Kitchen Collab, the first and only member-based commercial kitchen ‘makerspace’ is now open in Truckee, California. Membership offers affordable 24/7 access to workspace, equipment and steward services. Designed to help small culinary businesses grow and thrive, Kitchen Collab provides a collaborative atmosphere where like-minded culinary professionals can collaborate on everything from pop-up dinners and staffing, to accessing wholesale pricing from a variety of local, regional and national purveyors. The building features a drive bay that allows caterers, food trucks and others to conveniently load and unload product into the kitchen space. Private event space, shared work space, and an educational library are also on-site.
“The costs associated with entering the restaurant or food industry are a significant barrier to entry that can be upwards of $500,000,” said Alex Tolger, founder and director of Kitchen Collab. “That can either be daunting or a non-starter — especially for those interested in starting businesses in a mountain community where there are other considerations including the seasonality of visitation, a lack of workforce housing, and the lack of physical space to operate out of.”
Tolger, who got his start in the restaurant industry while in high school, attended culinary school at Western Culinary Institute. He moved to the Tahoe area eight years ago, and while working for five years at Drunken Monkey and one year at FiftyFifty Brewing Company, began to pursue the idea of creating a commissary kitchen space for local culinarians to launch, legitimize and grow their burgeoning businesses.
The 1,800 square foot kitchen space was thoughtfully designed with three hot lines, 11 prep spaces, a 26×10 walk-in cooler and access to 1,200 pounds of ice per day. Of the 11 prep spaces, five have their own refrigeration and two are butcher block bakery spaces with marble inserts. Specialty equipment includes a rotisserie, worktop sheeter, smoker, steam injected bread oven and blast freezer — all of which are available for use by all members. Smallwares and kitchen steward services are provided so culinarians can stay focused on their work and make the most of their time while on-site.
“Our intention is not only to be an incubator that helps small businesses grow, but to give those in the food industry a place to collaborate and potentially form new ideas together that will continue to put the Truckee-Tahoe region on the culinary destination map,” Tolger continued.
Kitchen Collab is now seeking members. Membership is designed to be flexible, ranging from Basic use at 10 hours per month to Premier level at 80 hours per month. Benefits include cold and dry storage options that increase with the level of commitment. Long-term food truck and trailer parking is also available for a separate fee.