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Chef and content creator Armani Bailey never imagined that selling plates in college would lead to his incredible journey and successful catering business. “I believed that it was possible, but I did not think it was possible for me,” he shares.
The culinary creative has amassed a large following on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, creating content that serves to inspire and educate. Through his business, Fat Boyz Kitchen LA (FBKLA), and his influential presence on social media, Chef Bailey highlights the rich flavors of southern cuisine while giving back to his community.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Bailey always had an appreciation for good southern cooking. “I grew up eating soul food; it is the truth!” he states resolutely. Largely self-taught, the chef credits his mother and grandmothers for his foundation in cooking, “The core of what I learned, some of those tricks and techniques, are passed down from generation to generation.”
Although cooking was always in the picture, the creative never considered it a possible career until college. In 2017, Bailey attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to study music education and business. During his time in school, he started a bible study group that would meet weekly. “An incentive for the people to come was me cooking because I was trying to host a bible study at the same time the cafeteria was open,” he explains.
As the group grew in numbers, it became increasingly difficult for the chef to keep up, leading him to start selling plates. “It grew so large that I started doing $4 Fridays because I needed to bring in some income to feed these folks,” he recalls.
It was only after a minor run-in with the campus police, smoothed over by a plate of food, that Bailey realized his business had potential. “I gave the officer some food, and the very next day he came back and said, ‘As long as we get a plate, you can keep doing what you’re doing,’ and that’s when it clicked in my mind that this could go further.”
Fat Boyz Kitchen on Tour
Today, Fat Boyz Kitchen Louisiana is a thriving catering company offering services for special occasions, corporate events and private dinners. Serving up southern fare with a Cajun twist, crowd favorites include the blackened catfish over rice, deep-fried lobster tails and a pepper-jack cheese roll with boudin sausage. With a revolving menu tailored to each client, Chef Bailey ensures a unique and personalized experience for everyone.
This year the chef and his company have also decided to take their services around the country with the FBKLA food tour, which began in January. Bailey is giving people the opportunity to enjoy the FBKLA experience through a private dinner hosted by himself and his team. “As long as it works, we’re going to keep going,” he exclaims.
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Chef Bailey is doing amazing work with his business and assures us that this is only the beginning. With the help of the food tour, the entrepreneur is expanding his outreach and providing his services on a national level.
On a local level, the Louisiana native is pouring into his community and making an impact. “We feed the homeless weekly. We have not missed a week since we’ve been in business,” he shares.
The founder also talks about what he has in store for his community in the future, “We are trying to have an annual community service event,” he beams. His goal is to create an event hosted by FBKLA that provides the community with necessary resources for health, mental health and professional development.
Leaving a Legacy
On social media, the creative continues to grow his following through motivational videos, cooking tutorials, fashion and music content. With many of his fans discovering him online, Bailey wants to make it clear that his influence goes beyond social media. “Ya’ll gonna stop limiting me to TikTok,” he jokes.
The entrepreneur wants his impact to be one of encouragement and inspiration for those watching his journey. “That’s the influence I want to have over people; to honestly be themselves and be who God designed for them to be.”
Bailey also shares some advice that he would give other young culinarians and prospective entrepreneurs, “You have to be more than talented. You have to be business minded.” He emphasizes the importance of having a plan and not rushing the process, “It is better for you to take your time and master each level than for you to rush and when you get to the mountain realize you cannot handle the altitude.”
For more information about the Food Tour and Fat Boyz Kitchen LA, you can visit the website. To learn more about Chef Armani Bailey and view his content, you can follow the creative on Instagram and Tik Tok.