by Ashlie Hughes photos by Kate Russell courtesy of Meow Wolf
Driven by Santa Fe’s shortage of Cajun food and a passion for Southern flavors and culinary traditions, Louisiana native Eliot Chavanne spent many months trying to persuade Vince Kadlubek, CEO of the immersive art collective Meow Wolf, that the venue needed its own food truck. Chavanne was also convinced that an on-site food truck could provide desperately needed late night sustenance for attendees of Meow Wolf’s live music shows.
This week, Chavanne’s vision comes to life with the grand opening of Trinity Kitchen. The inspiration for the name stems from the Cajun “trinity” of ingredients: onions, celery, and green bell peppers. When finely chopped and sautéed, the trinity creates the base for many Louisiana favorites such as jambalaya and gumbo.
Chavanne says, “It’s just a really unique cuisine…and something that I definitely want to see grow out of the South and familiarize people with.”
After receiving the green light and funding from Meow Wolf, Chavanne began the daunting task of designing the truck. He soon realized that he needed a partner.
Enter Connor Black. Buddies for nearly 17 years, Black was living in Louisiana when Chavanne offered him a position, asking Black to move to Santa Fe sight unseen to embark on a culinary adventure.
The two childhood friends have been hard at work ever since. From finding a local bakery to make French bread to their specifications, perfecting the roux for the gumbo, connecting seafood suppliers from New Orleans to local suppliers in New Mexico, and even choosing a food truck that will comfortably fit Chavanne’s tall frame, the two seem to be thoroughly enjoying the task at hand. “We work very well together and have the same flavors in our head,” Black says.
Both Chavanne and Black bring their own unique food industry experiences to the plate. Chavanne’s interest in cooking was sparked in high school, where he was enrolled in a culinary program. He later worked for his cousin’s catering company baking breads and pastries.
Chavanne eventually transitioned to sous chef at the Mabry House, a traditional French restaurant located in Shreveport. More recently, he has worked for Whole Foods stores in both Santa Fe and New Orleans.
Black has hotel and restaurant experience and worked with a catering company where he assisted with prepping events and prepared meals. He also spent time at a meat and seafood grocery that taught him invaluable skills in butchering and working with fish.
Chavanne loves making cured meats and has an affinity for slow cooking. He is especially excited about the high quality pork they are sourcing from Kyzer Farm in Albuquerque that will be smoked in Trinity Kitchen’s very own smoker, located on the truck’s side porch.
For the opening menu, expect traditional Cajun offerings ranging from smoked chicken and sausage gumbo featuring the truck’s house-made andouille sausage, crawfish étouffée, a pulled pecan-smoked pork po’ boy and a fried gulf oyster po’boy, fried chicken and waffles, and even beignets.
Trinity Kitchen’s grand opening is scheduled for Friday, May 26. The truck is located on Rufina Street, in the parking lot outside of Meow Wolf and will be open 10am – 8pm six days a week (closed on Tuesdays). During the venue’s live shows, the food truck will offer later hours to accommodate concertgoers.