Kitchen Offers Classes, Work Space And, Soon, A Cafe

By Scott Turner Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "Three Sisters Kitchen" provides commercial equipment and supplies, training, community resources and industry-specific services to support food entrepreneurs as they start and grow their businesses. 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

Three Sisters Kitchen is a place where local farmers can sell products in a Downtown location.

It's also a place where kids can learn to cook, people can learn to prepare healthy meals, and people wanting to go into the food business can learn the tricks of the trade.

And pretty soon, people will be able to come just to enjoy a meal. What the nonprofit food space on Gold Avenue between First and Second streets is doing was enough to attract the interest of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, who was on a "food tour" while Congress is on recess.

"For years, we always thought of agriculture as the North or South Valley," he said. "The fact that they are bringing producers and creating capacity right in the heart of Downtown, I think that's pretty special."

"We want a space where people feel welcome," Three Sisters Kitchen founder and executive director Anzia Bennett said. "We want a place where people feel safe."

Three Sisters Kitchen is preparing for the launch of its cafe next month, but it is already a hub of cooking activity.

"One of our most popular events is the free family cooking classes that Kids Cook offers on first Fridays of every month. It's a part of the Downtown Albuquerque Art Walk," Bennett said. The classes are held from 5 to 7 p.m.

She said there are other classes people in the community can enroll in.

"We have pie-making classes and pasta-making classes," Bennett said. "We do a free monthly cooking nutrition class."

The kitchen has a rack of recipes to follow for people taking the classes. She said each class includes at least one ingredient produced by a local grower. The kitchen has also hosted an evening farmers' market during winter months.

"It's really in line with the direction I think agriculture policy and food production needs to be moving," Heinrich said of the kitchen's activities. "For 30 or 40 years, we set policy that pushed agriculture toward commodities which really made a lot less jobs in the agriculture sector and got people separated from their food in ways that had a negative impact with health consequences such as diabetes."

Bennett said Three Sisters Kitchen has a 15-week business training program, although registration is closed for its current session. The commercial test kitchen provides commercial equipment and supplies, training, community resources and industry-specific services to support food entrepreneurs as they start and grow their businesses. Established businesses are able to rent the kitchen for small-batch production as well.

"We hope to launch 10 businesses a year," Bennett told Heinrich during his tour.

Other groups can also rent facilities for cooking classes, she said.

The kitchen is divided into different spaces. In addition to the test kitchen, cafe and local food store space, there is also a classroom and demonstration kitchen.

Three Sisters will have a launch and celebration of the cafe on Friday, Sept. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. The food store and cafe will open on the following Monday, and will be open Monday through Friday. The cafe will be open initially from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., with plans to eventually be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"Folks will be able to find local produce and local food products as well Monday through Friday," Bennett said. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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