The Food Business Incubator That Helps Immigrant Women Pursue

by Lionel Casey

“La Cocina” means “the kitchen” in Spanish. It’s additionally the call of an enterprise incubator based in San Francisco’s Mission District. Since it commenced in 2005, it has been assisting nearby food entrepreneurs, many low-earnings immigrant women, broaden their small agencies.

Over the years, many of its alumni have observed achievement: More than 50 chefs in its software have become self-enough business owners, and many have opened their brick-and-mortar restaurants. Two alumnae of its culinary application, Nite Yun and Reem Assil had been even recognized as semi-finalists for prestigious James Beard awards.

A new cookbook, We are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream, tells some of their tales.

Executive director Caleb Zigas says the non-income La Cocina grew out of grassroots financial improvement employers who observed many humans cooking at their houses and promoting food on the streets. The providers wished for an inexpensive business kitchen space and technical help to be legally feasible for their businesses. La Cocina provided just one of these areas, in addition to helping them broaden commercial enterprise plans, pull city permits, and more.

Zigas says as many as eight businesses can make paintings in the kitchen space at La Cocina at some time. Some can prep for a farmer’s marketplace sale, company catering gigs, or weddings, even as others probably make and package their meal products.

“It’s simply a unique and exciting range of strategies, flavors, perspectives, age, language. And this is a truly stunning issue,” he says. “But I assume we’d be doing a disservice to the reality of the gap if we additionally did not speak approximately how annoying that can be, to have that many human beings from distinctive places within the international come together, simply with a shared purpose.”

Later this 12 months, La Cocina plans to open a market inside the Tenderloin District.

Twice a yr, La Cocina hosts “F&B: Voices from the Kitchen,” a storytelling mission in which their cooks can inform their own stories, as they do within the new cookbook. Some cooks can be on an excursion to promote the book, whose proceeds will visit La Cocina marketers.

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