I visited my brother at work this week. My brother works for (gasp!) a competitors catering company in our city. He has been bugging me for a while to come down and see their space but I had never been all that interested because truthfully, once you’ve seen one commercial kitchen, you’ve pretty much seen them all. But, on Sunday, when my brother unexpectedly found himself locked out of his car at work, I ended up, somewhat begrudgingly, becoming a member of the rescue team. When we got to where he works, my brother invited us to take a quick tour. Well, what was supposed to be a mildly interesting but mostly insignificant walk around an industrial kitchen turned into a highly significant, fairly mind blowing experience.
For a long time, I had this little seed of an idea in my brain that I never really allowed to take root because I didn’t think it was legally possible (zoning issues, I told myself – not that I know the first thing about zoning…). See, I’ve always wanted to work from home. But, in MN, catering out of your home kitchen is not allowed. You can’t get a license to run a food business unless you have access to a licensed commercial kitchen and they won’t license the kitchen in a home where people may or may not have things like super awesome golden retrievers running around shedding everywhere and dragging dirt, mud, leaves, etc. in from outside (so unreasonable if you ask me). So, I always figured I’d have to settle for “officing” out of my home but would never be able to do the cooking part of catering out of my home – total bummer.
But in the back of my mind, I still always thought, “how cool would it be if I could have a property with the home of my dreams in one spot, and then maybe a little down the road have another building/shed/barn/whatever, that would house a licensed commercial kitchen to which I could walk/skip/cartwheel each morning when I had to go to work.
Some things you should know about me:
- I hate, with an undying passion, sitting in rush hour traffic.
- I’m a night owl and sometimes most productive after everyone else has put work away for the day.
- I totally want all of the amenities of a city, but I really don’t want to live in one full time.
So, the image I’ve had in my mind is that I could somehow get the powers that be to agree to licensing a kitchen in a building on a several acre property where I would also have an awesome house that overlooks a lake, where my dogs can run totally free, and where I can be close enough to get into the city quickly (for catering events, eating out, hanging with friends, spending time with family, shopping, etc.) but where I’m far enough that it sorta feels like I’m on a perpetual cabin retreat weekend. Hardly too much to ask, right?!
Getting back to the tour…
We got to this property that is only about a 30-40 minute drive from the heart of down Minneapolis. There were fields all around…like, legitimate fields with hay bails and farm animals. And when we turned on to the property where this catering company headquarters, we were looking at 3 structures side by side; the main house, what looked like a garage (but turned out to be a small kitchen space used for storage mostly), and a huge shed like the ones on farms that they keep tractors in. But, inside of the huge shed, instead of heavy farm equipment, there was a majorly spacious commercial kitchen.
My mind started racing. Of course, I’d set things up a bit differently, probably move the shed away from the house, add some trees and water to the property, make it a little more secluded and serene – but generally speaking, I was seeing the exact little idea I had had in my head laid out right in front of me in real life.
And all I could think was, I need to re-write my DMP…must start manifesting…