Chef launches Black Culinary Collective in West Oakland – The Mercury News

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West Oakland chef Reign Free has opened her catering kitchen, The Red Door, to emerging entrepreneurs as part of the Black Culinary Collective initiative. She is shown here at the facility during an April discussion of community businesses with Vice President Kamala Harris. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
West Oakland chef Reign Free has opened her catering kitchen, The Red Door, to emerging entrepreneurs as part of the Black Culinary Collective initiative. She is shown here at the facility during an April discussion of community businesses with Vice President Kamala Harris. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

An Oakland chef and caterer today announced the opening of the Black Culinary Collective, a partnership with the Oakland Black Business Fund and Oakstop Alliance to provide commercial kitchen space, mentorship and other opportunities to emerging food and beverage entrepreneurs.

Already the incubator is working with two bakeries, a sauce/condiment maker and a tea company, and looking to assist six more ventures.

Reign Free, who has been running a successful catering company called The Red Door since 2006, said a year-plus of COVID-19 business challenges led to the idea for the collective. She herself shifted her business model from catered events to home meal delivery.

“With restaurants shutting down and pivoting to takeout, I could see that other Black chefs and entrepreneurs were struggling, with many of them lacking access to kitchen space and expertise on how to scale their businesses,” Free said in a statement. “I recognized that not only could I offer these entrepreneurs a place to cook, but we could create a space where emerging culinary entrepreneurs could grow beyond their current station.”

The Oakland Black Business Fund has committed to underwriting $50,000 worth of memberships for the collective’s first 10 members. Four Black-owned businesses have already signed on; they are Baby Bean Pie, The Final Sauce, Pound Bizness and Teas With Meaning.

Besides access to the West Oakland commercial kitchen and pop-up market space, the entrepreneurs will receive mentoring assistance and advice on everything from food-handling certification to product distribution.

The collective will host an open house at the West Oakland facilities this summer, then open up a marketplace to the public.

Details: For information on joining the Black Culinary Collective, 2925 Adeline St., Oakland, or helping fund the collective, contact the OBBF at https://oaklandblackbusinessfund.org or the collective at https://blackculinarycollective.com or send an email to [email protected]

Source: Thanks https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/05/05/chef-launches-black-culinary-collective-in-west-oakland/