While many find waking up at the crack of dawn burdensome, Greg King embraces it. King utilizes the early hours to begin preparing an array of wholesome fusion soul food.
As founder of Postcards Central American Soul Food, a mobile food truck serving the greater Los Angeles area seven days a week, King's plate is full each day.
King washes his truck in a packed commissary lot.
King humbly explains his innate desire to get up at 5:30 in the morning and start cooking. “I find that to be therapeutic,” he said, while chopping away at freshly washed collard greens.
From prepping dishes, to cleaning the truck, to picking up groceries and rushing to his designated serving location for the day, King never seems to slow down.
His undeniable work ethic, instilled from years of work at his family’s businesses, serves him well today. When he was growing up, his parents owned two restaurants.
"It definitely set a foundation for me and my brothers and... gave us a constitution for being hard workers," King said.
"I thought that there were definitely glass ceilings, and I wanted to be in control of my life and my destiny."
—Greg King, reflecting on his prior career path
Greg wasn't always a chef, though. His previous career in marketing and brand management seemed to be going just fine, but his enthusiasm began to waver amid feelings that his opportunities for growth and advancement were being stifled.
"I'm going to buy a food truck and start a business."
His moment of inspiration hit during a seminar in Los Angeles called "Aloud." It was there that he intently listened to guest speaker Roy Choi -- “recognized for starting this whole food truck industry in Los Angeles,” King said -- and other established chefs and notables within the industry.
“They were saying some things that really resonate with my spirit," he said. It was at that point, weary of returning to the “highly intensive analytical space” of marketing and brand management, that he decided to pursue something more innovative.
“Cooking is creative, and you can put your own spin on things,” King said.
With no prior food truck experience, King didn’t have a ton of insight. But rejuvenated and refocused, he began working towards his goal and started the process researching food trucks. “I found a manufacturer who could build out my truck and build a kitchen the way I wanted it done,” he said.
From there, it was full steam ahead. “About four months after that seminar, I was on the road,” King recalled.
In addition to developing Postcards' unique taste of fusion soul food, King also took the opportunity to celebrate African-American culture through the names of the dishes on the menu. Customers can choose from delicious choices inspired by Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes and many others. “I wanted to celebrate history... by pointing out some African American figures and historians that have made an impact on our lives,” King said proudly.
As King cheerfully cooks alongside his faithful employee, Monique Sutton, you could easily mistake them as relatives.
“Every once in a while we’ll have a little spat like brothers and sisters do," he said, "but for the most part, every day is a good day, and we have each other’s back.”
'That's success for me'
Despite the grueling work, the energy and passion that King exudes daily show the joy he gains in operating his truck and finally working for himself.
“I’m successful because I like what I’m doing," he said. "I’m successful because I get a chance to work with the people I want to work with. That’s success for me."