Tuesday, July 12, 2016

UL-Lafayette and NSULA Graduate Paul Ayo Featured on Cover of Gourmet Insider Magazine

Media Contact:
Julie Calzone
Calzone & Associates
337-235-2924 ext. 18
UL-Lafayette and NSULA Graduate Paul Ayo Featured on Cover of Gourmet Insider Magazine
Lafayette Businessman Celebrates Success and Looks Ahead

(LAFAYETTE, LA) — Lafayette’s own Paul Ayo, Owner and Manager of E’s Kitchen of Lafayette, is featured on the cover of Gourmet Insider Magazine’s May/June issue. Ayo has been a Gourmet Insider Magazine reader since he opened his premier kitchen accessories retail store and kitchen, E’s Kitchen, in 2012.

Ayo began his higher education at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA in 1993. While completing his Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism, Ayo served four years as a cheerleader, worked for the University radio station, KNWD, and served as the program manager for the station from ’97-’98. Outside of school he worked as a disc jockey and also worked for the local Holiday Inn for two years. Natchitoches is known for its historical significance as Louisiana’s oldest settlement and for its annual Festival of Lights, during which tourists visit from all over the world.

Ayo continued his academic achievement by completing his Masters in Business Administration at UL-Lafayette from 2000-2003. He worked in the Business College as the Head Computer Technician and was a member of the MBA Association, of which he served as President during his last year at the University. Lafayette is a growing city with many entrepreneurial opportunities and bustling dining and tourism industries.

“I use what I learned at both schools to help me run my business today,” says Ayo. “My broadcast knowledge helps me make my cooking videos which has helped set E’s Kitchen apart from other stores. My time at UL-Lafayette helped me learn how to run a business and that the most important thing is happy customers.”

Ayo prides himself in learning from every opportunity and helping others. “I believe that helping the community is a no-brainer,” Ayo shared. “The better we can make it, the better off everyone is in the community. My mother taught me from a young age that if someone needs help and you can help them then you should. … After starting E’s Kitchen, I started the E’s Kitchen Food Truck Roundup, which has become a regular monthly event for families. The Food Truck Roundup brings together people from all over the community to enjoy all kinds of food and fun and greatly helps promote the food trucks, which are also locally-owned small businesses.

Most recently, Ayo has personally served on the board of LafayetteTravel’s EatLafayette campaign that focuses on promoting and supporting locally-owned restaurants. The 2016 campaign supports over 100 Lafayette-area restaurants. Ayo has spearheaded, organized and hosted the Chef’s Table event, which kicks off a week-long Food, Wine, Beer & Spirits Experience, and brings together innovative and talented local chefs to create a specially-themed dinner for a drawn winner and their guests.

Ayo’s reputation for enthusiasm, knowledge and customer engagement has spread. Ayo explained, “Gourmet Insider Magazine asked me to join one of their panel discussions at the Dallas Market Trade Show after my first year in business. Last year, E’s Kitchen was awarded the Shun Certified Sugoi Dealer Award, which made us one of the only thirty-five stores in the United States to receive the award. [E’s Kitchen] is considered a great brand ambassador for Shun Cutlery.”

When asked if he’s always been interested in the culinary arts, Ayo says, “I have been cooking since childhood and considered going to culinary school but thought that college was a better choice. Now my passion for cooking is my business and I have never been happier.”

Looking ahead, E’s Kitchen is working on offering more cooking classes and focusing on hands-on teaching. Eventually, Ayo would like to open E’s Kitchen locations in other cities.

Gourmet Insider Magazine is for and about gourmet store operators who want to succeed, offering them tips, strategies and success stories from the people who know best – store operators themselves.


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