CommonWealth Kitchen Keeps it Fresh

CommonWealth Kitchen Keeps it Fresh

Keep an eye on this food incubator if you’re looking for what’s new and exciting in local food.

It can be tough being a rock music fan in Boston. Yes, we can brag about launching some of the greatest names in rock history. And while we have venues large enough to attract tours from big headliners, we’ve lacked enough medium-sized clubs to draw those not-as-famous national acts. Fortunately, the Hub has always been brimming with musical talent. We’ve also had intimate venues like TT the Bear’s Place and Great Scott hosting local bands as they’re just getting started. And it was easy to find this music through indy publications like The Noise and the Boston Phoenix, featuring reviews of local bands written by local journalists. You could read about up-and-coming acts like The Sheila Divine and Bleu before they outgrew New England. These clubs and weeklies were a training ground, a place to try out new music and bands before they made it big.

Similarly, if you’re looking for what’s new and exciting in local food, keep an eye on the incubators; these organizations help new food businesses in their infancy, giving them kitchen space and business development assistance at the outset. Boston’s CommonWealth Kitchen, a non-profit food-business incubator in Dorchester, consistently helps some of the most interesting and diverse artisan food in our region make it from a pipe dream to your plate.

CommonWealth Kitchen’s mission is to build a new food economy grounded in racial, social and economic justice. Their team is well-suited to the task, each member bringing unique skills and passion to help food entrepreneurs, and they offer a variety of ways to help those looking to start a food business. They can assist cooks in refining and scaling their recipes; designing packaging and labeling; and establishing the financial and legal needs of a business. They can also help existing businesses to grow through contract production and warehousing services, plus they maintain a blog with invaluable tips for starting or growing a food business. Whether you’re launching an innovative food truck or bottling up a family sauce recipe, you’ll find information, inspiration and success stories to learn from.

We at New England Doorstep Market are excited to have connected with CommonWealth Kitchen. We’ve been able to help many of these businesses start selling their products online for the first time or expand their reach into markets beyond Boston and New England. Check out some of our favorite products below.

Photo Credit: Katie Noble

CommonWealth Kitchen is home to Meal Mantra and their exciting curries and chutneys. We can't think of a simpler way to spice up a weeknight meal.

Meal Mantra founders, Tarun and Anu are fitness enthusiasts who share their passion of eating well with their easy sauces and believe sharing exciting culinary experiences binds us all together. Tarun is a medical doctor by training, and Anu, the granddaughter of famous chef Kundan Lal Gujral, is a tireless creator of new culinary delights.

Another CommonWealth Kitchen success story is Hillside Harvest. These hot sauces turn up the flavor first and bring the heat second. These sauces are so good Hillside Harvest is the official hot sauce of Fenway park!

Growing-up, founder Kamaal showed an inherent love for food; watching endless hours of PBS cooking shows and spending the summer hours with his Aunt Elaine in her Egleston Square bakery and Caribbean restaurant.

As his passion for food grew, so did Kamaal's appreciation for the two cultures that raised him. Exposing his family to traditional American dishes or cooking authentic Jamaican dishes for his friends became a normal routine.

Photo Credit: Hannah Packman

Gathering no moss, the ladies at Off Our Rocker Cookies make delicious cookies at CommonWealth Kitchen. Their sweet potato cookies are plant based, vegan, gluten free friendly and come in six fabulous flavors.

These self-described "seniorpreneurs" prove that entrepreneurship isn’t just for the young, but the young at heart. They want Off Our Rocker Cookies to signify more than just a baked goods company; they want to show women in their 50’s and up that reinvention is possible, attainable and rewarding.

Photo Credit: Michael Piazza

CommonWealth Kitchen also boasts 'graduates' such as Mei Mei. Well known for their innovative dumplings, Chef Irene Li teaches dumpling classes via Zoom that can give you the power to satisfy your dumpling-craving no matter when it strikes.

Mei Mei are a sibling-founded restaurant and food truck catering business serving up creative Chinese-American cuisine made from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. They pride ourselves on serving humanely raised meat, produce from small farms, and some of the most creatively delicious Asian American food out there.

Another CommonWealth Kitchen graduate is Sweet Tahini. Focusing on the Middle East’s most nutritious pantry staples and with respect to its simple, minimally processed, and down-to-earth cooking tradition, founder Hila developed a line of sweet goods that carry the region’s distinctive flavors and stories.

Sweet Tahini offers a line of tahini-based chocolates - a fudge-like dairy-free confections lightly sweetened with raw honey. Their signature sesame butters include spreadable halvah, tahini pistachio, and dairy-free cacao spread, and the date rolls dessert collection includes a wholesome mix of fruit, nuts, seeds, and spices.

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Our curated collection of some of the best Makers from CommonWealth Kitchen