A community kitchen opens in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) On Tuesday, The Kitchen opened to bring more food variety to the Roanoke Valley.

Sister Love and her business FatCat Baked Goodies sell homemade goods at the West End Community Market.

She bakes from her very own kitchen but as a business owner she admits she's limited.

"Right now, I can't say I cater. But now that we have The Kitchen, I can say I can cater because it would be made in an inspected facility. This actually lets you become totally legit and now you can go to stores and put your stuff out there for everyone to buy," Love said.

The Kitchen is located in Roanoke's West End neighborhood and it’s a food business incubator and resource hub to support the development of small food based businesses.

It will provide commercial cooking equipment to facilitate large batch production for retail and wholesale.

It's a shared commercial kitchen that people in the neighborhood and culinary entrepreneurs can rent.

Local Environment Agriculture Project (LEAP,) opened The Kitchen after about five years of planning. Executive Director of LEAP Maureen Best explains the purpose for The Kitchen. "This provides a cost effective flexible space for businesses. It decreases the barrier to entry," said Best.

The Kitchen is a licensed commercial kitchen that's 759 square feet. It has a bake kitchen and a hot kitchen and when rented it comes with all the appliances.

Best says it will also be a space for nutrition education. "Whether it's cooking on a budget, how to use fresh produce, or how to can and preserve summer produce so you can eat fresh food year round," said Best.

The Kitchen is also open to farmers, food trucks, and even has a scholarship and training program for low-income and immigrant entrepreneurs.

The Kitchen is located at 1210 Patterson Avenue S.W., Roanoke, VA 24016.

The Kitchen will be open for business starting Wednesday.

For more information on how to apply or schedule a tour email info@leapforlocalfood.org or call 540-632-1360.