KAPA‘A — Drawn to the beauty and hiking adventures of Kaua‘i, Kalynne Walker, 25, an active-duty Navy sailor at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, found a way to open Kaua‘i Boil, a seafood boil food truck in Kapa‘a next to the Kountry Kitchen, while giving back to those in need since Nov. 6.
“Been on island for a little over two years,” Walker said. “I am a complete foodie. I love to eat, cook and, more than all, I love to share my food with others.”
Walker said at her last duty station, Jacksonville, Florida, she was introduced to seafood boils, and she fell in love with it.
“When I got to Kaua‘i, I quickly realized there were no seafood-boil places on the island, so I immediately got in the kitchen,” Walker said. “After multiple attempts, I finally found the perfect blend of spices and seasonings to perfect my sauce. Heaven. I made the boil a few times for my family and friends, who experienced the same ‘OMG’ moment that I had.
“Then it dawned on me, I have to share this with the community,” Walker said.
Walker quickly tested out the waters like a true sailor, and posted on a few Kaua‘i Facebook groups to check out the responses. And after a few months of doing pre-orders and delivery, she had another epiphany.
“When I arrived, my soul search immediately began,” Walker said. “Approaching 25, I was starting to feel hopeless and that I ended up where I belonged, in the Navy. Don’t get me wrong, the Navy has taught me a lot about life, and I would never have been able to accomplish what I have accomplished so effortlessly without it. But I never felt so fulfilled. Yes, I have been around the world, seen places that most only dream about (Kaua‘i included), and met many amazing people, but I never felt a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging.”
Walker said the epiphany she was experiencing was that food was her purpose.
“Anytime anyone would ask me what I like to do, the answer is ‘cook,’” Walker said. “Always my first thought, but for whatever reason, I never saw my life as a cook, let alone a restaurant owner. I was sitting at a food truck in Koloa and it hit me. I want this. I was already preparing seafood boils that everyone seemed to love. Why not pursue something that satisfies my soul?”
In late August, Walker began her journey by calling up her mother, Kiersten Duncan, of Maryland.
“(I) expressed that I had a crazy idea,” Walker said. “I needed her to talk me out of it. Always very supportive, after explaining my idea, she simply said, ‘I will not talk you out of it but talk you through it,’ and she did just that. I have a very impulsive personality. When I want something, I get it. Many times this gets me in trouble, but this time it was destiny.”
On Nov. 6, Walker had the grand opening of her seafood boil food truck, and for the first six days, or two weekends, she made 400 orders.
“I am so thankful for the people’s support,” Walker said. “It was nothing but faith. Faith in myself, faith in my plan, and faith in the pride and soul that I put into my food. I knew that there weren’t any other restaurants that have what I have to offer, and wanted to share my love with Kaua‘i.
Walker was recently recommended by her commander to join the Leadership Kaua‘i program, where she learned firsthand what the pandemic has done to the community.
“Hearing these stories, I immediately got the idea to do some fundraising,” Walker said. “I would love to partner up with a nonprofit who focuses on self-sustaining the agricultural economy of the island. I know there are a few of them on-island, but I just have not had the time to do my research regarding the logistics of such partnerships, or the nonprofit themselves. My ideas are to sell stickers or T-shirts, and all profits goes to the nonprofit. Or even set up a donation box of some sort.”
Already in partnership with the Lihu‘e Salvation Army, Walker is giving back.
“I do use The Salvation Army for my support kitchen, and in return I provide a meal for at least 60 residents once a month,” Walker said. “I am still in the building stages of the business and very busy with this. Once we get more established, I will have more time to dive into partnering with nonprofits.”