SARASOTA, Fla. - Getting a business off the ground is hard, but any chef will tell you, starting a restaurant is one of the most difficult.
There’s a new concept in Sarasota County helping professional chefs and home cooks alike test their culinary concepts without having to make the investment of a full professional kitchen.
Your Culinary Place is a shared space for cooks to help one another with their skills.
The kitchen space has become home to a number of local chefs and could be the future for a chef just starting their career.
“The comradery is something that you don’t find anywhere else,” said Melissa Louty with Blue Dahlia Catering.
Across from Louty, Chef Mike whips up more food for his business.
“You bounce ideas off of each other. You say, ‘What do you think about this?’ They give their feedback. You can help them in the same way,” Louty said.
The idea of a chef incubator in Sarasota County was Chef Gordon Lippe’s. He wanted to create a space where anyone would sign up and cook, with very few barriers to success.
A $500 membership fee gets you in. An hourly rate is charged for the equipment.
“It’s starting from a really small something idea and I get to work with all of these businesses," Lippe said. “They’ll be a microbiologist during the day and come here and make pickled products during the night or I have a great client who is launching a granola brand that’s being picked up and distribution deal and new clients.”
Chef Lippe's background brings many life lessons to the table; working at the Ritz and as a personal and celebrity chef.
Lippe helps eliminate the overhead costs every restaurant faces.
“It gets rid of a lot of the stress. If I was to have my own kitchen the overhead costs that I would have would be astronomical,” Louty pointed out.
Lippe said his goal for the chefs who use the incubator space is to gain enough business to open their own operations.