Dig Baton Rouge

Cooking With Heart: The Cajun Spoon

There’s nothing like Cajun food to help body and soul, which is something Ryan Grizzaffi and Kristen Seneca wanted to do when they first started slinging gumbo outside of Baton Rouge nightspots.

“We’d parked the food truck at local bars like Spanish Moon. Then we found it more profitable to do catering, so we started going out to the chemical plants in the area,” Seneca said.

That eventually led them out of the kitchen and into the grocery store, where The Cajun Spoon is now known as a seasoning brand and dry dinner mix company. The husband-and-wife team based their dishes on family recipes back when gathering in the kitchen to cook a big bowl of gumbo or pot of jambalaya was the norm.

As business grew, so did the demand for their authentic and tasty products. The next step was to expand nationally. They ventured into retail, bringing their beloved Cajun dishes to customers’ dinner tables in 2016.

The Cajun Spoon stands out from the dinner mix crowd by offering adjusted, healthier recipes. With mixes like Jambalaya, Gumbo, Chicken and Dumplings, and Shrimp and Corn Bisque, The Cajun Spoon provides easy to make Louisiana favorites with less sodium content, no MSG, no GMOs or artificial flavoring, and a whole heaping of fresh, local ingredients.

“Being heart healthy with half the amount of sodium and a greater number of servings and actual ingredients per box really sets The Cajun Spoon apart from your average box mixes and dry packaged foods,” Seneca said.

All their products are ready in 45 minutes or less, providing you with a quick and delicious dinner with far less sodium than your regular Cajun favorites.

With every box sold, The Cajun Spoon also donates a meal to a local Baton Rouge charity or food bank. Their one-for-one business model is the company’s driving force. As of August 2016, they have donated more that 225,000 meals and since then that number has skyrocketed.

“We were doing a biannual donation to the Baton Rouge and LSU food banks, but since production has been so hectic, we are gearing up for an annual donation at the end of the year. It’s going to be a huge donation with the increased sales we’ve seen,” Grizzaffi said. “They are going to have a lifetime supply of The Cajun Spoon,” Seneca jokes.

In addition to their food bank donations last year, the company gave out 40 pounds of food, fresh produce, and a box of The Cajun Spoon on Adopt a Senior Day. They are looking forward to continuing that work this year. The Cajun Spoon also provided food to Baton Rouge during the record-breaking floods last year.

“A lot of the bigger companies donating food weren’t providing sustainable meals, so we were at the shelters as soon was they opened serving jambalaya and rolls, making sure everyone had a meal that would fill them up,” Seneca said, explaining that they also delivered care packages to recent Houston flood victims. “The Cajun Spoon is trying every avenue to help people whether it’s disaster relief or working with the food banks. Anytime something happens, we’re going to try to be there,” Grizzaffi added.

Lately The Cajun Spoon has been exploring other ways to do good across Louisiana and more specifically, LSU’s community. Grizzaffi is working with LSU’s AgCenter to start a food science scholarship program from the company’s proceeds.

“Not only do we want to feed people, but we want to hit all fronts of food education, general education, and giving back to our community,” Grizzaffi said.

The Cajun Spoon mixes are available at local Walmart, Rouses, Winn Dixie, and Associated Grocers Stores. You can find Ryan and Kristen serving samples in grocery stores just about every weekend.

“I want The Cajun Spoon to be known for good food and making a difference. We are going to keep thinking of other channels to give back and we want you to feel good about this purchase,” Grizzaffi said.

Be on the lookout for new products like a Brown Gravy mix ready in less than 10 minutes, a Shrimp and Grits mix, and the company’s first venture into the dessert mix world coming in 2018. Until then, you can grab a box of The Cajun Spoon from the grocery store, support an awesome local business, and do your part in helping the community.

Images: Kristine Stone

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