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WeWork For Chefs: How One Coworking Incubator Fuels Food Innovation |

WeWork For Chefs: How One Coworking Incubator Fuels Food Innovation

Inside the 10,000-square foot office, there’s a common room where many of the chefs share ideas. Further in, 10 unique kitchen stations await the future of gourmet meats, snacks, and cocktail mixers.

It looks less like a Martha Stewart set and more like the gritty outtakes of Willy Wonka’s factory; It’s all metal and fluorescent lights, with dozens of cauldrons bubbling and pots simmering vast amounts of soup, jam, or paste. There are convection ovens filled with hundreds of samosas, skillets frying chips, and industrial food processors serving as white noise machines. It’s quite possibly the best smelling– and most distracting–coworking space you’ll ever experience.


Related Video: Here’s A Look Inside The Culinary Minds At Foodworks

“It’s super heterogeneous, we have all different types of companies,” explains cofounder Nick Devane of the 165 brands that have come through Foodworks’ doors since opening in 2016. “There are caterers, ice cream companies, chocolate makers, pastry chefs, and packaged food products. It really runs the gamut.”

Some of these companies produce traditional items like apricot jam or banana bread, but a strong majority aim to introduce new, unique foods to the mainstream market. There’s Malai, an artisanal ice cream company that harnesses exotic Indian flavors and aromatic spices like anise, tamarind, and cardamon. Keepers Coffee Soda is a bubbly, sweet concoction of coffee, soda water, and citrus juice. In the alcohol space, Swig + Swallow produces 4 oz. bottles of fresh cocktail mixers for which you only need add your spirit of choice directly to the bottle. Over 80% of these companies are founded by women and minorities.

It may be #cold and #rainy in #nyc today, but inside we’re whipping up some #yummy #moscowmules with @swigandswallow mule mix and #delicious @ketelone #vodka. You can taste (and buy) our mixers this weekend at the #shwickholidaymarket! 11-7pm we are there both days unless we sell out. Address is 395 Johnson Ave, BK (L train to Morgan) Be there or be ◾️???? #cocktails #mixology #mixers #craft #ginger @gatesgatesgates @aprilwachtel @shwickmarket

A post shared by Swig + Swallow (@swigandswallow) on Nov 30, 2016 at 12:07pm PST

Each company has come to Foodworks at a different stage in their process–some at inception, others a few years in. But they pay for more than just a kitchen; they come for the invaluable guidance and advice Foodworks 75+ mentors provide. If you’re not a major food brand, getting off the ground and out of your (small New York) kitchen can prove difficult at best, and most times, nearly bank-breaking. That hefty barrier to entry, says Devane, costs the food industry countless creativity.

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