The Kitchen Project is seeking burgeoning food entrepreneurs who are looking to succeed in the industry. The initiative aims to help enthusiastic foodies take their business to the next level by teaching them business techniques and helping candidates prepare for the food industry. The programme also provides participants with access to affordable kitchen space and classroom style sessions designed to help them understand the nuts and bolts of running a business. Candidates are also matched with mentors with vast experience in the food and beverage industry to suit their specific business’ needs.

Since its launch in March 2018, five candidates have successfully graduated and emerged to sell their products at 11 markets, online and in stores across Auckland. While the remaining three are currently in the midst of the 26-week course.

Panuku Development Auckland Commercial Place Operations Manager Connie Clarkson said that spaces are now open for new candidates ready to take a leap of faith with their culinary idea. “The Kitchen Project is on a mission to enhance Auckland’s foodscape by supporting the development of food and beverage with a focus on culture, healthy food and sustainable business practices. Every candidate who has taken part in The Kitchen Project so far has set the bar high in terms of showing how much progress can be made by joining it. We’re looking for more people like them with the same thirst to succeed.”

“Taking part in The Kitchen Project has been an incredible experience. It gives the participants all the tools they need to establish a food company, develop it and bring it to success,” explained Davide Caprara, owner of Italian preserve start-up Luna Pura.

Yvette Brooks, owner of Mexican-inspired salsa business The Red Hot Kiwi Company, said the programme has been an amazing opportunity. “The gratitude I feel towards the organisers, mentors and tutors – and amount of knowledge that has been shared with us throughout this process – blows my mind,” says Yvette. “It’s been a lot to grasp and master in a short space of time, but I’ve been given such a great head-start.”

The initiative has been built by Panuku and ATEED, with support from Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura and Healthy Families Waitakere in conjunction with local community groups. It runs over two modules: a six-week induction followed by 20 weeks of mentoring and kitchen time.