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City opens Brooklyn Food Works culinary incubator in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Everything and the kitchen sink: City opens culinary ‘incubator’ in Bed-Stuy

Buzzing: Metabrew co-founders Romy Raad and Natalie Neumann will be one of around a hundred entrepreneurs to use the new shared kitchen at Brooklyn Foodworks.
Brooklyn Paper
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Too many cooks won’t spoil this broth.

The city and Borough President Adams opened a massive industrial kitchen in Beford-Stuyvesant on Wednesday, designed to help fledgling food entrepreneurs turn their pie-in-the-sky ideas into their bread and butter. Dozens of cooks will share the huge new space, but tenants say the concept isn’t half-baked — in fact, they’re looking forward to having so many fellow foodies to chew the fat with.

“We really liked the concept of having not just a kitchen, but a co-working space where you create community,” said Natalie Neumann, who plans to produce her new energy drink Metabrew in the sprawling Brooklyn Food Works kitchen.

The Food Works kitchen will initially host around 40 startups in the old Pfizer chemical plant on Flushing Avenue — where the small fries will be able to use to the facility’s many ovens and mixers for prescribed time-slots each week — and will eventually bring on 100 enterprises.

The taxpayer-funded incubator will also provide business mentors to guide the newcomers, as well as office and classroom spaces so the chefs can bond and trade tips.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, but memberships to the space start at $300 a month, and the businesses can ride the gravy train further by applying for scholarships, so they don’t have to work for peanuts.

Neumann said the new operation is the best thing since sliced bread — she and her business partner couldn’t afford to bring home the bacon if they were paying to rent a commercial galley elsewhere.

“Kitchens in New York are immensely expensive and you have to pay a lot of money up front,” said Neumann, who will start brewing Metabrew — a blend of coffee, cashew butter, and cacao powder — in the facility every Monday starting sometime next week.

But the borough’s big cheese — who pumped $1.3 million into the operation — thinks the investment will bear fruit by helping Brooklyn become the world’s heirloom-grain breadbasket.

“Brooklyn Food Works offers a unique opportunity for aspiring chefs, many of them from the community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, to cook the dishes that will draw diners to restaurants and food trucks in Brooklyn and to prepare the artisanal foods that stock pantries around the world,” said the borough president.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 1:02 pm, February 5, 2016
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