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Area chefs get kneaded kitchen space

Two Newport Beach residents create rentable space for those starting out in the cooking world.

May 02, 2013|By Annie Kim
  • Owner Shelby Coffman, right, will sometimes jump in and help clients like Valenza Chocolatier Amy Jo Pedone move chocolate turtles to a pan at The Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa.
Owner Shelby Coffman, right, will sometimes jump in and… (Don Leach / Daily…)

The owners of a small but growing catering business packed their truck full of Costco produce and headed toward a commercial kitchen space rental in Laguna Beach.

The goal: to prepare 200 dinners.

But once they got to the space, Newport Beach residents Shelby Coffman and Christie Frazier found the doors padlocked. The owner, who was in Las Vegas, had forgotten to leave a key.

"All we were to them was additional income," Coffman said of that day three years ago. "We told ourselves, 'never again.' There had to be a simpler way to do this."

An idea for a business was born in their frustration. The longtime friends decided to build a kitchen space that small catering companies, specialty food producers and personal chefs like them could use whenever they wanted.

The Hood Kitchen, which opened earlier this year on Clinton Street in Costa Mesa, features 5,400 square feet of rentable multifunctional kitchen space.

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The open floor plan includes six fully equipped kitchens, five walk-in coolers, nine prep stations, a shipping and loading room and a studio space for filming, demonstrations and classes.

Chef Ryan Wagner, who teaches culinary arts at the Art Institute of Orange County in Santa Ana, uses The Hood to host cooking classes and film instructional videos for his web series, AskaChef.tv.

"I've worked in some other kitchens and typically they're not made to rent out," he said. "You're just kind of in someone else's kitchen."

Chef Rebecca Clubb of Whole Health Everyday, which focuses on gluten-, dairy-, soy- and egg-free meals, said finding time slots in other kitchens is also difficult.

"I think what most people end up doing is what I was doing — working around the schedules for commercial kitchens or restaurant kitchens when it's not in use," she said. "Or you can cook from your house, but that's illegal."

Clients at the Hood can access the space 24 hours a day and reserve kitchens using an online scheduling system, Frazier said.

The company is home to more than 35 clients ranging from bakers, specialty food producers, caterers, cooking instructors and personal chefs.

The Hood sends those who are just starting out to outside agencies like the health department and insurance companies to get the right permits, certification and insurance.

Clubb uses Kitchen No. 6 two days a week and prepares 15 to 20 entrees for each of her clients a day.

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