The chefs of Nature's Prime Organic Foods are sizzling over the cooktop inside the Kindred Kitchen, the scents of seared ham and freshly blanched peas fill the room. They are preparing ready-made organic meals for delivery around the Twin Cities. They are one of the approximately 10 businesses already renting the space available in North Minneapolis's new business venture.
The types of food businesses lined up at the Kindred Kitchen are eclectic. There are TV close-up ready structural cakes, a father-son catering team specializing in Southern-style foods, egg rolls for fundraising, an Ethiopian bread maker, Italian pastry maker--even a cake diva. Each business is as unique as the food maker, and each is finding tailored assistance from the people at the Kindred Kitchen.
At the Kitchen, "we're creating a story and finding out where our story will evolve," says Jan Lysen, senior program director at Catalyst Community Partners, the nonprofit group that helps steer the kitchen. "We're growing organically."
One of the ways the Kitchen is looking to grow is by expanding into the now-empty cafe space next to the kitchen. One of Catalyst's board members is restaurant marketing and design virtuoso David Shea, who has collaborated on such successful restaurant designs as La Belle Vie, Pizza Luce, and Brasa, among others. He has submitted a design concept for the cafe, and the organization is now looking for an owner-operator to run the space. Catalyst plans to put together a tentatively titled Kitchen Cabinet of successful entrepreneurs who can help guide the kitchen and the Kitchen's new food entrepreneurs.
Classes and kitchen space are open to anyone, but the hope is to draw in the hidden food talents in the neighborhood. The initial startup costs are around $1,000. The Kindred Kitchen offers food manager training classes for $135 and a class about starting your own business for $30. For residents of the surrounding North Minneapolis area, scholarships are available.
If you're interested in starting your own business, or just curious to see what the kitchen has to offer, the first step is to schedule a tour. They are available free, with registration biweekly. The next tour is at 5 p.m. today, or stop by for warmth and food-enthusiast cheer at their upcoming gathering on December 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. Hot beverages and cookies will be served. Registration is available here.