Building a Commercial Kitchen
The last 2 1/2 years have been a whirlwind. I think it is time to give an update on what has happened and what is coming up in the next year. I have already written about my decision to attend culinary school and my graduation. Before graduation I was looking for a commercial kitchen in or around the San Antonio Texas area. I just happened to help my husband with something in the unused part of his building in Selma and realized that it used to be a commercial bakery. The building has a large walk-in refrigerator and a walk in freezer/blast chiller plus tons of space. The building would need very little work to get up and working as a commercial kitchen.
I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing right so I wanted to develop the space to not only work for a single person as well as catering teams. I want the space to work for a local chef preparing foods for a farmers market as well as it does for large catering teams who would also need space for events. Christened the Culinary Launchpad, my plan is to create culinary a cooperative community helping chefs network with other chef and help those chefs connect with local farmers and ranchers. I am providing space that will be fully furnished, equipped and certified for commercial food preparation and packaging. I want chefs to be able to use this incubator kitchen to launch their culinary careers without dealing with the financial burdens that are usually required to get your food in the door. I want chefs to be able to walk in the doors with their ingredients and knife roll and enjoy their time in the kitchen.
We have been blessed with a lot good usable space that we are planning outdoor event space that will double as a restaurant for our renters that will have digital ordering and ticketing. Part of our plan includes a brewery and small scale distillery but we also plan to feature offerings from other local breweries and distilleries. I am planning to offer classes on everything from cooking and preserving to gardening and composting. Our space will also be available to rent for classes, pop-dinners and larger events.
The Outdoor Space
The outdoor space is almost as exciting to me as the kitchen space. I grew up in my grandmothers garden and I inherited her green thumb. We have plans for some aquaponics, raised wicking beds and fruit trees. I want to replace all our grass with growing space and almost a farm like feel. I plan to grow lots of herbs and specialty vegetables that aren’t readily available. I want to include a bee friendly hive for both pollination and education.
Our outdoor seating area will seat around 200 with partial cover, a stage for music and a full bar. My goal is to make the launchpad also be a hangout for local foodies. They will have the opportunity to experience a rotation of local chefs and the best they have to offer. We will also be offering the best local beers and whiskey. We will have an ever changing seasonally driven menu that will be updated on a daily basis.
I have been working for months with my architect and contractor to get our layout and design done and we almost completely done. We are lucky that we have very limited construction so we are mostly just outfitting the space. I am hoping to have an estimated completion date within the next month but right now we are tentatively looking at December 2018 or January 2019. My goal is to be done enough to host our annual free thanksgiving for veterans that we do locally each year.
If you are a Texas farmer, rancher or produce a product you think my chefs might be interested in please visit the Culinary Launchpad site and sign up for our Vendor list. I am going to be contacting each of you and setting up visits so I post interviews about you and your products. You will find a form at the bottom of this page.
Anyone in or around the San Antonio area (specifically Selma, TX) with any interest whether it be you want to dine with us or you want to rent space for an event or a chef looking to rent kitchen time visit the Culinary Launchpad site and sign up for our lists. We will keep you up to date with our progress and upcoming events. Renters whether for events or kitchen time should take advantage of these lists so they are given priority when our schedule opens.
I am looking forward to sharing this space with all of you!