One Question, Four Makers: What was your first week in our kitchens like?

A blog post from Pilotworks

Four Food Makers Answer: What was being in our kitchens like your very first week?

Moving from one kitchen space to another can be daunting, especially when you’re starting in a shared open kitchen for the first time. But with new equipment, new faces, and more space than you could imagine, the possibilities are endless. We asked a few Pilotworks members to think back to their first week in the kitchen. Here’s what they shared.

Brent and Thi, Keepers Coffee Soda: “Our first shift was a night shift. Night shifts are when you can really feel the energy change in the kitchen. Bachata blaring from one end, hip-hop blaring on the other end, and some indie-acoustic song blending somewhere in the middle. We were a little unsure of how to make our product in such large batches, but luckily we got a lot of support from other Pilotworks members. Dank lent us their scale to measure ingredients, Brooklyn Cold Brew (now Lifted) let us use their grinder. We wouldn’t have gotten that far without them. I quickly realized this place was the lifeblood of the local food scene and I had the feeling of, “Yes, I want in.”

I quickly realized this place was the lifeblood of the local food scene and I had the feeling of, “Yes, I want in.”
— Brent and Thi of Keepers Coffee Soda

Matt Swanston, Gooey & Co: “Before coming into the kitchen at Pilotworks, I was working in another kitchen that had a few issues that drastically affected the consistency of our product. Old equipment, lack of a temperature controlled environment, and longer time requirements were keeping my business in a rut. The first week we worked at Pilotworks I was able to see how much more efficiently I could operate my business, with brand new equipment and a more flexible schedule. I immediately was able to break up our baking and packaging shifts allowing us to operate more efficiently and saw more consistency with the product immediately. Because the kitchen hosts so many more entrepreneurs, I also felt more like a part of a community. We all need each other in certain ways and can learn from one another which helps our community grow and inspire others to be a part of it. I love the community that I’m part of at Pilotworks, just as much as the kitchen!”

Tina Diep, Hungry Bird Eats: I remember my first week in the kitchen was a challenge. I had originally expected to make the move to a commercial kitchen with a partner, but had just made the huge decision to go it alone. Aside from trying to find my way around a new place and with new people, moving to a commercial kitchen represented a commitment to making my business real! I hired somebody on the first day to help me find my way around. That day taught me that I had a long road ahead of me, and that I would have to keep going and pushing really hard. But by the end of the first week, I knew that I could do this on my own. It felt right and it felt great. Being in the kitchen is exciting. You never know who is there and what is being created, but you smell every bit of it and you feel the energy of hard working people. I love seeing how different makers approach their production. Being here has allowed me to meet a lot of amazing people and to share experiences with a fascinating community of entrepreneurs.

Being in the kitchen is exciting. You never know who is there and what is being created, but you smell every bit of it and you feel the energy of hard working people.
— Tina of Hungry Bird Eats

Max Kielson, Nomad Trading Co: That first week, I went in a few times to do some work during the day. I remember the first people I met were Jordyn (Better Almond Butter), Brent and Thi (Keepers), and Matt (Gooey & Co). They were all super friendly, but it was also deeper than that. They could relate to the challenges we were facing and celebrate the successes. To this day, Brent and Thi help us out all the time, and I ate some of Jordyn’s amazing almond butter on my oatmeal this morning.

Our first session in the kitchen was an overnight shift, I think from 10 PM to 2 AM. Our process was simple and easy to adapt to the kitchen. Working overnight was an experience. At 10, while we were setting up, the kitchen started emptying out. By 11, it was just us and Caitlin from Dank Banana Bread. By midnight, we were in the zone. We had space to work. The kitchen was quiet, save for the humming of equipment. It was really peaceful. We goofed around a little bit…So much so that we got yelled at by someone on the loading dock (which was totally understandable). It went smoothly and we were pouring kegs at a street festival just a few days later.

If you want to read more about being a food entrepenuer check out Pilotworks page