Stony Brook University will rent its commercial kitchen at the Southampton campus to the Amagansett Food Institute as part of a business incubator initiative put forth by the local nonprofit.
The incubator, known as South Fork Kitchens, will give those in the business of producing food access to a commercial kitchen to help foster growth in their company. The partnership between AFI and the university will also provide the local companies with small-business counseling and development services.
“The idea is that it’s a home for their businesses,” said AFI’s Executive Director Kathleen Masters. “They can rent in blocks of four hours and produce their product, and be around people who are all working toward the same thing,” she said, explaining being around other businesses can help foster collaboration and ideas.
AFI will operate the kitchen with oversight by Ms. Masters, as well as Carissa Waechter of Carissa’s Breads as coordinator and chef. Ms. Waechter has sold her breads at local Amagansett farms, including Quail Hill Farm, Amber Waves Farm and the Montauk Farmers Market.
Part of the agreement, said Ms. Masters, is to operate a “farm-to-table” lunch café for faculty, staff, and students.
“We want to use as many of the products being produced in the kitchen as possible,” Ms. Masters said of the café. “We want to have local healthy food, which is exactly what the faculty and the students have told us they want here.”
The commercial kitchen includes a tilt skillet, allowing people to produce things in quantity that “they would’ve had to use pots and pans for,” said Ms. Masters, streamlining the cooking process and creating a more efficient process.
The café is slated to be up and running sometime in May, said Ms. Masters.
The kitchen will be open for businesses 24/7 with the capacity to hold up to four businesses in the space at one time, said Ms. Masters. As for the incubator’s participants, businesses must obtain a New York State Egg and Market License in order to operate out of the kitchen.
“[The licenses] are site-specific, so in order to work out of our kitchen, you need that license first,” said Ms. Masters, who, for that reason, couldn’t list what companies were expected to participate since licenses were not yet determined.
“It’s a whole variety of people,” she added. “From fisherman, to bakers, to jam makers, to personal chefs. We’re very excited.”