If you’re in Edmonds, Washington, and you’re hungry for tacos, the last place you might look is a church parking lot. But on certain days, that’s where Flyin’ Taco is parked, a food truck owned and operated by Kyle D. Marty.
This isn’t just another food truck, and Marty, 32, isn’t just a cook. He is a trained chef and committed Christian who desires to serve others with his gift of cooking. He wants to bring his faith and vocation together through one of the greatest joys of his life: food.
This craving for community started in 2020, when people couldn’t gather anywhere in person because of the emergence of COVID-19. In March of that year, Marty managed a restaurant in Edmonds and worked as a catering coordinator. Then the pandemic hit, forcing patrons to stay away from eating establishments.
The lack of customers slowed the pace and paychecks, so Marty left the restaurant. He worked at odd jobs for six months. He looked inward and evaluated his goals and dreams. Marty thought back 10 years, to the days after high school when he went through a culinary arts program. There his passion for food developed.
So, in a step of faith, Marty opened his own take-out food business: the Flyin’ Taco — perfect for the stay-at-home culture. As tacos flew out the door that summer, close friends and family urged Marty to buy a food truck. With money from a fundraising campaign, he found one. Granted permission from a local church, he opened the business in the church’s parking lot. Marty estimates that in the past six months, he has sold 20,000 tacos. This is more than a sales figure to Marty. It represents people he has been privileged to serve through his cooking.
Serving others, in fact, is hard-wired into him. Starting in 2010, he invested in junior high kids as youth pastor at a local church. In 2017, he graduated from Northwest University, the Assemblies of God school in Kirkland, Washington, where he studied pastoral leadership. Although he connected well with teens, thoughts of culinary school rekindled old desires in him and led to a career change.
Still, Marty considers his time at Northwest beneficial. He believes his education equipped him for his work and life in general.
“It taught me how to be organized, how to not procrastinate,” he explains. “It taught me a lot about my personal relationship with God and balancing my life.”
Mike J. Anderson, a close friend, served with Marty in youth ministry. He supported the decision to open the Flyin’ Taco, though it’s quite a departure from instructing teens.
“Cooking comes naturally to him, he’s passionate about it,” says Anderson, 40. “He loves putting together meals and cooking for other people. Why not do what you love for a living?”
To Marty, however, his cooking is more than making a living. It’s God’s way of bringing people together — and not only customers. Two of his employees are young guys he invests in spiritually.
“I try to constantly be an example for them,” Marty says. “I have an opportunity to speak into their lives and see them develop into great men.”
Marty plans to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant one day, with live music and artwork from local artists. It would be reminiscent of what he knew growing up.
“When it came to dinnertime, we all came around the table,” Marty recalls. “It was time to ask how we’re doing, to share what we did for the day, and kind of hit the refresh button.”