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Monday, December 5, 2011

Hella Vegan Eats Explains La Cocina's Incubator Program

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge Hella Vegan Eats Sylvee and Tiffany Esquivel.
  • Hella Vegan Eats Sylvee and Tiffany Esquivel.

Hella Vegan Eats has already been up and running in the S.F. Bay Area for awhile. In fact, just this last weekend they were at a Shop Oakland event, serving up Navajo Fry Bread, Orzo with Butternut Squash "Cheddar," Cranberries and Shaved Brussels Sprouts, and the most delectable apple fritters we've ever tasted. Obviously, owners Sylvee and Tiffany Esquivel are an extremely talented duo who want to share their food with Bay Area, and beyond. That's where La Cocina's Incubator program comes in. The year-long program is basically a crash-course in owning and operating your own sustainable food business. They accept very few applicants, but once you're in, it's a one-stop shop for food success.

What exactly does that mean?

Participants receive technical assistance to establish the foundations of their business, have access to affordable commercial kitchen space to grow their businesses's sales, and then hopefully expand their business out of La Cocina's kitchen while keeping ties with the organization to hopefully mentor the next group.

click to enlarge Hella Vegan Eats tamales!
  • Hella Vegan Eats tamales!

Hella Vegan Eats entered the program in September, and will graduate in April. They're currently working on finessing a whole business plans with the help of the staff and volunteers at La Cocina. They visit bi-weekly and sit down to talk about exactly where they see Hella Vegan Eats headed, and how they're going to get there. When they graduate, they'll relaunch their business in the form of a food truck. That's exciting because they're currently cooking in commercial kitchens for events and catering.

Tiffany says the end goal isn't the food truck, though. It's to establish a formula to encourage independent veg food businesses to take root in other cities, as well. "We want to help bring amazing vegan food into Middle America, be pioneers of awesome," she says.

If you're interested in applying for La Cocina's program, check out their website.

Laura Beck is a founding editor of Vegansaurus! and tweets at mrpenguino.

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