Saturday, February 24, 2018
Black Entrepreneur

Former Gang Members Used Instagram To Grow Booming Catering Business

Trap Kitchen Former Gang Members

Malachai Jenkins and Roberto Smith at one point would’ve never saw eye-to-eye. Both LA natives pledged their allegiance to rival gangs, Jenkins a Crip and Smith a member of the Bloods. But after years of gang banging, Jenkins grew tired of the dangerous life.

“All money isn’t good money, Jenkins said. “[Selling drugs] worked for me for a little while until it started to get me into trouble, so I had to find something legit to do.”

A mutual friend introduced Jenkins to Smith and the two became fast comrades. Jenkins then enrolled in the famed culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, and from there things began to change. Upon finishing his courses, Jenkins, who also goes by the name Chef Spanky, began cooking meals and posting the finishing product on Instagram. Soon, people started placing orders and slowly, their catering business Trap Kitchen LA was birthed.

“The gang stuff, the shootings, now that I’m in this kitchen, I don’t go through none of that,” Smith said.

How they grew their business is what is clever and genius.

The way it works is Jenkins puts the daily menu on Instagram and people then place their orders. The men make everything from the simple yet comforting chicken and waffle,s to the popular and more decadent $25 Pineapple Friday dish which is made up of King Crab, lobster, jumbo shrimp and salmon over white rice covered in Teriyaki Sriracha sesame seeds and green onions placed inside an actual pineapple. Whatever your stomach desires, the gentlemen of Trap Kitchen LA will serve you.

Instead of an expensive buildout of a building and a long process to get started, the two just started producing and picked up steam.

Is there a less expensive, creative way that you can use to get your business off the ground with the tools you already have at your disposal and some hard work?

Congrats to these two gentleman and continued success.

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  1. Linda Ibrahim April 8, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks guys for good representation!!

  2. Ann Ingram Johnson April 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Absolutely awesome…I’m so proud of you guys..

  3. Nana April 20, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Wonderful. Thanks a lot

  4. Jazmine April 20, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Much Respect to Malachai and Roberto! Trap Kitchen LA, that name is fire. The food creations sound delicious. If I am ever in LA & yal got some vegetarian/vegan options, I am there otherwise I will have to just bring a friend and enjoy the yummy smells!

    Wishing yal an abundance of success.

    – One Love

  5. Harold Welch April 22, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    We all have something to give back to society in some form is just a matter of tapping into the creative side and let the passion flow

  6. Lynda M Otvos June 30, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Fabulous idea and superb execution of a great enterprise. Best of luck…. come on m up to the SF Bay Area and let us support you.

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