Shared Use Kitchen Serves First Tenants
by Nancy Williams
The kitchens served its first tenants at the Collaborative Community Centered Food Hub in April. Michelle and Tony of MJER Help rented the first hours in the kitchen to cater a birthday party. The smells were wonderful – bacon and cupcakes wafting through the hallways! The next week, Velma of Suzan’s Sweet Potato Pie, LLC prepared pound cakes, apple pies and sweet potato pies to provide Easter treats for customers. From scratch apple pies with juicy Granny Smith apples, pound cakes with literally pounds of butter and cream cheese and sweet potato pies with a flaky crust and just the right amount of spice graced the racks in the kitchen. We are thrilled to support food focused entrepreneurship.
More good news! As Michelle and Tony were preparing for their birthday catering, they met Chef Brian O’Malley of Metropolitan Community College’s Institute for the Culinary Arts, who was graciously sharing his time and expertise interviewing kitchen manager candidates with us. The next week Chef O’Malley received an email about a healthy food catering opportunity at University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and shared it with MJER Help who decided to audition with a tasting. You can guess what happened next – they got the gig! With only a week to prepare, they developed a menu, sourced food and providers, booked kitchen time, hired some help and went to work to provide two meals per day for 50 people for almost a week. No More Empty Cups was excited to provide coffee (Archetype roasted beans), tea (Tea Smith), and organic herb infused water for each meal.
On MJER Help’s first day of service to UNMC, our neighbor to the north of the food hub kitchens, Mouth of the South, experienced a devastating fire. We are grateful that there were no casualties or injuries. You can read more here. After regrouping, MJER Help finished the week strong with exemplary service to their clients.
In April, nearly 10 new tenants completed the paperwork and paid deposits to rent the kitchens over the next few months. Another five are expected to enroll in May. We are so excited for them and our community. We can hardly wait to introduce you to the super talented providers who will deliver technical assistance to our entrepreneurs as they start and grow their businesses. Check the blog and Facebook for updates.