NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

January 4, 2013

A place for 'foodpreneurs'

Shared-use commercial kitchen will be first on North Shore

(Continued)

“It was an ‘a-ha’ moment,” she said “I jumped in. It just felt right. I’ve always wanted to do something in the food industry.”

For the last several months, Sutton’s vision has been coming to life as crews from Build-It Construction Services in New Hampshire have been busy creating two work spaces in the kitchen, which is set to open in the next few weeks. She’s spent her days meeting with prospective clients, setting up her webpage, Facebook page and marketing her business.

Sutton’s also had to navigate through Amesbury’s planning and zoning process in order to secure the necessary permits to open Kitchen Local. When approached with her business model, city officials embraced it, despite their initial unfamiliarity with the concept, she said. The city has created a special new application just for Kitchen Local clients.

“I’ve received so much support from the community,” Sutton said.

When they arrive and start cooking, clients will find a modern workspace that includes a three-compartment sink, a prep sink, two hand sinks, a double gas oven with six burners and a flat top, 30-quart steam kettle, double convection oven, a 40-quart floor mixer, a walk-in refrigerator, a double freezer, portioning tables, prep tables and a food processor.

They will also have a selection of baking sheets, pots and pans, cooking utensils, utility carts and baking racks to choose from, Sutton said, although each client will also have dry and cold storage spaces where they can keep their own tools and cookware if they wish.

Since word has began to spread about Kitchen Local, Sutton says she’s been fielding calls from numerous small-scale food producers, eager to learn more about the commercial kitchen space and how it works.

Among her prospective clients are a BBQ caterer, a food cart vendor and a cupcake maker, as well as individuals who make desserts, breads, BBQ sauce, Mediterranean food, soups and baby food.

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