For those that are born and raised in California (Cali) will probably remember that gangs were created to protect the community; however, over these past several years gangs have gotten a bad reputation because of the drive-bys, killings of one another and innocent bystanders, as well. Despite of the bad, there is always good in between. Crip and Priu business partners, Malachi Jenkins and Robert Arturo Smith, are making an impact with their TrapKitchenLA in Compton.
“It all started when I got hired to be a personal chef for local pimps while living in Las Vegas,” Malachi “Spankihanas” Jenkins stated. “I started cooking for them after I dropped out of Le Cordon Bleu; they love rich pastas like shrimp and chicken Alfredo, and dishes like that.”
TrapKitchenLA was launched in 2013 in South Central, LA when Chef “Spank” decided to sell plates of food to his community. He received plenty of help from his closet friends, News (Sous Chef) and DJ Kev (Delivery Coordinator), and together they have created a business that is growing rapidly with each passing day.
Taking their efforts from just single plates to catering major events, they are definitely on to something.”Spankihanas” is the name that they use where you get five star restaurant meals without the five star prices. Not only are the meals affordable, but they can be delivered right to your door! Each combo includes a canned soda and range from $10 to $20.
“We go through around 30 to 40 pounds of meat a day, and we have customers who come back day after day,” Smith explains.
Creating the Kitchen saved the two of them from the streets and from getting into trouble. This is what I call inspiration. Our young brothers in the streets can look up to these two young men and realize that if these brothers can make something good for themselves despite where they come from, then anyone can.
”We went from hanging in the the clubs and messing with them girls to hanging in the kitchen and messing with food. I’m a Piru, and he is a Crip, but that doesn’t matter,” Smith said.
Jenkins was inspired to get in the kitchen after watching some his favorite TV chefs which include Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, and Guy Fieri. Some of his favorite local spots in LA include Versailles, Bossa Nova, and R & R’s Soul Food.
“I’m just a nigga who loves food and trying new food,” Jenkins stated.
The two chefs have became widely known the neighborhood for their cooking, as well as for their love of music which has given them the opportunities to cater to renowned Hip-Hip icons and to cater for Kendrick Lamer’s wedding party.
“My neighborhood has its own [music] label called BBE, so we’ve catered food for a lot of artists in the past. Snoop Dogg, The Game, Tyrese, Reverend Run, D’Angelo, Lil’ Derk, and a bunch more,” Jenkins stated.
Not only is TrapKitchen catering and giving back to the Los Angeles community, but they have also donated 5,000 water bottles to the Flint, Michigan Community. Jenkins and Smith are definitely going beyond the call of duty and beating the odds in several ways. Smith’s passion is to feed Los Angeles County and have no one go hungry; massive goal.
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