They say the heart of the home is the kitchen — and that rings true for this culinary coworking space

Culinary Coworking is changing the way food entrepreneurs do business in this city

By Krista Sylvester | January 20, 2022 |5:00 am

Shannon Brooks, founder of the Sweet Cake and Bake Shop, says working out of Culinary Coworking has been an integral part of her business.

Photo: Submitted

Culinary Coworking is serving up a recipe for success at its newly expanded coworking kitchen and it starts with a dash of passion and a teaspoon of innovation. 

From professional red-seal chefs and novice chefs to bakers and pastry artists, Culinary Coworking offers commercial-grade kitchen facilities and equipment for ventures of all shapes and sizes.

Now, the kitchen’s massive expansion — growing from 3,900 to 10,700 square feet — will create even more opportunities for culinary entrepreneurs while also playing a significant role in growing the Alberta food economy, says co-founder and chef Herbert Obrecht, who founded the company with his son Andrew. 

“In 2019, my son and I sat down to talk about the future of my catering business. We felt there was a need for a space like Culinary Coworking in Calgary and decided to test out the concept in the commercial kitchen I had,” Herbert explains. 

“We quickly saw demand for the concept, especially during the pandemic, where we saw a new wave of entrepreneurs looking to launch their businesses after leaving their jobs for one reason or another.”

The shared kitchen and co-working space for culinary entrepreneurs was an instant hit, creating the need to expand the space to be able to make room for more culinary entrepreneurs, Herbert adds. 

Triple the space, triple the opportunity 

Located at 4517 1 St SE, the expanded space is officially open to current and prospective members and will continue to create opportunities for culinary entrepreneurs in the city.

The kitchen is open 24/7, features 20 different zones, and offers a wide variety of commercial equipment that members can use to produce their products. 

More than just a functional kitchen, Andrew says the space is designed to create a supportive community environment where businesses at any stage – from startups to master chefs – can come to collaborate and pursue business success.

“Beyond just launching a coworking space, we wanted to create a community hub to support culinary entrepreneurs in Calgary,” he says. 

“We have created a space where all types of food producers can come together and operate. We truly believe that a rising tide raises all ships, and the collective success of our group of members creates momentum within each business that is a part of Culinary Coworking.”

Tapping into the city’s entrepreneurial fire 

One of the biggest barriers many culinary entrepreneurs face is having access to a certified commercial kitchen to make their products in. Health and safety regulations often make owning your own kitchen a pipe dream. 

That’s not the case anymore, says Culinary Coworking member Sweet Cake and Bake Shop founder Shannon Brooks. 

The sugar artist and cake designer tried another co-working space last year but it just wasn’t the right fit for her. At Culinary Coworking, she’s found a home kitchen where she can blossom and grow. 

“At that time, they just had a small kitchen, but they had everything in place for their expansion,” Brooks says, adding part of the allure of this space is the combined 40 years of experience of the father and son duo. 

“Because they’ve been in the food industry for so long, they know what each one of us needs to help us get our businesses started and get going. They have just about every piece of equipment you could possibly imagine — and more.”

Brooks values the ample refrigeration space and that members can source more space as their business scales and grows. 

“Most people are like, ‘here’s your equipment, here’s your table, do your thing, and get out,’ ” Brooks says. 

“They’re not like that at all. Ultimately, what they want is for everyone that comes through the doors to be as successful as possible, and they’ll do just about anything to help you.”

There are currently 24 members with space for up to 80 total members to join. Members can select memberships that best suit their needs, based on the amount of kitchen time they require.

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Krista Sylvester

Managing Editor at Calgary Citizen

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