A new, leasable commercial kitchen space is now available in downtown Lubbock.
Lori Owen, owner of Hand of the Cook, said she got the idea for her latest business venture from friends who have a similar facility in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"I love to cook - but I'm not a chef," Owen said. "This gives me an opportunity to be a part of the food world without owning a restaurant."
The 1,200-square-feet space, housed at the Legacy Event Center at 1500 14th St., has multiple conventional and convection ovens, a tilt skillet, 12 stove burners and refrigerator and freezer space. There are also multiple preparation and plating areas.
The kitchen is properly insured and permitted. Users have to have a food handler's license. Owen said there are different rental packages available for various amounts of time, depending on a client's needs. Tenants will have 24-hour access to the kitchen.
Owen said the space is ideal for anyone who has outgrown their kitchen. That could be a person interested in exploring culinary ambitions or a food truck owner who needs more space to cater events. Owen said she will provide the equipment - cooks will provide the talent.
Shared kitchens and culinary incubators are trending in the U.S., mostly in urban areas.
The number of these kitchens nationwide has increased by more than 50 percent since 2013, according to a 2016 report from Econsult Solutions Inc. The report states women made up 53 percent of tenants, and minorities made up 28 percent.
Kimberly Cantu, owner and operator of local cookie shop Sugarista, started her business at home in 2016. Under Texas Cottage Laws, residents are able to sell certain homemade goods from their home, but there are limits.
Cantu said in an email she wanted to be able to sell her cookies online - which is prohibited under cottage law. She partnered with Platform Restaurant, and used their kitchen after hours. She also sold the cookies at the downtown restaurant.
Sugarista opened its own storefront this weekend, but Cantu said based on her experience, she thinks the Hand of the Cook kitchen would be a valuable space for those building their food business.
Owen said she is excited to be a part of people's culinary journeys - and for what is served up next at the Hand of the Cook.