Richmond Incubator Program Pairs Would-Be Chefs With Shuttered Restaurants
The plight of struggling restaurants has been a devastating epidemic within the pandemic, forcing many to close doors for good. But as they say, when one door closes, another opens.
In a valiant effort to forge a silver lining in these dark days, one group in Richmond is transforming the misfortune of some into a dream-come-true opportunity for others.
Folks at the Bridge Commissary Kitchen and Richmond’s Bridge Storage and ArtSpace have launched an innovative incubator program for local hopeful chefs. Using shuttered restaurants, the new Bridge Community Kitchen will essentially crowdsource commercial kitchen space for chefs to explore and operate their own small food business ventures for a fraction of what it would traditionally cost.
Bridge Operating Partner Phillip MItchell told The Richmond Standard that he is in the process of negotiating one-year leases with landlords of painfully empty restaurants around the Bay Area. As a goal, those kitchens will host two chefs in the morning and two in the afternoon for unique take-out food business operations.
The program is based on tiered membership that determines the level of mentorship support chefs will receive from the Bridge Commissary Kitchen, where they will begin their journey prior to setting up shop in the shared kitchen spaces.
The membership cost funds the overall venture and helps the organization pay for health permits and licensing. Chefs invited to use the shared spaces after they graduate the first program phase will also share expenses for utilities and lease payments, bringing the financial investment down to a feasible level for newbies.
The organization’s different arms work in a complimentary way to prepare chefs for real-world challenges of the food industry, helping “good chefs learn to become good business people,” Mitchell said.
“This is definitely a passion of mine to help chefs realize their dreams.”
People can find additional information about the new incubator program, commercial kitchen rental and shared creative workspaces on the Bridge Kitchen website.