Dominica-born food truck business owner in the United States, Gaflie William, has recently been attracting some positive media attention.
William is the owner of RiRi’s Caribbean Kitchen, a food truck business based in San Antonio, Texas. His business was recently featured in a story on Kens 5 Eyewitness News, a CBS affiliate in that city.
William, 33, originally from Salisbury currently resides in San Antonio, Texas. He moved to the US in 2008.
During an interview with Dominica News Online (DNO) he said his business has been in operation for eleven months and is run by himself and his youngest brother, 16 year-old Arthbert.
” I do the cooking and orders and he handles customers and payment. I also have two other event-based employees for bigger events such as festivals and concerts,” William explained.
He also served in the US army from 2009 for twelve years as an Automated Logistical Specialist but lost his first job after leaving the military due to COVID-19.
So the unemployed William struck out on his own, and although he had never worked in a commercial kitchen, he decided to create and build his own brand in the food business.
“I always loved to cook and realized that there was nothing quite like what I offer in this city, so I took advantage,” Williams revealed pointing out that food was a means of bringing his family together while growing up and that he had learned by watching his grand mother, aunts and mother.
He also spoke of his “keen interest” in cuisines from other parts of the world with YouTube and cookbooks providing avenues to help him learn other recipes and methods.
“I do not like to restrict myself in the kitchen. I stepped out on faith and utilized savings to start my business. The pandemic provided [an] opportunity for us,” Williams noted. “We are a Mobile Food Unit, so people would not have to leave their neighborhoods; we would come to them. They could order and pick up their food while maintaining social distancing in a safe outdoor environment while traditional restaurants were shutting their doors due to lockdowns.”
And although he says his service has been well received by the community, William points out that the Caribbean community is very small in San Antonio, so a lot of people were skeptical about trying something completely different.
“We gradually began changing the menu to fit the demographic of the people we were serving. We introduced fusion items with that great Caribbean taste, while maintaining our Dominican vibe. We began to rotate our menu, so it changes based on event and location,” he said.
The food truck also serves some Dominican originals such as bakes and saltfish, pelau, brown stew plates and smoked meat red beans or lentils soup.
Riri’s Caribbean Kitchen is working to maintain growth, build their network, and brand. They intend to add other locations to their ‘popup’ list soon and are currently working with bars, breweries, clubs, lounges and homeowner associations.
The video of Kens 5 Eyewitness News story on RiRi’s Caribbean Kitchen can be viewed at this link: https://youtu.be/g3VlE6d74VY