The recent opening of Food Revolution, a commissary kitchen with a more specialized focus than others, is anticipated to bring change to the Boston food community. The new share commissary is aimed at providing a safe and clean kitchen space for startups in the health food community, specifically for gluten and dairy free companies. Boston’s health food community can thank cofounders Caroline Huffstetler and Craig Olsen for their idea and for putting it into action.
Caroline, a cofounder of Food Revolution, first had the idea of a kitchen dedicated to small gluten or dairy free food companies while working at her other commissary, The Local Fare. Also centered around providing health food to the Boston area, Caroline and The Local Fare's other cofounder, Michelle Wax, would have to advise health foodies with Celiac Disease not to purchase some of the kitchen’s products. Despite sterilizing the space and making sure to keep all ingredients separated, knowing that gluten can sometimes stay in the air for up to two whole days, she decided to create a gluten free space.
Also the founder of her own food company, Nutty Life, Caroline wanted to create more than just another kitchen. Hoping to provide a space for new startups to ask questions, get advice, and learn from companies that have built themselves from the ground up before, she wanted to create a tight-knit community as well.
After starting and successfully running Nutty Life with no resources besides her own knowledge, research and ambition, Caroline says she regrets not having a mentor to go to throughout the process. She believes the best resource for getting a business off the ground is having someone to lean on and plans to facilitate the ideas of networking and guidance through mentorship in the Food Revolution kitchen. Caroline says, “Right now our goal is to just spread the word. In a year from now we’d like to have a fully occupied kitchen and to hold classes once a month.” She plans to host events to encourage asking questions and sharing ideas [as well as creating a series dedicated to giving advice and saying what it really takes to get a business of the ground.] And while she believes having a mentor is good for any entrepreneur starting a business, whether that business be food related or not, Caroline especially wants to create a sanctuary for like- minded companies with common goals inside Food Revolution’s kitchen. (Those goals being to finally put that gluten or dairy free label on their product.) By doing this, Caroline will also be expanding Boston’s health community at large.
In general, for those with their own food companies looking to take part in a commissary and find kitchen space of their own, you are going to need to know what you are looking for and what you want out of your space. Caroline advises, “When you’re trying to get space in a kitchen and are first meeting the person who runs it, it’s like a laid back job interview. Just be yourself and make sure you have your list of must haves and questions.” She recommends comparing the pros and cons of the different kitchen space options and not basing your final decision off option prices only. She admits to first making this mistake on her own by choosing a space based upon price instead of what she needed out of the kitchen. Caroline says, “It’s also good to look at the location and be sure all your production needs are met.” So consider pricing but also think of what appliances or tools you need to get your business off the ground. Not every place will have the same appliances as others, some may have too many or some may not have enough. For example, it’s good to think about if you need lots of counter space or can make do with a smaller area. Caroline described this thought process with a cookie baking example. She explained that if you are making cookies, you should be thinking of your output, what you need to reach it, and asking yourself questions like; “Do I need big or small mixers? What size ovens are best? Is a dishwasher a must or can I go without it?”
Think about your product and what it takes to produce it and then go to each possible space with a list of needs, wants, and questions ready. Specifically, for those interested in space at Revolution Kitchen, having products in the same food genre- specialty health foods- is probably wise. If your products require production in a gluten or dairy free environment, then Caroline’s new kitchen is definitely for you. Her goal is to get 10 to 15 similar businesses into the space and a year from now, she hopes for the kitchen to be filled and for the companies that have found a home there to be well on their feet. For those with gluten or dairy free companies interested in applying for a space at this new commissary, all one has to do is email Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to meet and talk in person. For those interested in a health food commissary with gluten or dairy products, same goes for applying to The Local Fare. Contact email@example.com for more information!
Not every commissary works for every person. The important thing is knowing and finding what is right for you and making sure you have those needed resources around you to be successful. And whether it be a food business or not, finding your community and people as an entrepreneur is important. As for us who have found our people in Boston’s food scene, we are excited for the emergence of another food community brought to life by Caroline’s Food Revolution.
To check out Caroline Huffstetler’s own health food company, Nutty Life, click here!