Angela Means made it in entertainment. She walked runways for Jean-Paul Gaultier and Betsey Johnson, did stand-up and opened for Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx and Sinbad, and appeared in the Nickelodeon show Cousin Skeeter and the movie Friday. (She’s Felicia.)
If you already think she sounds like a Renaissance woman just from that, check this out: She’s currently unleashing her creativity at the King’s Donuts on Crenshaw Boulevard in the Jefferson Park area of Los Angeles. Means is using the kitchen there to operate a plant-based restaurant called Jackfruit Cafe.
“All I can say is that the spirit led me. And now I have a vegan cafe in the ’hood.” That’s the short version. The longer version involves a lifetime love of cooking, a football-playing son (soon-to-be pro athletes eat so much food) and a family tragedy that jump-started Means’ interested in health.
Although she always loved to cook and enjoyed plant-based cuisine — she was vegetarian as a kid, and is now vegan — she’d never considered combining these two passions professionally until several years ago. She had stopped pursuing acting roles when her son was born so she could focus on raising him; when he got older, she started experimenting with cooking gigs. With no prior professional experience, she got hired as a personal chef and then moved on to preparing her own line of raw puddings and desserts. She started selling them at RAWkin Juice in Burbank, where she’s now a shareholder.
Last year, Means stumbled upon King’s Donuts. The space wasn’t even for rent, but she felt like it was meant to be hers. Her instincts panned out, and she opened Jackfruit Cafe on Sept. 1.
Means reports a pretty warm reception right off the bat. “People were like, ‘Oh my God, thank you. Where have you been?’” she says. “People are waking up now, watching films like What the Health. A lot of younger people are getting their older relatives to come in.”
Means describes her cuisine as soul food, and it has global influences. The Thai green curry jackfruit is rich with coconut milk and garlic and galangal. There are Jamaican jerk flavors and plays on Korean barbecue. If you’ve never had jackfruit, know that, despite the name, it doesn’t have to be sweet. When canned and brined, it’s perfect for savory dishes and shreds very much like pulled pork or crab. (There’s a cornmeal-crusted vegan fish cake on the menu that is a standout. It comes with a side of tartar sauce — vegan, of course.) You can get the jackfruit in tacos, slathered in hot sauce and slaw, or with rice and beans and collards. Prices hover around $9 for most plates.
When asked how she came up with the jackfruit concept, Means says, like so many other adventures in her life, it came to her. Now 54, she often works 13- to 14-hour days, seven days a week. (Her schedule happily fits around that of the doughnut maker, who comes in for the night just as she’s closing up.) Jackfruit Cafe is currently a one-woman show, but Means plans to bringing on prep help after the new year.
She says she couldn’t be happier. “I leave here and I can’t wait to get back. I love what I’m doing.”
2959 Crenshaw Blvd., Jefferson Park, Los Angeles, CA; (818) 694-3050, jackfruitcafe.com.
Cornelius Adewale, a doctoral student in the School of the Environment at Washington State University, has been selected to received the Bullitt Environmental Prize from the Bullitt Foundation. The prize, which comes with a $100,000 grant for continued research, is awarded to individuals who have “extraordinary potential to come powerful and effective leaders in the environmental movement.”
A native of Nigeria, Adewale’s research focuses on improving the environmental impact of agriculture. He hopes to develop methods to reduce chemical fertilizers but produce more food.
“Without food in their bellies, people have no time for anything else,” said Denis Hayes, CEO of the Bullitt Foundation. “Cornelius is working at the leading edge of research to find ways to produce more food, even as we fight climate change and dramatically reduce the use of pesticides.”
“I am trying to change the way we farm,” said Adewale.
Viola Davis has never been afraid to speak out for what’s right — from issues like sexual assault to the lack of diversity in the entertainment industry, and beyond. Now Davis is using her star power to focus on another worthy cause: childhood hunger.
As the Ambassador for the Hunger Is campaign, “The How to Get Away With Murder” star has spearheaded a campaign that has raised more than $20 million since 2014 to help provide meals to children all over the country who normally do not have enough to eat.
“The continued success of this program is not only exciting but it’s a sign of the strength our communities possess to bring about positive change,” Davis said in a press release. “Too many children go without breakfast in this country, and it’s all of our duty to work toward fixing that problem.”
A huge number of American children struggle with hunger every day. In fact, 1 out of every 6 children in America live in a household without consistent access to adequate food and 3 out of 4 K-8 teachers say they regularly see students come to school hungry, according to the Hunger Is campaign.
1 OUT OF EVERY 6 CHILDREN IN AMERICA LIVE IN A HOUSEHOLD WITHOUT CONSISTENT ACCESS TO ADEQUATE FOOD
Providing these hungry kids with even just a daily breakfast can make a huge difference. For example, students who regularly start the day with a healthy breakfast have an average 17.5% increase in standardized math scores, according to Hunger Is.
Rosalind Brewer, the former president and CEO of Sam’s Club, was announced as the new head of Starbucks on Wednesday and will continue to serve on the board of directors. “Starbucks is a culture-first company focused on performance and Roz is a world class operator and executive who embodies the values of Starbucks,” Kevin Johnson, Starbucks’ president and COO, said in a statement.
Johnson added that Brewer has been a “trusted strategic counselor” ever since she joined the board of directors in January. “Ms. Brewer has a wealth of experience in retailing, consumers and [consumer packaged goods] markets,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, told CNBC via email. “She is also used to running large, complex organization with a global focus.”
The move comes as Starbucks is experiencing lower retail sales than usual, a problem that Brewer will have to face during her tenure. “[Brewer] was instrumental in making changes at Sam’s Club to bring the retailer more in line with trends around health and wellness,” Saunders said. “She also did a lot in terms of e-commerce and multichannel, and this experience will be valuable for Starbucks.”
A fiery Michelle Obama vigorously defended the healthy eating initiative that was her biggest legacy as First Lady on Friday, telling a public health summit in Washington D.C. that something was “wrong” with an administration that did not want to give consumers nutrition information or teach children to eat healthily.
“We gotta make sure we don’t let anybody take us back,” Obama said. “This is where you really have to look at motives, you know. You have to stop and think, why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you? And why is that a partisan issue? Why would that be political? What is going on?”
In a 43-minute conversation, peppered with sarcastic remarks and veiled references to the Trump administration, Michele Obama discussed topics from life since her husband left the presidency to her Let’s Move! initiative.“Take me out of the equation — like me or don’t like me,” Obama added. “But think about why someone is okay with your kids eating crap. Why would you celebrate that? Why would you sit idly and be okay with that? Because here’s the secret: If someone is doing that, they don’t care about your kid.”
The comments were Obama’s first public remarks on the Trump administration’s assault on nutrition policy, which has already seen the delay of rules meant to reduce sodium and refined grains in school lunches and provide calorie counts on restaurant menus. The former First Lady championed many of those programs.
The First Lady was speaking at the annual summit of the Partnership for a Healthier America, an organization she helped found to extend her nutrition policies to the private sector. Her remarks were made during a conversation with Sam Kass, a longtime friend and the first executive director of her Let’s Move! program. Kass and Obama discussed a range of topics, including the Obamas’ move to a new D.C. residence and the sorts of meals Obama ate as a child. (Of life since her husband’s presidency, Mrs. Obama said: “Being former is alright.”) But by far her most pointed comments were about the recent delays to the menu-labeling rules and the changes to the school lunch program.
The former First Lady appeared to take issue with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue‘s defense of the school lunch rollbacks, which he justified in part, in his May 1 announcement, by saying many kids didn’t like the foods.“That to me is one of the most ridiculous things that we talk about in this movement — ‘the kids aren’t happy,’” Obama said. “Well you know what? Kids don’t like math either. What are we gonna do, stop teaching math?”
A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture declined to comment on Mrs. Obama’s remarks, and said that “Sec. Perdue has nothing but the utmost respect for Michelle Obama.”Obama also objected to the proposed delay of new nutrition labels that were scheduled to go into effect in 2018. The new labels would feature information about calories and added sugars more prominently, but the packaged food industry has requested the compliance deadline be pushed back until at least 2020.
“Keep families ignorant. That’s all I’m hearing,” Obama said. “You don’t need to know what’s in your food. You can’t handle that, mom. Just buy this, be quiet, spend your money — don’t ask us about what’s in your food.” The sharpness of Obama’s remarks are unusual for a former First Lady: There is an unwritten rule that they do not criticize their successors, said Kati Marton, the author of a best-selling book on presidential marriages. It’s also a shift for Obama, who tended to tread cautiously during her husband’s tenure. But Marton said the rules, such as they are, were made for different times.
“It’s impossible to compare her to any prior first ladies, because it’s impossible to compare the Trump administration to any prior one,” she said. “I think it would be a mistake for the Obamas to play by rules that Trump doesn’t play by, himself.” The past four months have seen the food industry seize onto President Trump’s anti-regulatory agenda, arguing for the delay or suspension of rules that Mrs. Obama encouraged. In recent weeks, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Grocers Association and the American Bakers Association have all cited the Trump administration’s regulatory rollback as reason to delay the menu-labelling rules and new nutrition labels.
Most kids are happy to earn a few dollars selling lemonade on the sidewalk. But not 11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer. The pre-teen entreprenuer is making a name for herself in the world of business by landing an $11 million deal with upscale grocery chain Whole Foods for her natural lemonade, which she calls BeeSweet.
Ulmer and her lemonade first came to national attention when she appeared on Shark Tank, taking home $60,000 in venture capital for her BeeSweet business. Her company’s main priority, other than making delicious lemonade, is to help save the global bee population by utilizing honey as sweetener instead of sugar.
Her Shark Tank deal is pocket change compared to what Whole Foods is offering: $11 million and shelf space in 55 Whole Foods stores across the nation. On top of that, she also has a deal with United Natural Foods to help expand her business.
But that’s still not enough for Mikaila. In addition to running her business — she does have a little help from her mother — and staying on top of her school work, Ulmer wants to visit South Africa to teach girls about entrepreneurship and starting their own businesses.
Malachai Jenkins and Roberto Smith at one point would’ve never saw eye-to-eye. Both LA natives pledged their allegiance to rival gang members, Jenkins a Crip and Smith a member of the Bloods. But after years of gang banging, Jenkins grew tired of the dangerous life.
“All money isn’t good money, Jenkins said. “[Selling drugs] worked for me for a little while until it started to get me into trouble, so I had to find something legit to do.”
Jenkins then enrolled into the famed culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, and from there things began to change. A mutual friend introduced Jenkins to Smith and the two became fast comrades. Upon finishing his courses, Jenkins, who also goes by the name Chef Spanky, began cooking meals and posting the finishing product on Instagram. Soon, people started placing orders and slowly, their catering business Trap Kitchen LA was birthed.
“The gang stuff, the shootings, now that I’m in this kitchen, I don’t go through none of that,” Smith said.
The way it works is Jenkins puts the daily menu on Instagram and people then place their orders. The men make everything from the simple and comforting chicken and waffles to the popular and more decadent $25 Pineapple Friday dish which is made up of King Crab, lobster, jumbo shrimp and salmon over white rice covered in Teriyaki Sriracha sesame seeds and green onions placed inside an actual pineapple. Whatever your stomach desires, the gentlemen of Trap Kitchen LA will serve you.