Food industry veteran Kathrine Gregory conceived Mi Kitchen es su Kitchen in 1996, as a time-share rental facility available for up-and-coming food entrepreneurs. However, over time, what has evolved is another business model, which provides extra income to nonprofits that have commercial kitchens that are underutilized.
Kathrine understands the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. In the aftermath of another economic dip, Black Monday (Monday, October 19, 1987), when stock markets around the world crashed, business dried up for her Manhattan-based restaurants. She and her husband decided to sell the businesses.
For the next few years, Kathrine got involved in food service and women’s business associations. She discovered a new love – consulting for startup food manufacturers. This led her to identify the lack of available approved production kitchens as one of the major obstacles to growth.
The seed for her next business began to grow: a kitchen incubator for food manufacturing entrepreneurs. She tested several business models including building the space herself and renting unused space from restaurants, among others. The idea that stuck was renting unused space from nonprofits with commercial kitchens.
Today, Mi Kitchen es su Kitchen now has 50-60 entrepreneurs under contract in three different kitchen incubators in New York City. One nonprofit generates over $50,000 per year in profits, which is used to fund its programs. Kathrine enjoys nurturing entrepreneurs, providing guidance on food safety, license requirements, legal issues, marketing and insurance, and helping them to locate potential vendors. Most of all, former restaurateur takes pleasure in knowing that while she is dishing out advice to her clients, she is also serving the needs of nonprofits throughout the City.
Whatever Mi Kitchen es su Kitchen is serving, I know I’ll want an extra large portion. How bout you?