Kansas City businesses should utilize every resource at their disposal to build stronger brands, said Israel England, owner and operator of KC Cajun.
“I’m branching out,” England said with confidence as he detailed his coming venture — adapting his KC Cajun catering service into a food truck.
“There is so much more room to improve, grow your company, grow your brand and just get out in front of people,” the Jackson, Mississippi native added, discussing the allure of food trucks.
The business currently operates from rented commercial kitchen space at the Ennovation Center in Independence — a 28,000 square foot business development incubator — where he’s pushed his catering service to evolve from concept to reality. It’s an achievement he credits, in part, to the support system provided by the center and its entrepreneurship enabler Xander Winkel.
England detailed his experience at the Ennovation Center during the Aug. 9 KC Coworking Day celebration, where he also provided catering services to hungry event-goers.
When he isn’t slicing, dicing, or sautéing, the entrepreneur walks the halls of Truman Medical Center where he works as a clinical lab scientist, he said. England builds the KC Cajun brand at night and on weekends.
Pulling double duty is the harsh reality of building a small business, he said.
“My main focus is the growth of the company … whatever I’ve got to do I’ll do,” England said.
Stepping onto the food truck scene might widen exposure for KC Cajun, but the move doesn’t come without risk, he admitted. England is confident his Cajun-fusion cuisine will hold its own against a heavily saturated market of competing food trucks, he said.
“The food truck really is day-to-day, getting out there, meeting people — that’s what I really enjoy the most, you know what I mean?,” he said. “So I’m really trying to find a good mix: the culture, the cuisine, the jazz — those are things I wanted to tie in here.”
Unique menu offerings could also help set KC Cajun apart from its competition, England said. Among them? A bayou basic: fried alligator.
“We marinate it overnight, we do buttermilk and then we do basil and break down those proteins and then fry it,” England explained as he shared his method for perfectly cooked gator. “Usually [prepared alligator] is either chewy or it barely has any alligator in it … my brand is not that.”
After years of searching, England said, he’s excited to have realized his passion.
“This is what I dream, eat, sleep, and die man,” he said.
A KC Cajun food truck could be rolling onto the streets of Kansas City as early as next year.