The shocks, frustrations and encouraging signs of working in food in Manchester: interview with Ngwafu Tansie

Climate change and food is on the agenda for the first time at today’s Health and Scrutiny Committee. Yesterday we published a briefing note with eight recommendations to make the Manchester  strategy for good food more ambitious, and less dependent on individuals changing their behaviour. Today we get an inside take from a Ngwafu Tansie, a Manchester chef committed to tackling climate change through food.


Hello, tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello my name is Ngwafu I am a self-trained chef also the Founder and Chef of gwafuvegan based in Manchester. As part of my business, I ensure we try to do our best to tackle climate change throughout ethos and food. gwafuvegan specializes in cooking and delivering affordable vegan West African food. We ensure to only use high-quality, sustainable produce that is locally sourced. Our number one aim is to spread our love of vegan food and our passion and love of West African food. By doing this we showcase new and exciting flavours to our ever-growing diverse community.


Throughout your work with food in Manchester over the past year, what has

  • Surprised you the most
  • Frustrated you the most
  • Encouraged you the most 

I’ve been in Manchester now for over 10 years since finishing Uni at Manchester Met and what has surprised me the most is the about of waste I see while working within the food industry! Restaurants and Café just don’t have anything in place to prevent food waste, some don’t even have food bins!  Things are changing though, organisations such as Eat Well Mcr, open Kitchen, fair share are doing their best to intercept waste food across restaurants and supermarkets. This needs to be a continuous trend!

What frustrates me the most is the lack of haste and passion to tackle food waste, food inequality across classes in Manchester and across the country. Will the increase cost of living and food prices, food is becoming less and less available for some people and that’s just a basic human right! Here at gwafuvegan we ensure to keep our food price low so its assessable to as many people as possible. Also encourage people to eat a vegan diet where possible as its more sustainable and cheaper!

What encourages me the most is talking to people who are making change and challenging me to always do better! The likes of you guys at Climate Emergency Manchester getting the word out there and educating people that change needs to happen now! – encouraging me to continue being part of that change!

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the food system in Manchester?

The biggest challenge for the food system in Manchester today is increasing food cost and availability of food for variety classes. Alongside increase gas and electric costs to cook the food. We need to continue to lobby against this so families can heat healthier without worrying about being able to pay the bills. We need to continue offering food banks and food packs to people like the organisation Bread and Butter and Milk and honey café at St peters house do to bridge the gap!

Are there any projects or ideas that deserve amplifying – within or beyond Manchester. Who and where could we learn from? 

Eat Well Mcr – intercepting food waste within Manchester restaurant scene.

Open Kitchen – intercepting food waste within catering and retail

Fare Share – intercepting food waste across multiple sectors across the UK

Bread and Butter Thing – Intercepting food waste and creating food packs for families and people who need them the most and selling them at an affordable price.

Milk and Honey café at St peters house -Intercepting food waste and creating food packs for families and people who need them the most and giving them out for free through their The Well programme.

As part of my business when I continue to grow I want to give any excess food or volunteer and help out at these organisations to ensure projects like this stick around!


Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Yes keep in touch with what we are doing over at gwafuvegan through out socials and website.

IG: @gwafuvegan


FB: @Gwafuvegan

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