Trap Kitchen, a soul food pop-up shop, was started in 2013 by Malachi ‘Chef Spank’ Jenkins, a Crip, and Roberto ‘Sous Chef News Smith, a Blood, who are best friends turned business partners.
From Compton (or Bompton), California, the two chefs have been friends for over 10 years. Being in a rival gang couldn’t break their bond, and food brought them even closer to form a rising business.
The cooking duo started small selling plates from their “trap” spot. They used Instagram to market their business and quickly grew in popularity. Their meals were always cost-efficient and enough to fill the bellies of their community.
While their menu offerings varied from enchilada pie to BBQ dinners, people mostly rave about their Pineapple Bowls. A Trap Kitchen Pineapple Bowl is a half-gutted pineapple with white rice, green onion, your choice of chicken, shrimp, or steak topped with spicy, Sriracha sauce.
Growing big enough to be featured on the Breakfast Club, the chefs have expanded their “trap” operation into two cookbooks, two food trucks in Portland, OR, and one truck currently being built for Los Angeles.
From their first customer, “the homie Yacc,” to world-renowned celebrities, everyone’s in love with this unique hustle turned business venture. The chefs have cooked for Kobe Bryant, The Roots, Martha Stewart, Common, Ice Cube, Nicki Minaj, Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dog, E-40, Kobe Bryant, Kendrick Lamar, T.I., Sza, and many more.
Trap Kitchen was recently on tour taking their delicious dishes to cities across the U.S. On Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, they made their first stop in Austin, TX.
Jumping off at 10 p.m. at Kick Butt Coffee, the late night Trap Kitchen meal gave the perfect laid-back vibe. Trap music bumped in the background as a line of hungry attendees ogled the delicious feast before them.
The Trap Kitchen team served their famous Pineapple Bowls, filled with savory chicken, shrimp, and steak at the top with white rice and Sriracha.
People hurriedly carried plates loaded with their bowls to their tables to enjoy. Premium ticket holders walked away with T-shirts and a copy of their cookbook. The Chefs mingled with tour attendees as bartenders served up cocktails.
The chefs said they wanted their visit to Austin to bring their unique, West Coast flavors to the South. They also said their overall goal is to inspire young kids to get out there “do their thing” and understand the power of entrepreneurship.
Trap Kitchen has finished their tour, but plans to come back to Austin for the next one.