Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Trapani.
Hi Chris, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and started my hospitality career there. Moved to Austin in 2006 after meeting my wife online (on AOL when that was a thing) and started my company in 2012 after being in corporate dining for many years. And gaining a personal following for my food/style, I wanted a change, my own thing, freedom. I started Urban Cowboy Catering (urbancowboyfood.com) with a food truck and doing small catered events without the truck as well. (Urban Cowboy – because I am from NY/not because of the movie)
After years of DIY marketing and pushing for the best, we have grown with two catering kitchen locations, a close knit team of staff and our own wedding / social event venue in Smithville called Ponderosa (ponderosaeventstx.com).
To me, Austin and its surrounding areas still feel like a small town. I know so many people, all over, and recognize faces all the time. One of the things I love about being in and around Austin. Especially in the town of Smithville, if you haven’t been, it’s a warm hearted beautiful little town just outside Austin with the best people. We are also working on adding ticked farm to table dinners at our space in Smithville, where people can dine with views of our pond and pasture, and experience the country
Chris Trapani, owner – is the first Transgender Chef / Person to appear on the Food Network on Chopped and has appeared on India’s Food Network programming as well as The Huffington Post, The Paper, Hindu Times and UpperCrust India (after assisting Keshav Suri and the LaLit Hospitality Group in 2018 with a collab on Food Trucks and LGBTQIA job creating/workshops. Chris’ love for the south, food and people is what keeps him coming back for more in the hospitality industry. He is currently mentoring other food truck owners, catering chefs and queer business people in the industry
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s never easy. We’ve had our share of growth spurts, freak outs, meltdowns and break downs. From broke down food trucks, to storm damage, self-worth scares and doubt, financial hardships and Covid of course! But we made it through. I think, thanks to a lifetime of working in every aspect of Hospitably. It saved us and now, we are busier than EVER
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
We try to take things from a “melting pot city” perspective, like NYC – which Austin is a HUGE food city now and fits perfectly with our Southern focus on the fusion that we do. But, we are not limited to that. We’ve done Spa themed meals, Indian Dinners, gotten Pork Roll flown in from NY along with Kaiser rolls for a sandwich request late night snack at a wedding, cooked 100% vegan meals, etc. The list goes on, we can do it all.
I’m not sure if I am more proud to know that I have helped people in their walks of life – whether it be other LGBTQIA business owners, kids, others – or helped my staff learn and grow within in their own lives, as I am always there for all of them. Staff are your friends. Staff are your family. Take care of them, they take care of you. You respect each other and have love for each other. This makes us stronger than others, maybe it’s what helped get us through Covid, after watching some competition crumble.
Or if I am more proud to have built a business for my family that is successful, admirable and thriving. I came from nothing in Brooklyn, NY. Now, my whole family is here!
Our food, our service, reflect my spirit. Always welcoming, personable and giving. Not greedy. Not nickel and diming. Humble.
- Full service catering dinners start at $19 per person plus labor and relative service fees
- Drop off Catering minimum $500
- All catering pricing varies based on what is needed
- Website: www.urbancowboyfood.com
- Instagram: @urbancowboycatering
- Facebook: @urbancowboysouthernfusion
- Twitter: @urbancowboyATX
- Yelp: urbancowboycatering