Immokalee commercial kitchen offers food enthusiasts tools to launch business

Photo: Pixabay/ MGN

A new commercial kitchen is helping local food enthusiasts launch a business from Immokalee.

The Culinary Accelerator on Airpark Boulevard offers a membership that allows subscribers to prepare, cook and package their culinary creations for distributions.

“We have a bakery, hot line kitchen, cold processing kitchen, cold packaging kitchen, along with freezer space where you also have dry storage,” Culinary Program Director Ahmed El said.

Leaders at the Culinary Accelerator gave tours this week to curious Southwest Florida residents to exhibit what the kitchen can do for people looking to get their food businesses off the ground.

“If you look at this from a bigger picture, SWFL is growing immensely in the food scene and if we want to continue to grow, we need opportunity for those small businesses,” Where to Eat 239 spokesperson Rafael Feliciano said.

Making dreams come true

The team at the Culinary Accelerator are hoping to use their talents to help other chef’s dreams come true.

“Under the cottage law you can operate some things from your home, but when you get in a larger scale, using seafood and proteins and things like that, you need a commercial kitchen to work from,” El said.

The multi-use commercial kitchen, which is set to open next week, gives members access to expensive appliances and equipment that can help put them in front of potential buyers.

“If you come to them with a specialty niche product you can make out of a machine like this now they’re willing to talk to you,” CEO and president Marshall Goodman said.

Leaders at the Culinary Accelerator will also provide mentorship and business advice.

“If you have no idea what you’re doing, but you just have a great recipe, we can help take you from point A, to point B, to becoming a food vendor,” El said.

Inspiration in Immokalee

“There are millions of dollars that come through here in the raw state of strawberries, peppers, you name it. So, it’s a perfect place to turn a raw product into a business,” EL said.

The commercial kitchen’s goal is to get outside entrepreneurs to buy materials locally and for people who already work in Immokalee to start a business.

“We also wanna change the perception and brand of Immokalee,” El said. “To have a facility with the capabilities this one has, will hopefully draw businesses to come invest out here, because it deserves it. They’re hardworking people.”

Federal and State grants will partially fund the Culinary Accelerator. The official ribbon cutting is set for March 28.

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