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Food Incubator Grows

cookery I recently received a press release regarding a new wave of businesses in the culinary world: food incubators. The incubators offer rentable commercial food production facilities for all if their members, predominately food truck vendors. Here is the release:


The Cookery, a commercial kitchen for rent by the hour, is open for business

May 16, 2011 — The Cookery, a professional food production facility located on West Chapel Hill Street, passed it’s final inspections on Thursday and is now opening it’s doors to members.

In order to use the facility, a membership to The Cookery is required.  Food entrepreneurs seeking membership can apply online at www.durhamcookery.com .  Once accepted as an official member, The Cookery staff assists in the processes required by the Durham County Health Department, and members can begin cooking.

“We are very excited to welcome our new members,” said Nick Hawthorne-Johnson, owner of The Cookery.  “Since we began accepting membership applications on April 19th, we have had a broad range of applicants with innovative ideas for the food industry.  I am eager to see what they create for the Durham food scene.”

The kitchen, which will be open to it’s members 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is equipped with a full professional catering kitchen, four full size commercial convection ovens, 40 and 80 qt. floor mixers, secure storage space in the walk-in cooler and reach-in freezers, food truck cleaning and stocking terminals, and a variety of other food production equipment, as well as personal lockers.  Pricing, which includes monthly and hourly rates with discounts for regular users and nighttime hours, is listed on The Cookery’s website.

For more information about The Cookery, visit www.DurhamCookery.com .

This is a fantastic idea that can help centralize and standardize the production of food truck food. It still doesn’t completely quell concerns about food truck sanitation. Even if a food truck owner uses the facility, how does the Department of Health evaluate the cooks’ grooming, holding temperatures, storage procedures, etc.

The incubator’s About page does nothing to alleviate the problem, either. Why is a guy standing there blowing cigar smoke on a raw piece of salmon? Doesn’t he know this isn’t the proper method for preparing smoked salmon? Is he going to wash that left hand before handling the cigar within it and putting the cigar back into his mouth? (Don’t forget that “24-hour bugs”, almost exclusively, are actually varying degrees of food poisoning.) I am pulling for the creative food truck vendors, but they still need to present more answers about their role with the public health.

  • Zan Caldwell

    Does that photo not look, uh, a little Photoshopped to you? I highly doubt that person works at the Cookery

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