red kitchen

Lease and license negotiation; business coaching, marketing and promotion; public relations and communication; mentoring; and mediation.

About this Project

Alejandra de la Fuente, owner of the Mexican concept Red Kitchen, credits the huge success of her signature breakfast burrito to business coaching she received while Carmen was the general manager of the Lenexa Public Market. “I had no clue about the food industry. The breakfast burrito was her idea, and she ate them every day!” says the first-time business owner, whose concept started as a home-based side hustle selling tamales once a week for pickup.

On a typical Saturday, lines snake around the market with fans eager to fill up on a combination of egg and potatoes with choice of bacon, chorizo or sausage wrapped in Caramelo Sonoran-style artisan flour tortillas.

Food & Wine Magazine named her breakfast burrito Best Burrito in Kansas in 2018. The Red Kitchen menu includes authentic Mexican flautas, chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, molletes and tortas.

“Carmen had vision, and she’s open-minded about diversity and people’s needs. She was always super balanced about her business and her heart,” says de la Fuente, who started out as a tamale stall open one day a week in 2017. “She put her foot down when needed, but always in kindness.”

Under Carmen’s guidance, Alejandra discovered a stronger entrepreneurial voice, highlighting Carmen’s feminist values and her inclination to empower and encourage women. Carmen’s negotiation skills, often likened to those of a lawyer, served as a valuable asset as she mediated on behalf of Alejandra and other market tenants during contract negotiations with the City of Lenexa. At the time of Carmen’s resignation from the Lenexa Public Market to pursue new projects, the market boasted full occupancy. Alejandra acknowledges that while she and the other tenants are living their dream, Carmen also shared in that dream

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