Student cooking up culinary businesses on WKU’s campus

Zirconia Alleyne

Nashville freshman David Carter developed an appreciation for good food at an early age.

He still remembers the aroma of biscuits, cakes and pies that his grandmother would bake for him as a kid.

Carter always loved eating his grandmother’s entrees, but it wasn’t until she read him a quote by Food Network chef Paula Deen that he decided he wanted to start his own delivery and catering business.

“I remember it was something like, ‘I was fortunate to be born in the land of the free, but after I lived for myself was I truly free,'” Carter said.

Now, Carter is working to launch not one food business, but two.

He’s currently developing websites for his businesses, so he can take orders online. He plans to launch them in the next month.

“I’ve always kind of known I was going to start several businesses,” he said. “I’ve literally been raised in my grandfather’s business.”

His grandfather, David Campbell, has a business that is far from culinary. He owns an office equipment business called Farrar Business Machines Co.

Campbell said he wants to see all of his kids and grandkids do well.

“I teach them the sky is the limit,” he said.

Although he has never tasted any of his grandson’s cooking, Campbell said he is sure he’s a good cook.

Carter said his grandmother has developed Alzheimer’s disease and he wants to continue the family tradition of good cooking.

The first business he plans to launch is The Alpha Pie, which will deliver pies and other desserts to campus.

“This is my debut attempt at entrepreneurship, unless you count selling Uni-ball ink pens in elementary school,” Carter said.

He thought the name The Alpha Pie would get students’ attention because it sounds like a fraternity.

Carter already has a few customers, including Lexington freshman Benjamin Holiday, who said he can see Carter’s potential.

“He’s active in the community and puts a lot into what he does,” he said. “It’s inspiring to see a WKU student start up this kind of business and be successful in it.”

Holiday said that Carter makes delicious apple pie and blackberry pie.

He has a key lime pie on back order.

“I had to rough him up a bit to get one,” Holiday said. “I don’t think he makes those for everybody.”

Carter’s second business plan is DC Essential. He wants to make gourmet meals to deliver to students.

He admits that he’s never been to culinary school, but he learned some kitchen skills when he lived in Memphis. He credits his skills to his old roommate who was a gourmet chef from California.

“After hating the food on campus, I decided I wanted to bring healthy food to campus,” Carter said, as he described a potential meal option. “Let’s say … chicken parmesan with roasted zucchini and peppers, a slice of pie and bottled water. All under five dollars, delivered to your dorm.”

First, he wants to build trust with his future customers by giving free samples and getting people to visit his sites.

“I think I can market my businesses with T-shirts and flyers after I craft a logo,” he said.

He’s working alone for now right out of his dorm room in Zacharias Hall.

“Right now I’m aiming to cover my expenses,” Carter said. “Regardless of the cost, what I am going to gain is priceless.”