Help vegan chef Ayinde Howell bring his famed Mac and Yease to the streets of LA. Gluten-free, vegan mac, open for lunch and dinner.
Help vegan chef Ayinde Howell bring his famed Mac and Yease to the streets of LA. Gluten-free, vegan mac, open for lunch and dinner. Read more
Why a Mac and Yease truck?
I have been in the vegan food industry my entire life, from restauranteur to celebrity chef. The dish I hear the most raves about has always been my Mac and Yease. Several years ago, at a Superbowl pop-up event in Brooklyn, party-goers actually showed up with tupperware hoping to take home any Mac not plated up. While I can't share the recipe (It's a long held family secret - more on that later) I can share my Mac to all of Los Angeles by truck. But I can't do it alone!
Why I need you.
I need your help because I want to make this happen with no strings attached. This is my first venture back into the owner/operator portion of the food industry, and it's been a few years. I'm nervous, but I want to bring what I’ve learned as a professional and personal chef on the road, and to you. But before I can do that, I need your support. What I can give you in return, aside from amazing Mac and Yease, is my expertise, my talent, my food, my swag, my eternal love and appreciation. So check out the rewards!
Mac & Yease... A brief history.
My great Grandmother Mary Fluker from St Stephens Alabama used to make baked Mac & Cheese for my father and his family on Sundays for dinner. After going vegan, my father missed the Mac so much he tried to reinvent it. He experimented, a lot...At first, no lie, it was kind of gross, but it got better and better. Eventually, it filtered through my mother and sisters, and then it became a staple. I got a hold of the recipe, tweaked it then sold it by the bucket in my first cafe, Hillside Quickies Vegan Sandwich Shop. I took it on the road with me when I moved to NYC, featured it in my pop-up restaurants, and now it’s my go-to dish. I shamelessly take it to parties when I want to get new people to like me. That cute girl I have my eye on? I wait for her to compliment the Mac, and then I pounce!
After 15+ years in the food/hospitality business, I have been carefully plotting my next move. It came to me on the way to the airport. I was leaving home again for what seemed like the umpteenth time this year (2013). As a chef, I had a stellar year. I traveled with a pop star and stayed in 4 star hotels all the while ironically dreaming of my own bed. Maybe it's my old age (wink), but I have begun to crave stillness and routine. I always found that in a kitchen. I looked into a restaurant spaces here in LA, but seeing as I've only been living here a year, everyone’s like "hey who’s the new kid? Come back in 10 years." Having a food truck would be the ideal way to ease into my new city’s restaurant scene. Originally, I wanted about 10 menu items. “That’s a lot” my mom told me. Yes, I still get advice from my mother. She said try two or three. I thought against it, but put It in my back pocket anyway
So anyway I’m driving to the airport. I just dropped off a tray of Mac to a holiday party and my car smells like it, which was bumming me out because I didn’t even eat any! Then, light bulb! The food truck, the LA food scene, the convo with my mom… All signs pointed laser beams at Mac & Yease truck! It was one of the most A-ha!/Duh /#facepalm moments I've had in awhile. It collided with such clarity I said “thank you” out loud. Followed by, "I’ll goeth forth to Kickstarter."
We plan to cover Los Angeles county with the best vegan Mac & Yease around! I will start with the truck, an aggressive schedule and exact location plan. We will operate for lunch 7 days a week 10am-3pm, with dinner 6-10, and a late night 4th meal service on Friday and saturday. Sundays, I will add my famous Brooklyn waffle brunch. Mac & waffles is THE BEST hangover food ever. We will also be one of the only food trucks to offer delivery. In the busiest restaurant I have helmed as executive chef, we averaged 200 + covers on a good lunch. We have goal of averaging 275 covers a day, 365.
Why so aggressive?
Why not? I believe in the product, and I know people want it. Grandma Mary knows it too. You may be thinking: "That’s a lot of Mac Ayinde, are you sure you will be able to meet the demand?" Preparing for maximum success is the last thing most people think about when launching a venture, but I've learned from experience. Under the current plan, we will rent a truck for one year. Once this truck is successful, there is an expansion plan for more trucks and a brick and mortar here in LA.
It's my greatest pleasure as a an entrepreneur to be able to give back to my community. With the Mac & Yease truck I can give jobs to my some of virtual staff who have been contributing to iEG for years.
Risks and challenges
Every business has its risks, and this will be no different. I plan to use my 15+ years in the restaurant and hospitality industry to be fluid with anything life, politics or pop-culture can throw at me. In 1999 I opened my first cafe, and by the time I got a good clientele, 9/11 hit and people stopped going out at all. By the time I weathered that storm, the Atkins diet gained massive popularity and no one wanted to eat bread. I owned a sandwich shop concept. I adapted, and that business was open and profitable for more than 12 years.
Breaking into a new market where no one "knows you" can cause a hold-up on some things, which is all political. I have researched the health department and LA county food truck association. I plan to be as proactive as possible, putting out fires before they start and remaining loose enough to stick and move when necessary.
- (35 days)