Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio
A Black-Owned Food Collective And Market Has Arrived In West Oakland
Reign Free, founder of The Red Door Catering, launched a new business in West Oakland to assist Black chefs and vendors in starting their business. Black Culinary Collective provides commercial kitchen space for small to midsize food and beverage businesses. From home chefs, food truck owners, and more— Reign created BCC to accommodate those business owners looking to make a transition into a full-scale commercial space.
Members of the BCC will collectively share a fully- equipped commercial kitchen, while also being provided with business consultants, networking services, funding opportunities through Oakland’s Black Business Fund— and a mentorship program to ensure the success of their business.
“With restaurants shutting down and pivoting to takeout, I could see that other Black chefs and entrepreneurs were struggling, with many of them lacking access to kitchen space and expertise on how to scale their businesses,” Free said in a statement. “I recognized that not only could I offer these entrepreneurs a place to cook, but we could create a space where emerging culinary entrepreneurs could grow beyond their current station.”
After creating their product at the BCC, they will go on to sell the product at the on-site marketplace. The marketplace acts as a community market, where local residents and market lovers can go and shop local Black-owned products.
Members of the BCC can also receive guidance to build their brand. Services from label development and printing, recipe development, ingredient sourcing, and even packaging are all provided in-house.
Funding from both the Oakland’s Black Business Fund and Chef Reign’s BCC will sponsor 10 members for six months to a year. Reign’s overall goal is to have each business owner be fully equipped to successfully run their own business and acquire their own space after the year is up.
The Black Culinary Collective is the Oakland Black Business Fund’s largest financial partnership to date, and they intend to continue working with Free to create more opportunities for Black food entrepreneurs in Oakland, according to The Oaklandside.
Current members of the BCC lineup include a barbecue sauce producer, tea business, and navy bean pie bakery. The on-site marketplace is set to open to the public in West Oakland in early August.
One of the participants, Kamilah Mitchell of Teas with Meaning, is excited to work with Free.
“Reign is genuinely a solid person that I trust, and that’s hard in business,” Mitchell said in an interview.
To learn more about this amazing initiative and business, visit: blackculinarycollective.com.