Openings and Closings

Adopt-a-Kitchen Program to Help More South Florida Foodies Get a Start in the Restaurant World

​How would you like to roll out in your own food truck? Maybe build a small business baking your grandmother's amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe? Or that dressing all your friends and family just can't get enough of?

For a number of local start-ups, that dream has become a reality thanks to Chrissy Benoit's Production Kitchen in West Palm Beach. 

Benoit knows what it takes to make or break a business in the world of culinary endeavors. From her time working beside Wolfgang Puck to consulting for some of the highest-profile restaurants in Manhattan, Benoit has seen both those that succeed -- and those that fail.

She's also known success in the form of her own establishment, Havana Hideout in Lake Worth, transforming it from a dead-end dive to a nationally recognized, iconic foodie haven deemed worthy of a feature on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Food Network show.

But Benoit's biggest success, by far: helping others to do the same with the Production Kitchen, a fully licensed, "rentable" commercial kitchen facility for those looking to make their way into the restaurant industry -- where almost 90 percent of new ventures never make it past the one-year mark.

"I've seen quite a few [start-up businesses] that don't make it. But nobody loses everything over it here. This is a safe step into [the restaurant] world. It's only as risky as you are determined."
-- Chrissy Benoit, owner of Havana Hideout and the Production Kitchen

The idea came to Benoit when Havana Hideout's food truck, which she affectionately calls "Wanda," became too small to meet her business' growing demand. She expanded operations to an off-site commercial kitchen that -- to date -- supports more than ten start-up businesses sharing the space's four commercial convection ovens, a conventional oven, a flat-top stove, a grill and griddle, a six-burner stove, four walk-in coolers, and three walk-in freezers. 

​It's how West Palm's Curbside Gourmet food truck, local catering companies, and a working mother who makes some pretty incredible banana bread got their start.

"It's all amazing," said Benoit. "It's amazing because they have the money, the space, and the time to make it good. They're not cutting corners from the start to keep overhead down." 

Rent is month to month, so you never feel locked in, said Benoit, and includes individual refrigeration and dry storage lockers. Each renter gets 40 kitchen hours per week for about $6.25 per hour, utilities included (add $2 per month for large refrigeration needs).

Interested in being a part of the Production Kitchen but aren't close to West Palm Beach? No worries! Benoit is also currently involved in a new project she calls her "Adopt-a-Kitchen Program," a partnership between her business and unused commercial kitchen facilities in -- of all places -- local area churches. 

"There are so many of these beautiful kitchens that are never used, and we're making these facilities available for everyone so they won't have to trek all the way to West Palm Beach to be a part of the Production Kitchen," said Benoit. 

To learn more about the project and how you can get involved, visit the website, contact Ginger Benoit at 561-833-3585, or email at [email protected]

Follow Clean Plate Charlie Facebook on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna