Heard on Ann Delisi's Essential Cooking

Starting a Successful Food Business Isn’t Easy, But Detroit Kitchen Connect Is Here To Help

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Image credit: Meta Stange/WDET

In this episode of the Essential Cooking podcast, Chef Laura Romito of Detroit Kitchen Connect joins Ann Delisi and Chef James Rigato to talk food entrepreneurship in Detroit’s Eastern Market.

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Courtesy of Laura Romito
Courtesy of Laura Romito

Starting a restaurant or food business is one of the most challenging paths an entrepreneur can take.

A lot of people are excellent cooks, but few succeed in turning that love of cooking into a thriving business.

That’s where Chef Laura Romito and Detroit Kitchen Connect come in.

Detroit Kitchen Connect is a network of industrial kitchens and workshops based in Detroit’s Eastern Market. The kitchens are available for people looking to start a retail food product, or a food service business like catering or meal prep.

In addition to providing kitchen space, Detroit Kitchen Connect provides workshops on topics like food packaging, recipe development and, most importantly, business strategy.

Some people have already started their business, some are just starting out. About one quarter of workshop attendees are ready to start their businesses, says Romito. 

And for food entrepreneurs who aren’t quite ready, Detroit Kitchen Connect provides valuable information and guidance to get them to the next step.

We try to walk the line between inspirational and realistic, because it’s a job,” she says.

Romito says the most common food products people want to build a business around are tomato-based sauces like salsa and barbecue sauce, baked goods and juices. 

Food products that have a high demand and will likely continue to in the future are vegan and gluten-free products. 

In this episode:

  • Detroit Kitchen Connect at Eastern Market
  • Challenges facing food entrepreneurs
  • Most common food products people want to sell
  • The food products with high demand now and in the future

Related stories:
Postcards from Eastern Market: The Certified Organic Farmer

Online Grocery Store Delivers Michigan-Grown Foods

What Will Eastern Market Look Like in Five Years?

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Ann Delisi, Host, Ann Delisi’s Essential Music

Ann Delisi hosts Essential Music, the Essential Conversations podcast series and the Essential Cooking broadcast and podcast. Born and raised in the Motor City, Ann is a broadcaster, interviewer, producer, music host, storyteller and proud Detroiter.

anndelisi@wdet.org Follow @anndelisimusic

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