By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

ATLANTIC CITY — For the past four years, Kelly Wright has been a mainstay in the kitchen at Gordon Ramsay Steak at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City.

But in his off time, Wright has been following his dream of owning his own establishment in the heart of Atlantic City’s business district, Ahkii’s Soul Meals.

Wright, who shares a picture of him with the famous celebrity chef he works for full time on the window of his Atlantic Avenue establishment, said cooking is in his blood, being passed down for generations since his great-grandfather.

Now, with his own business, Wright is taking on the challenge of taking his family lessons one step farther as “Chef Legacy” and his soul food business. His restaurant will be one of the establishments featured when the NAACP national convention comes into town in July.

For Wright, though, it’s all in the family.

The Kelly Wright File

Name: Kelly Wright

Name of Business: Ahkii’s Soul Meals

Address: 1316 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City

Years in business: One year

Specialize in: Soul food dishes

Contact info: 609-852-2986,

1. FRNJ: What made you become a business owner?

Kelly Wright: I’ve been cooking for over 30 years. I always thought about having something on my own trying to leave a trail, something productive for my family.

2. FRNJ: Why did you pick this particular location, right across from the Atlantic City government offices and local neighborhoods?

Kelly Wright: It’s in the area where I grew up. It’s a high traffic location and the people that come through is a mixed culture. You get a lot of out-of-towners, plus people from in town and a variety of cultures.

3. FRNJ: Why did you decide to get into the cooking profession?

Kelly Wright: It’s a family tree, so that’s why my brand’s name is called Chef Legacy. My great-grandfather was a chef in Baltimore. My father, when he was still living, was a retired executive chef in the area. Both of my older brothers are chefs. I’m the baby brother, so it’s a family tree.

4. FRNJ: How important is it for you to have positive Black role models in business?

Kelly Wright: I think it’s very important. I think that we have missed the beat when it comes to establishing and having things of our own and we’ve become accustomed to working for others. We’re not setting goals and priorities for ourselves. So, how important is it to me? It’s 98.9%, about the highest it can go.

5. FRNJ: Anything else you would like to add?

Kelly Wright: Yes, stop by and give us a try. Check out our food and our daily specials. We’ll have upgrades on the menu. Going towards the summer months we’ll be doing a little bit of semi-gourmet. Just stop in and give us a try and I’m sure you will love everything.

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