A new food truck focused on Haitian cuisine is about to hit the streets of Boston.
The truck, called Gourmet Kreyòl, has been a lifelong dream for co-owner Nathalie Lecorps. Growing up in Miami, Lecorps discovered her passion for cooking by spending time at Gourmet Creole, a Haitian restaurant that her parents owned and operated for more than two decades.
“I loved being there,” she said, remembering Saturdays spent helping out at the restaurant. “I loved how happy people were just sitting around eating and enjoying time with their family and friends. I loved being a part of that process. After working there, I envisioned myself actually taking over my parents’ business.”
Life had other plans, though. Her parents divorced, and Lecorps entered the medical field, where she worked for 12 years before moving to Boston in 2018 at the urging of her cousin, Karyn Glemaud.
Gourmet Kreyòl owners Nathalie Lecorps, left, and Karyn Glemaud.
Now, Lecorps and Glemaud are starting a new chapter: Gourmet Kreyòl launches the week of April 19. The name is a nod to Lecorps’s original family restaurant, but the new concept is a Haitian food truck, which they said is the first of its kind in Boston. Once the truck debuts, it will operate two days a week, leaving the weekends open for special events and catering. Lecorps and Glemaud are considering a few locations around Boston, but are leaning toward Jamaica Plain, Ashmont, or the South End.
Nailing down the food truck’s menu was a compromise between its two founders.
“I’m really trying to be cognizant of finances and how we can scale up,” said Glemaud, who was born and raised in Boston and is currently an MBA student at Babson College. “Typically a food truck menu is a simpler, more portable menu. Nathalie and I would go back and forth, because she wants to serve everything. But I got her to scale back and think about, you know, let’s keep the menu pretty simple but keep the classic, true Haitian dishes, and then as we scale up maybe we can add more to it.”
For now, the menu is set to include griot, a traditional fried pork dish on a bed of rice, as well as légume vegetab — mixed vegetables that are typically stewed with beef, but are given a vegan twist at Gourmet Kreyòl. Chicken is served two ways: fried (poul fri) and stewed in sauce (poul nan sòs). Sides include red beans and rice, fried green plantains, french fries, and a beet and potato salad.
Before diving into the food truck world, Lecorps refined her cooking skills by hosting a supper club through the Woburn Public Library, where she taught attendees how to make dishes from her childhood. She said that being back in the kitchen “lit a fire” in her, and the positive feedback she received from the class led to catering gigs, which Gourmet Kreyòl will continue to offer when the truck is not on the streets.
The decision to start the business as a food truck instead of a brick-and-mortar restaurant was reinforced by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think for Nathalie, she always envisioned a physical restaurant like her parents,” Glemaud said. “I had to push and convince her to not go that route because of all the overhead expenses of owning a restaurant or renting a restaurant space. … I thought [the food truck] was a great opportunity. When you see how the restaurant industry was so affected by COVID-19, it kind of just validated my thoughts.”
While Gourmet Kreyòl gets ready to launch, diners can keep tabs on the truck’s upcoming locations by following the company on Instagram.
“One of the things that Nathalie and I were always talking about as we built our business is this idea of serving the community,” Glemaud said. “It’s an honor to bring something unique to the city — not only to celebrate the Haitian culture, but to also introduce the culture to Boston in a unique way.”
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