News / Economy

Shared Kitchen Helps Food Entrepreneurs Cook Up Success

Shared Kitchen Helps Food Entrepreneurs Cook Up Successi
X
March 24, 2014 2:20 PM
A new cooking space in Washington isn't just another commercial kitchen. Instead, Union Kitchen is a place where food entrepreneurs rent time to prepare their products. Anne Budianto, from VOA's Indonesian Service, reports.

Related TV report by Ariadne Budianto of VOA's Indonesian Service

Faiza Elmasry
Union Kitchen buzzes with activity and a tantalizing mixture of smells as dozens of cooks and bakers work individually or in small groups.

They share space in the fully equipped commercial kitchen, renting whatever they need; from pans and pots to ovens, refrigerators, freezers and other kitchen appliances. This is what is known as an incubator - a fully equipped workspace, often with mentors -  where entrepreneurs can start a business without the substantial financial investment a new enterprise demands.

Daniel Porzio of Ravioli Revolution prefers to rent a kitchen instead of setting up his own restaurant.

"You leave your job to really start up a business, you don’t have that kind of capital to just buy a restaurant and get out there and just create this building," Porzio said. "What you do is you rent. It is affordable for a small business."

Finding a full-service, low-cost and low-risk kitchen in Washington can be challenging. In December 2012, restaurateurs Jonas Singer and Cullen Gilchrist responded to the problem by opening Union Kitchen in a 680-square-meter warehouse. The duo originally purchased the space to expand the bakery for their café. But since it had more space than they needed, they decided to turn it into a food incubator.

“It has all the licensees. We clean it. We have staff taking care of the equipment, we buy the equipment,” Gilchrist said.

Douglas Singer rents two tables and two storage shelves in the refrigerator. After working for more than 15 years as a restaurant chef, Singer is finally living his dream: making corned beef and pastrami to sell to gourmet retail stores.
 
“Unbelievable, it’s a 10-year old thought that finally came to be 4 months ago,” said Singer, who learned about Union Kitchen from some friends. “It’s easy to start. Everything is in place. You don’t have to worry about shopping for your equipment.”

Union Kitchen also helps members in other ways.

“We try to work with other vendors say like an accountant, or a design firm or a bookkeeper or a social media expert. We try to connect our members with them," Gilchrist said.

"The idea is to help small businesses grow and sustain their business," Singer adds. "We do that by providing people the production space, the storage space to run their business, but also provide them sales opportunities to help them grow their business and handle all the business services. A lot of people here are really good at making food. They understand how the kitchen works. But they might not understand how business works. So we try to provide all of those services around it, and just give them a free rein to go make their food so their business can be successful even if it’s not their strong point."

Pastry chef Meredith Tomason rented a space in the kitchen when she moved to Washington a year ago.
 
“I found out about Union Kitchen. I came in for a tour and I’ve been here ever since," she said. "I’m here at least 8 hours a day, 6 days a week.”

She finds sharing the kitchen with other food entrepreneurs inspiring.

“There is a great sense of community. We all bounce ideas off each other. We’ve very supportive of each other," Tomason said. "We know what each other are going through with growing pains and business issues and things like that, so we're very sensitive to each other's needs, and help each other out a lot.”

Tomason is using her time at Union Kitchen to perfect her recipes and spread the word about her pastries before opening her own bakery later this year.

With more than 55 members currently sharing this 24/7 facility, and many others on the waiting list, Union Kitchen is looking to expand its operations in the near future.  

Ariadne Budianto, with VOA's Indonesian Service, contributed to this report.

You May Like

Photogallery Ukraine: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.