He was looking for a hand-up, not a handout!
Derrick Faulcon was determined to become the “Culinary Nat Turner” and start his own entrepreneurial empire after being released from prison. He studied the ins and outs of the restaurant business and even helped 200 other inmates get their GEDs. He was released in 2012 and two years later, he opened his first restaurant, Home Maid, which is a popular brunch spot in Towson, MD. He has three food trucks but acquired his favorite Baltimore donut shop, Donut Alliance, in 2019, renovating and re-opening it in 2020 as the Cloudy Donut Co.
@newyorknico After 11 years of being incarcerated, Derrick Faulcon decided to become the “culinary Nat Turner.” In edition to helping over 200 inmates get their GED’s, Faulcon researched everything about the food industry while in prison with the hopes that one day he could build his own empire. He refused to believe that life would have limitations just because he was a felon. After almost a decade of working in the food industry post-incarceration, Faulcon opened @cloudydonutco in 2020 which is the first black owned food/beverage business in Brooklyn Heights. Derrick’s decision to open in the neighborhood was to begin a “reverse gentrification” process. The idea is to bring black businesses into affluent white neighborhoods for visibility to people who aren’t used to seeing black business owners. Faulcon’s goal is to build generational wealth. He and his business partner, Zewiditu Jewel created @the.browncollective which creates a space for black and brown culinary creatives. Derrick also continues to mentor and employ formerly incarcerated individuals so that they aren’t encouraged to go back to a life of crime. In addition to a great story and message, the donuts are really fucking good. Cloudy Donuts has over 44 flavor donuts all of which are entirely vegan and animal-free. They are open only on the weekends so make sure to schedule accordingly before making the trip to 14 Colombia place. #UnsungHeroesNYC ♬ Etude No.2 - Philip Glass & Eleonor Sandresky
Cloudy Donut Co. is now the #1 vegan donut shop in the nation, offering 44 flavors of delicious animal-free donuts. With flavors like mango chile lime and grapefruit mimosa, the donuts are made from products like applesauce, coconut milk, and shortening. Faulcon has a location in Washington, D.C. and recently opened one in NYC, making history as the first Black-owned business in Brooklyn Heights! He’s also continuing to help his former incarcerated people by providing them jobs and opportunities to use their skills, such as hosting a pop-up series where chefs of color can create vegan desserts to be featured in the shop.
Cloudy Donut Co.’s Partnerships Director and Brooklyn Heights shop operator Zewiditu Ruffin told VegNews, “[Being the first] means a great deal to us, and we’re proud of it, but it’s just the first step.”
Faulcon is an advocate of reverse gentrification, Ruffin explaining this idea, saying, “[We] bring our Black-owned businesses into predominantly white, affluent neighborhoods in order to bring visibility, diversity, and awareness. We’re bringing quality products, connecting with the local community, and hiring a [diverse group] of people who don’t have to have a culinary background.”
Faulcon is definitely becoming the change he wants to see and has stayed true to his dream of becoming the Culinary Nat Turner. To know more about the Cloudy Donut Co., visit their website. If you’re in the area, make sure you stop by! We wish you the best of luck and all the success, Mr. Faulcon.