Local chef to serve up a taste of KC at the NFL Draft

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 9:49 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - NFL Business Connect aims to keep it local for the league’s biggest events and one area chef is benefiting as he looks to expand his reach.

As Chef Jay gears up to feed thousands at the NFL Draft, landing a highly coveted spot in the NFL Business Connect Program still seems too good to be true.

“Man, I was super excited,” chef and entrepreneur Jayaun Smith said. “I was by myself, so I got to really yell. I was just really excited and blessed, being young and one of the businesses chosen by the NFL.”

The 27-year-old’s reputation is already sizzling hot in the metro. He was named “Best Chef” by The Pitch and was a contestant on Season 20 of Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen.

But, he knows this three-day event will provide marketing for his business in ways he’s never imagined.

“It’s super important to us,” Smith said. “It puts us on another level of business. It also just exposes us to Kansas City, and to people around the United States and the world who are coming to Kansas City just for this. It could be investors or consumers. There is so much that can build off this.”

NFL Business Connect provides networking and business development opportunities to make sure local, diverse businesses have the capacity to compete for contracts during major league events in their market.

“That is something that they stand firm on,” said Smith. “Each city that they have done these NFL Draft’s in, they make sure that they use local businesses. I really applaud the NFL for this. They’ve really poured into us and helped Kansas City move to another level. We’re growing, so this is something major. A lot of revenue is coming in.”

A smaller, limited menu from his restaurant Sauced will be available at the Draft, including the famous Cajun buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches and house-seasoned wings.

“I just want to finally spread my wings and spread my face even more to Kansas City,” Smith said while smiling, “so they can truly know we actually have our Gordon Ramsey, our Guy Fieri here in Kansas City that’s trying to push this.”

Chef Jay opened Sauced in 2020. He’s looking to expand the business in the coming months.