OTK is a shared test kitchen + community food court + hands-on food training program that provides refugee and immigrant chefs with a creative, yet structured kitchen environment to develop cultural recipes and share their refined dishes with eaters in a low-risk commercial setting via Oakland Bloom’s monthly night market.
The night market showcases recipes from various cultural backgrounds and provides a learning opportunity for not just aspiring chef entrepreneurs, but for eaters who want to experience unique cultural foods and learn more about our chefs’ cultures and stories. In the weeks leading up to the night market, chef entrepreneurs participate in weekly training courses, workshops, and field trips that focus on areas like recipe development, sourcing ingredients, and networking with suppliers.
Upon graduating, chef entrepreneurs receive free monthly consultation services and a referral list to a variety of resources that will help them in their entrepreneurial journeys. This referral list may include: access to volunteer business consultants, resources for permits/licensing, access to potential startup capital and microloans, as well as ongoing economic opportunities through catering, night markets, farmers market stalls, etc.
Hands-on Commercial Work Experience + Restaurant/Farmers Market Externships + Night Markets
The best way to learn is by doing. As a part of this philosophy, our program is designed to give chef entrepreneurs an inside look into what running a food business is like without the true economic risks of taking a business to market. To give our chef entrepreneurs an even more in-depth experience, Oakland Bloom is working to incorporate paid externships with local partner restaurants and farmers market stalls.
Economic Growth + Income Generating Opportunities
Thoughout OTK and post graduation, we provide ongoing income generating opportunities to offset economic challenges that our chefs may face throughout the program and their entrepreneurial journeys which may include: night markets, food events, farmers market stalls, catering gigs, employment opportunities, etc.
OTK is designed with small cohorts, which provides a real sense of community as chef entrepreneurs work towards their goals together. In addition, we are dedicated to creating a network of support for our chef entrepreneurs through collaborations with nonprofit partners and local restaurant partners to support our chefs in a variety of ways.
We welcome and invite established restaurants and chefs to join us in this effort! Please contact us about getting involved as a vendor/mentor or through externship opportunities!
A big thank you to our photographers: Richard Lomibao, Aurora Jiminez, and Pheobe Yeung for some amazing photos of past pilot events!