Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Culinary Incubator Moving

The Colton Studios experiment is over as of July 30th.

The rebuilding of the Kitchen at Colton was an incredible example of individuals and organizations working to build a kitchen for local Recovery School District students for them to work with local cooks and chefs, but now it is basically over before it had a chance to start (at the Colton location).

We are moving on and hope to be up and running in our new location by the new year (and this time we will have a 2 year lease!). There is more to come on that front, with a new blog to be launched soon.

I'm dedicating the rest of the Colton Kitchen blog to the incredible volunteers that came and donated their time and energy to get New Orlean's 1st culinary incubator up and running.

To all those volunteers who gave their time, to all the companies who donated equipment, to the Krewe De Foodre members who worked week after week to make this happen, your work is an investment in the future of this program.

We all proved that we could build a kitchen and feed hundreds of people during the Jazz Fest afterparty at Colton.
Even though our time was not enough to work with the students, we will be working with local high school students in the future and continuing the program that inspired us all to do what we did with the Colton Kitchen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stripped Kitchen

The building of the kitchen has been a roller coaster of inspiration, mixed with dissolution the last three months. I haven't blogged because building a kitchen with no money is a methodical march with few milestones (except the brilliant volunteer experiences).

School kitchens have been systematically stripped of any bit of equipment that would make them useful for anything but reheating food from the hub kitchen. At the beginning of this project I assumed they did this in a passive capacity, but there is so much that has been taken from this kitchen that i have to assume that their goal was to make all school kitchens completely useless for cooking.
I don't know if the transition happened over years, of if someone just came by one day and took all of the cooking tools out of the place, but I can't cook in there. here's a list of what the kitchen had to cook with when I walked in:
4 blodgett convection ovens, 1 huge steam kettle, a steamer... that's it.
what had been there was a commercial dishwasher (the hookups are there), a hobart mixer (they left the attachments), and I'd have to assume, at one time, a stove and refrigeration.
Even the bare concrete floors make the place illegal to cook in.
and there is no fire suppression system which = no open flames.
Our public schools don't have kitchens, they have reheating stations. Which makes it almost impossible to turn them into working kitchens unless one has what we have, a closed school and alot of time.
The experiment continues...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thanks to Viking Range Corporation!!!

Inferno Studios (down the street from Colton) offered us a free Viking Range, if we could move it out - and we did - and it was ours. Susan Spicer called up Viking to see if they could help us get it up and running. They sent their tech guy out, who said is was beyond repair. Then Viking called us up and said they'd be sending us a new one to replace it!!!

Thanks Viking Range, for helping out the Colton kitchen!

The video is of us moving the beast over from Inferno.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Alot Has Happened...
since the last post!

Yes, I am an irresponsible blogger.

The kitchen has had 2 groups of amazing volunteers. First off it was the National Restaurant Association, 150 of them helping throughout the school and about 15 in the kitchen. They did a great job and caught us up on the scraping before the big paint (that will happen in a couple of days). The other group was from Tulane. Again, great job, alota help.
Glen was the foreman both days and did a great job of lineing everyone up. Joe, Eric, Nat, and I rounded out the crew. A couple more service folk are on board the Krewe De Foodre, Coy LeBeau and Cerulleal Satrinine. Coy is a chef and Cerulleal has been reading up on her native poultry breeds (fresh eggs from out back anyone?).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sweat Equity

April's mom, Evette, found us 2 fridges, 2 fryers, and a steamer courtesy of the ARC, New Orleans. We moved the equipment last week. We're waiting for the floors to get finished before they get put in the kitchen.

Hats off to the ARC for donating their unused equipment. Above are some shots of the move.
This is truly turning out to be a 1st person, word of mouth, operation. We have no seed money or support from any foundation. We're just doing it through sweat and help from our friends.
We hope to start writing grants for the kitchen in January - but, with the economy starting to seize up, it's looking like a start-up like ours isn't going to fare too well in the land of very savvy NPO's. We're banking on our blue collar work to make the Krewe De Foudre a viable entity.
We know it's worth it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Equipment donation for culinary program

Donate your unused restaurant equipment to a great cause and write it off as a donation to a program in dire need. We are seeking ALL restaurant equipment for New Orleans 1st culinary incubator and an after school culinary program.
This includes utensils, refrigeration, stove... Anything and everything will benefit us, and be a great year-end tax write off for you.

This program is being built with sweat equity by local professional cooks in exchange for their use of the kitchen as an incubator once the kitchen is completed. These cooks will also be helping out with the after school culinary program “Family Meal”.
Please consider any and all equipment that you may have duplicates of, under utilize, or don't use at all. This is a great chance for you to clean house, get a donation tax write-off, and help a great cause.
Please forward this information to anyone you think may be able to help.
We have the ability to pick up heavy equipment. All donations in working condition please.
Contact David Aman at 504-952-2275,

Friday, December 5, 2008

Family Meal

An after school culinary program for Recovery School District kids.

The “Family Meal” program was conceived from years in the kitchen and my love of the stories that surround food. It incorporates cooking, storytelling, and eating around the table with family – all things that should be the cornerstones of our lives, but don’t happen enough. While other H.S. programs are focused on vocational training, "Family Meal" focuses on basic cooking skills and family time.

Here's a basic outline of the program:

The pilot program will run for 6 weeks, 3 days a week, 1.5 hrs a day. We plan to start this program in March 2009 in the Studio at Colton Kitchen.
Here is an example of a 1 week session:

Day One:
- Introduction of food (Jambalaya)
- A discussion of the dish’s history and how it arrived here, its old world counterpart and how it evolved into the dish we know today
- Personal stories about the dish, likes/dislikes. Who makes the best one in your family?
- Explanation of Ingredients and portions
- Watch a (5-10 min.) video from the local chef who gave the recipe we will be making this week. (Possibly a personal visit).
- Homework – bring a family recipe of the dish from home (secret ingredients excluded).

Day Two:
- Spend time in the kitchen prepping the dish. Each student has a station where he/she organizes and cuts all the ingredients needed for the dish. This teaches the stages of kitchen organization by separating the prep from the cooking.
- Discuss the stories and recipes brought by each student from home.

Day Three:
- Make the dish and send it home with the student. Each recipe will be enough to feed their immediate family.
- The students are required to sit down with their family to eat the meal that night. During the meal they must ask their parents, grandparents, family members, etc. about stories related to the dish (and food in general). They will be given a list of specific questions, but will also improvise. Later that week, they will pick out their favorite story and make an audio or video documentation of the story.
- Each student then adds this story to an archive dedicated to food stories.

If a student fails to show up on the 1st or 2nd day of class, he or she is excused from that week of classes and cannot participate in taking the dish home to their family on the 3rd day.