle, dividing the pizzas up among the guests.
Remaining cool under pressure, Osekre ordered a few more pizzas and attempted to defend the event, issuing a rambling statement that "It's exciting when food arrives every 30-45 minutes--and so many boxes of pizzas and it's fresh and it's hot and people see it and they are sharing." Which didn't really fly, since a quick check revealed that he was also responsible for 2016's disastrous Boston African Food Festival. That one promised all sorts of Instagram-ready treats, including private food tastings on luxury water taxis ferrying guests across the river. The food lovers of Boston turned out in droves, only to find the whole festival was some trestle tables set up inside a literal greenhouse on the hottest day of the year. The few staff members then started selling off water bottles at extortionate prices, because somebody's gotta be the Immortan Joe in that situation.
That whole festival was funded by defrauding one of Boston's top African chefs, who signed on to support the festival without realizing she'd end up on the hook for most of the charges. It was also the sequel to Boston's 2015 AfrikCan Festival, which was cancelled at the last minute. And Osekre wasn't even done, holding yet another food event in Washington last year. This one appeared to have no employees whatsoever, as multiple guests described confronting bar staff only to discover that they were actually also customers. They had simply become so confused at the lack of service that they just started pouring everyone drinks themselves. Somebody eventually appeared in the kitchen and cooked some jollof rice, but reports suggest it was just another guest taking matters into their own hands. The nicest review included the phrase "this is a shit show." Osekre is currently facing fraud charges. Let's hope they don't let him run the prison cafeteria.