Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sept 25, 2010. Update 3. Chef Joel Olson's first cooking course was delicious!

Chef Joel presented his first cooking course, Everyday Cooking: Cooking Without a Recipe With Wisconsin Local Foods this month. It was really a cool experience. I was thrilled and I know from people that were there for the full session that they learned a great deal. They also ate very well!

Chef Joel’s next course will be on Saturday Oct. 9th.

This is a quick description of Chef Joel’s presentation:

Learn the techniques and methods necessary to set the foundation for cooking without a recipe. Learn which ingredients to have on hand and how to get away from feeling you are eating leftovers.

The morning portion of the class will cover a large repertoire of recipes, cooking techniques and tips with a meal prepared for you. After a short break, participants will work in groups to prepare gourmet dishes from an array of Wisconsin local ingredients for appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Chef Joel's next course will be Saturday Oct. 9th from 9:30 to 4:30 PM. Join us!

Download the brochure for Chef Joel Olson’s course. Second Saturday of most months.

Wisconsin Innovation kitchen.

Sept. 25, 2010. Update 2. Local entrepreneur grows their business working in the Innovation Kitchen.

We’ve worked to make the Innovation Kitchen a platform for helping existing small food enterprises grow and create jobs.

It’s fun to see this emerging. Two of our four newly licensed Processing Partners are existing small family-based food businesses in Iowa County. The other two are also emerging small food businesses from neighboring counties.

The Innovation Kitchen is making it possible for these local foods entrepreneurs to step it up a notch without the financial risk of building their own facilities and all that entails.

Another great example emerged this week as my friend Julia from Atomic Ice in Mineral Point was able to take on a nice commercial catering contract because of the availability of the Innovation Kitchen as a work-space for she and her team.

We were both running in opposite directions when they were done, but Julia gave the experience rave reviews.

Thanks Julia - the food looked delicious!

Here is another great example of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen helping our existing small businesses innovate and grow jobs.

The great staff at the Innovation Kitchen can also make and ship innovative food products for food entrepreneurs and small food businesses based anywhere in the world.

The Innovation Kitchen is a great economic development story for our entire region. As more of our businesses discover the opportunities available through this amazing platform the better and better this story will get.


Would you like to help grow small food businesses? Spread the word!

Please send the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen link below to friends connected to the food business who may be looking for a way to innovate and expand their enterprise. Have we got a kitchen for them…

Tell a food friend. Thanks for your help!

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Sept. 25, 2010. Update 1. Local foods purchases since July 11, 2010

The Innovation Kitchen is becoming a great local foods asset and a fun economic development story to tell.

In the past, due to limited facilities and budgets, many ingredients in the Hodan Center’s wonderful Farmhouse Recipes line, as well as foods purchased for commercial processing and catering had to be sourced through traditional commercial food sources.

Now that the kitchen is open, many of the foods formerly imported from distant growers are now sourced within our region. New processing projects have also emerged creating new purchases from growers in our region.

This is a tally from the white board in the kitchen meeting room at the end of this week:

Purchased from regional growers since July 11, 2010:

2,400 pounds of rhubarb

3,800 pounds of pumpkins

3,000 pounds of squash

400 pounds of cucumbers

- about to be delivered – 3,000 pounds of broccoli

This is a great local foods / economic development story. It's creating jobs in Iowa County and across our region. The Innovation Kitchen is helping to attract and circulate money back into our local farms and the communities they support.

This really is a fun story to tell people. What is remarkable is all the other important stories that are emerging from the kitchen at the same time.

And the Innovation Kitchen has only been open for 10 weeks.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Food entrepreneurship - Progress at the Innovation Kitchen

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen congratulates our first group of newly-state-licensed food processors!

Our state inspector was in Friday morning to go over the applications of our first food Processing Partners. These are folks who will be processing their own recipes in the Innovation Kitchen.

All passed with flying colors. All 4 are launched and underway.

These good folks represent a wave of new opportunities emerging in food entrepreneurship. They are also representative of the regional impact and opportunities the Innovation Kitchen can help create. Two of the four are existing Iowa County (WI) businesses. One is from Dane County (Madison), and one is from Grant County (Platteville)

One of our Processing Partners, my friend Matt, has already had his foods accepted at a major food store in Madison.

Another of these friends, Mike, set the gold standard for making the most of a community shared kitchen during his test run.

We were able to offer another of these new Processing Partners – Cindy, a wonderful baker - an opportunity to do the baking for a new, recurring order she could legitimately build a nice business around.

From the beginning, we’ve talked of this facility becoming both a processing and marketing kitchen. It’s happening. We are not only attracting innovative food enterprises as you’d expect, but also buyers who are asking us to supply local and regional foods to enhance and grow their businesses.

So, congratulations to our four new Processing Partners – those making their own recipes in the Kitchen!

We also have several excellent Preparation Partners emerging – those that have the Innovation Kitchen prepare their recipes.

This group is the model for the ‘artisan food career’ concept I’ve been proposing.

These Preparation Partners are building business plans around becoming ‘virtual food enterprises’. They will operate the money and management sides of their businesses from where ever they live. All professional food preparation, processing, and distribution can be managed at the Innovation Kitchen.

This alleviates the need for the virtual food entrepreneurs to build their own state-inspected facilities, take all the certification courses, as well as hire and train food processing staff.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is moving forward on all fronts. This is an exciting and fortunate time to be a food entrepreneur.

We can help, train and launch your food enterprise no matter where you live. Join us!

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. Opens in a new window.

Monday, September 06, 2010

An outline of an ‘artisan food career’ package.

We're designing our 'artisan food career' package this year as a test. We are looking for a maximum of 100 partners that can help us refine this program as early-adopters, with all that entails.

That said, the Innovation Kitchen can become a valuable platform for growing and launching innovative food enterprises.

The overview:

All of us know someone who has a wonderful signature recipe that everyone thinks should be taken to market. This ‘artisan food career’ package lets people test that idea utilizing a licensed, insured, commercial food processing plant to prepare and help market their recipes for commercial sale.

The Innovation Kitchen lets people take their best recipes to the next level.

The Innovation Kitchen can help people start and grow their own artisan food enterprises. They can do this from wherever they live and utilize the Innovation Kitchen as their processing facility and support partner.

The offer consists of 12 training and consulting sessions, leading to the launch their own commercial food product line using the Innovation Kitchen as their preparation source.

The training and consulting sessions also lead to a certification in artisan foods management.

The training and consulting sessions are ongoing and can be largely self-paced. We anticipate it may be typical for individual entrepreneurs to complete the twelve training and consulting modules and launch their food enterprises within six to eighteen months.

The Innovation Kitchen is a state-inspected, licensed, fully insured commercial food processing plant. Foods prepared here can be shipped for commercial sale nationwide.

Food possibilities:

People can utilize the Innovation Kitchen to create artisan food careers based around everything from treasured family recipes to their exciting new food innovations that fall within our processing capacity.

Why this is important:

The Innovation Kitchen can fully manage the preparation, packaging, labeling, storage and shipping requirements for the food entrepreneur.

What need does this fill:
This package allows people to develop and test their recipes at commercial scale in a professional, licensed, and insured commercial kitchen. Once the recipe plan is fully developed, the Innovation Kitchen can act as their preparation partner for processing their recipes in a safe, insured environment, with a full compliment of business, sales and distribution services available.

Artisan food entrepreneurs can utilize the Innovation Kitchen to start and grow innovative new food enterprises from wherever they live.

How can I run a food enterprise from where I live using the Innovation Kitchen?

The Innovation Kitchen can act as the ‘virtual processing facility’ for artisan food companies operating from anywhere in the U.S.

A food entrepreneur from Seattle or Vermont or Tucson or Texas could run an artisan food business from their homes with all the preparation and ‘back office’ documentation and logistics supplied by the Innovation Kitchen.

The innovation Kitchen can provide these services to an artisan food entrepreneur:
- purchase and store ingredients to your specifications
- prepare
- package
- label
- store product
- sell at our retail store
- sell on Innovation Kitchen web site
- fulfill (ship) orders taken on your website
- ship nationwide

So, with that in mind, what’s the Artisan Food Career package look like?

For those who receive this package as a gift, or those investing in themselves, people can expect training and support in two key areas:

- business planning support for starting and growing an artisan food career.
(six modules)

- food processing support for preparing and packaging your recipes.
(six modules)

These lead to a certification in artisan foods management. Each entrepreneur can decide in which order they want to utilize each training component.

We recommend you complete the business planning components while you develop your recipe plan. The business planning modules are designed to guide people into homework at their local level that needs to be addressed if you will be opening a new business, or growing an existing one.

Business training is done live online and on the phone. We have small group sessions where people gather on the phone and online for a subject-specific presentation as well as plenty of time for Q&A.

The six business planning modules include the following topics:

• Introduction to small food enterprises

• Planning your enterprises

• Organizing your enterprise

• Managing your enterprise

• Marketing your enterprise

• Capturing enterprise data

The six artisan food processing modules include these consultation and training steps: (These modules can be done through whatever combination of phone, internet and kitchen visits is most convenient for the entrepreneur.)

• Recipe development and consultation

• Purchasing information and support
(ingredient sourcing, plus packaging, labeling support)

• Recipe testing

• Required documentation

• Approved recipe plan

• Graduation and commercial recipe launch!

Graduation and commercial recipe launch will be a celebration! The Innovation kitchen will make the first artisan commercial batches of your recipe according to your recipe plan. For our food entrepreneurs that can visit, we will present them with their Graduation Certificates in Artisan Foods Management and their personalized chef coat. During the inaugural processing batch, we will be able to take many photos for the entrepreneur's web page at the Innovation Kitchen web site and their own web sites. Photos can include the entrepreneur helping process their first commercial batch, applying the first commercial labels, etc.

Completion of all modules qualifies the entrepreneur for a Certificate of Artisan Foods Management from the Innovation Kitchen.

The artisan food career package is a work in progress. If you know of anyone that might enjoy being an early adopter in this great adventure, this may be the best gift you could ever give them. Or don't wait for the gift to come your way. Invest in yourself. Either way we'll limit the first round to 100 food entrepreneurs and innovators.

If you know of someone who would benefit by having this gift presented to them please let me know. Also if you want to invest in yourself get in contact. This will be a great story and a great platform for launching new food enterprises.

Do you know someone with a signature recipe everyone says they should market? Perhaps your own recipe. Help launch an artisan food career for yourself or a loved one.

This year, give the gift of an artisan food career. Give it to a loved one. Give it to yourself.

Link to the Innovation Kitchen's Artisan Food Career page.