SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Construction is almost done for the Milam Street Kitchen Incubator.
Originally the kitchen was set to open by October 2018, but weather caused some delays.
The kitchen broke ground back in 2017 with the goal to not only revitalize the Allendale and Ledbetter Heights neighborhoods — but also be a place for culinary entrepreneurs to get hands on training and experience.
In January 2019 we caught up with Darrin Dixon who is the director of small business development for Southern University in Shreveport who said the kitchen would be completed by March 8th.
Unfortunately more weather delays ended up pushing back that opening, but now the kitchen is expected to open around August 27th.
Executive director for the kitchen Turaeza Hose says the kitchen will not only be a place for students but also other tenants and chefs as well.
“We’ll be doing community events like chef tables so we can feature other chefs,” Hose said. "We’re also going to be featuring our local tenants here as well.
Hose says she will focus on moving tenants into the kitchen and helping them get set up as well as finding out what their goals and needs are.
She says having them at the kitchen will help them save money because they will be able to have their own store front out of the kitchen.
Monique Armand will be the kitchen’s culinary training director and will not only help students with culinary skills but also help them with other aspects of their lives.
“We just don’t want to send them into the workforce,” Armand said. “Maybe they need mental help. Maybe they need remedial courses in math. Maybe they need housing, so we’re not just going to say hey you got a job, (and) we’re done. We’re going to give them all the support they need all the way around.”
Millions of dollars have been poured into this kitchen. It was funded by a $1 million Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhoods grant, and also received a portion of a $24 million HUD grant.
With the kitchen almost complete, Hose believes this will be a great tool to kick off developing the rest of the area.
“We have an amazing downtown, and there’s just so many things that we can do here,” Hose said. “I only see this as the beginning of a huge growth of this area.”
Hose says in a few weeks they will begin releasing their applications for students to apply to be a part of the kitchen incubator.
Those interested in learning more or being added to the waiting list can call Southern University at 318-670-9700.
You can also reach out to Armand through email at email@example.com or on Facebook.