The walls are up, the kitchen equipment is in place and the Milam Street KICK- Kitchen Incubator & Community Kitchen – is officially open for slicing, dicing, cooking action. The incubator is a partnership between Southern University-Shreveport and the City of Shreveport’s Department of Community Development and aims to teach business-ready skills to students of all ages. Hundreds came out in the pouring rain Tuesday for the grand opening of the long-awaited incubator/kitchen. A who’s who of elected officials were there to praise the concept and see the finished product as well as a large cross section of the community- from restaurant owners to residents.
KICK’s offerings will be significant. Students will be able to find technical assistance on starting and growing a business, will be able to use a licensed and certified Commercial Kitchen and will receive job training in culinary-related fields. That training will include the all-important social and soft skills in addition to the occupational training. Other offerings will be a “Community Cafe” intended to bring families together around healthy meals, a Culinary Medicine/General Wellness initiative to eventually teach the teachers —the doctors and healthcare professionals— nutrition basics to pass onto their patients.
A Coffee Cafe within the incubator will be managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Shreveport and will provide on the job training in hard and soft skills and last but not least, memberships will allow a variety of options- from use of the expansive commercial kitchen to free cooking and other types of classes. Information on this is still to come.
The Executive Director of the kitchen program is Turaeza Hose, owner and creator of Prep Cakes and a 20-year Air Force chef (retired). Monique Armand, owner of Sassi Catering, has been tapped as the Culinary Training Director.