Your Culinary Place Finds Winning Recipe Sharing the Kitchen

Todays News

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY SEP 11, 2019

When plans for a catering partnership fell through, Chef Gordon Lippe found himself in need of a hard pivot. Armed with a space in Gulf Gate and his own expertise, he created Your Culinary Place—a commissary kitchen and “chef incubator” where entrepreneurs with foodie dreams can find professional space and equipment to make those dreams a reality. He officially opened on March 1 of this year. He thought it might be a gamble. He started tearing down walls to expand into a second kitchen almost immediately. “I wasn’t even open yet, and someone told someone and it spread like wildfire,” he says. “Before I knew what happened, I already had three or four clients in place.”

And the business hasn’t stopped growing. Now barely open half a year, Chef Gordon just started knocking down another wall to expand into a third kitchen space.

The concept is simple. Plenty of entrepreneurs have food-related ideas, just as many professional chefs have dreams of starting their own business. For both, building out and maintaining a physical space up to legal standards often remains prohibitively expensive. Your Culinary Place leaves those business details to Chef Gordon, while spreading the cost across several entrepreneurs, who all share a kitchen open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, renting only as much space and time as needed. “I break down the high-cost barrier to entry,” says Chef Gordon, and he thinks it’s only the beginning of something bigger.

“Just like Airbnb did to hotels,” he says. “The food economy is getting ready to go through a major shift and disruption, just like every other major business.” In the future he sees, great chefs rely on reputation and UberEats far more than a costly brick-and-mortar.

Currently comprising a hot kitchen, a cold kitchen and 18 clients ranging from a microbiologist who pickles and a single mom who makes nutmilks to a vegan baker, a caterer for a private club, multiple food trucks and a bulk tea company, Chef Gordon plans for the third kitchen space to open by Thanksgiving, and introduce retail space to the enterprise. And by next year, he hopes to see Your Culinary PLace add a fourth kitchen.

Still, he says, the business model remains person-focused, and Your Culinary PLace is not simply a shared kitchen, but a chef incubator, where Chef Gordon supplies not only space, but a helping hand with everything from chopping and mixing to marketing and logistics. “We grow little chefs in the back,” he says, “and one day they’ll grow up to be big chefs.”

Pictured: Chef Gordon Lippe in front of a wall he has not torn down to add space at Your Culinary Place.

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