Continued access to traditional foods plays a vital role in maintaining cultural traditions and insuring the stability of family units among immigrant women. Kitchen Incubators like La Cocina in San Francisco’s Mission District offer the means to create new food businesses that strengthen these communities.
San Francisco, CA
19 January 2011
Helps entrepreneurs launch, grow and formalize food businesses which can provide real asset generation for their families.
LA COCINA (“THE KITCHEN” IN SPANISH) PROVIDES AFFORDABLE COMMERCIAL KITCHEN SPACE AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO LOW-INCOME AND IMMIGRANT WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS GROWING THEIR OWN FOOD BUSINESSES. Not only do they supply space from which to launch that dream but also support a vibrant community of fellow entrepreneurs. They believe everyone has the talent and capacity to build a successful food business. La Cocina is located in SF’s Mission District, an ethnically diverse and economically vulnerable neighborhood. Food lies at the heart of this community, and you don’t have to look far to find hidden entrepreneurs in the kitchens of many homes. Executive Director (and chief Dishwasher) Caleb Zigas believes every cook should have the chance to earn a living doing what they love, even if it’s in a highly regulated and competitive industry.
From: São Paulo, Brazil
Business: “Kika’s Treats”
She makes sweets she remembers from her childhood in Brazil.
From: Penang, Malaysia
She teaches people her culture through the stories behind her food.
From: Mexico City
Business: “El Huarache Loco”
She brings classic street food from Mexico’s D.F. (Distrito Federal) to San Francisco.
From: Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico
Business: “Tamales Los Mayas”
She translates Mayan cultural traditions into food using generations old family recipes.
The durian is revered in southeast Asia for its large size, formidable thorn-covered husk and unique odor, which as led to the fruit’s banishment from hotels and public transportation in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“El Perfecto Sabor es Cocinar Con Amor”
When Caleb was 16 years old he was accidentally hired as an assistant pastry chef at Ruppert’s Restaurant in his hometown of Washington DC. He hasn’t left the kitchen since. Since joining La Cocina Caleb has helped shape its incubator program, aiding it in achieving national recognition, and has been celebrated by the Hitachi Foundation, who named him a Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneur, for his social entrepreneurship innovation. His combination of food industry experience and commitment to social justice is helps empower La Cocina, which was recently named a 2011 Best Small Businesses by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Caleb believes that everyone deserves an opportunity to make a living doing what they love to do.