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Tired of all the negative news about Black men in America? Here’s a story that will make you smile.

In South Central Los Angeles, a catering service started by two former rival gang members is helping create peace on their streets.  Malachi Jenkins, an ex-Crip, and Roberto Smith an ex-Blood, started Trap Kitchen LA in 2013 after the two-met through a mutual friend and agreed that it was time to quit the streets, FOX 11 reported

But how did cooking become their calling?

Prior to Trap Kitchen LA, Jenkins, aka “Chef Scrappy” was a trained chef, attending the prestigious Le Cordon Blue, he started posted images of his gourmet cuisine on Instagram. From there, folks starting calling him to order his meals. And from their catering business was born boasting the tagline, “five star restaurant meals without the five-star prices.”

Jenkins told Fox 11 that he got addicted to being a chef and wanted to share his food with his community. “It just spread like wildfire, so I just kept doing it.”

And doing it they are. They serve a range of cuisine from chicken and waffles, King Crab Jumbo, surf and turf, BBQ pork chops and their famous pineapple bowls. And the demand is definitely there. Smith told Vice, “We go through around 30 to 40 pounds of meat a day, and we have customers who come back day after day.”

And looking at these pictures, we can see why Trap Kitchen is so popular among LA residents, including Tyrese, Rev. Run, The Game and other celebrities.

Michelle Tauboo told Fox 11 that she orders  from Trap Kitchen regularly because the food is not only good with it’s “hood flavoring,” but because she is proud of the strides Smith and Jenkins are making. “I am inspired by a group of young men who would do this to support their families,” she said.

Most important for Smith, just being part of this business helps him stay out of trouble. “The gang stuff, the shootings, now that I am just sitting in this kitchen, I don’t go do none of that,” he said.

As their business grows, they aim to hire more local men who want a new way of life, like Larry Williams who recently was released from prison and is now working for them. “They welcomed me with opened arms and just gave me this opportunity,” he said.

In the end, Jenkins wants for Trap Kitchen LA to be reminder for all brothas in Compton that gangs are not the only option. “We want to give friends from the neighborhood…just to come and give them a positive outlook on life, to show them that ‘you can make the same amount of money selling drugs, selling food.”

Thank you Trap Kitchen.


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A Lil’ Positivity: How Trap Kitchen LA Is Helping Ex-Gang Members Bring Peace To Their Streets  was originally published on