We had the good fortune of connecting with Akeila Francis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Akeila, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I can say this about risk, in my opinion if you are passionate about anything you’ll risk it all for that thing. Risky is my middle name lol. You have to be willing to walk that line for the things you have conviction for. Something as simple to someone else as starting a food truck, the major risk in that is being a woman doing so in a male driven industry. Pushing the envelope when it comes to recipes that others in my culture deem traditional. I’m a renegade in anything I do, its just apart of who I am, makes my dishes damn good too!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’d love to tell you that I stumbled onto my creative side and it was just this amazingly high vibe story. Sometimes I wished it was. As I kid I suffered from social anxiety, so when other kids were outside living it up, I was inside trying to figure out how to make Carmel. Food spoke to me but it was always like a mistress to the lane I was being steered to. Eventually after feeling the pressures of being in a field I had no pleasures in, I decided to finally go for it. Mistress was promoted to my one and only. After that it was one crazy decision after another and it was not in the least bit easy. I bumped my head so many times, but it was very important to me not to make the same mistake twice. That is the way I learn, trial and error. I can read a million books and listen to just as many stories and I still would’ve opted to figure it out on my own terms. I’ve been taken advantage of, robbed and cheated but I was also determined to be 10 steps ahead of the next guy. I learned the hard way not to trust a soul when it comes to your art. It has always been a soul deep thing for me, or else what would be the point. My business name actually came from a diss. Stush is what my food was called and where I am from it was more of a dig than it was a compliment. I took a rather negative comment and turned it into a positive. Perspective is what has gotten me this far. Its never really what you are looking it, it’s mostly how you choose to look at it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I would take a friend anywhere, it’ll be somewhere new. Somewhere neither of us has ever been, we’d experience this thing together. I’m all about hole in the walls and word of mouth too. Not into reviews and such, we all have different tastes so what you like I might not like and vice versa. But I have come across some gems that I’d revisit a few times in one week, all due to my compulsory. Somewhere for sure with lots of seafood, if it swims I’ll eat it. The spicier the better too. Taco trucks are a big YES for me. I want to end up anywhere that’s laid back and just has great vibes. Brunch at 5015 for sure is a fave, and places like Cedar Creek and the Heights Bier Garten is a cool place to have a drink and swing on a porch swing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I call the people in my circle my tribe, they have been pivotal in my success. I think it’s very important to have a small in size yet massive in inspiration circle of just amazingly supportive people. Certainly quality over quantity, everyone you rock with has to rock with you as well. You become a well oiled machine and you can propel each other to the next big thing. It’s humbling and straight forward.
Facebook: Stush Caribbean Fusion
Yelp: Stush Caribbean Fusion