A popular Cajun-inspired food truck recently transitioned from a mobile operation to permanent space in Carson last month. Chef C’s Smhokin Pot opened on April 24 with an expanded Southern-inspired menu, where standards like sweet tea and gumbo accompany the lobster mac and cheese, wings with whiskey sauce, and plant-based jambalaya (which is sure to be a hit in LA).
Owner Calvin Alexander left behind a long career in healthcare to launch Chef C’s Smhokin Pot food truck in 2017. The former respiratory therapist had a passion for cooking, and started by making food for his coworkers, which led to pop-ups at festivals and events. “Respiratory [therapy] was good,” says Alexander. “I worked with kids in pediatrics. But it’s great when you can have your own business.”
Those who follow Chef C’s will notice the different menu, simply because dishes like grits are far easier to execute in a bigger kitchen. Alexander also took Hawaiian garlic shrimp and put a Cajun spin on it with an extra helping of lobster. He serves gumbolaya, a mashup between gumbo and jambalaya, along with smothered fries, rice, and a kale salad.
Over the years, Alexander developed a following by making regular stops all over the Southland, from DTLA to Gardena or even Anaheim, where Southern staples were the draw. Now Chef C’s is stationed across the street from LA Galaxy’s Dignity Health Sports Park stadium, and California State University Dominguez Hills, inside the former Louisiana Hometown Seafood space. There’s limited indoor seating for now.
With the addition of Chef C’s, the South Bay and Long Beach have expanded their Louisiana-food footprint, including Long Beach’s year-old Boujie Crab, and Fluffy’s Sno-Balls, which opened in March. Alexander is optimistic about the opening. “It’s been great, because it’s something I love to do. It’s growing and it’s been successful so far.”