Hartford’s Thyme Share Provides Space For Rising Chefs
By Kristin Stoller | July 20, 2016
HARTFORD — Local businessman Bruce Hoffman has traveled all around the world, but at 11 p.m., regardless of what city he was in, he would always turn on the Food Network and watch “Iron Chef.”
About three years ago, while watching the show, the Windsor resident had an epiphany, which led him to found Thyme Share, a Hartford-based rental kitchen space for culinary entrepreneurs to start or expand their food businesses.
“The one commonality across every city I traveled to was the culinary genre,” Hoffman said. “Wouldn’t it be wild if every urban city in America had a kitchen stadium where local chefs in the community could come together and celebrate their genres of food?”
Thyme Share, which opened at 485 Main St. in late June, is equipped with a sauté kitchen, bakery kitchen, teaching kitchen and event space — filled with professional-grade cookware and kitchen tools. Burgeoning chefs can rent space in some or each of the kitchens starting at $49 per hour, or for up to a $2,750 flat rate host a culinary event, such as a pop-up restaurant or private meal for potential investors, said Hoffman, Thyme Share’s CEO and co-founder.
Chef Jay Lewis, director of culinary and community relations, said Thyme Share is also a learning institution, as its staff will teach beginner chefs the food safety, knife and money management skills necessary to open their own restaurants.
“We are growing culinary genius, but we are small business incubators as well,” he said. “We are showing individuals or groups, whatever stage they are in their culinary or entrepreneurial journey, how to become operators, how to apply the math.”
The best part, Lewis said, is that the chefs don’t have to clean up. Thyme Share provides a kitchen cleanup crew, as well as staple pantry items, such as dry goods and dairy products.
But the space isn’t just for professionals in the food industry. Elizabeth Hoffman, Hoffman’s wife and Thyme Share co-founder and president, said the space is open for those who may want to cook for private or personal events.
Thyme Share also provides dry storage, freezer and refrigerated spaces for rent, as well as vacuum packaging machinery, Bruce Hoffman said.
Within five years, Bruce Hoffman said he envisions Thyme Shares in every major urban city in New England, and later an expansion across the Eastern Seaboard and Midwest.
In Hartford, the next step is adding paid community culinary classes and charitable events, such as free cooking classes to single mothers, Bruce Hoffman said.
Current Thyme Share clients include West Hartford-based food truck Iron & Grain Co. and Massachusetts-based Authen Food, an organic meal delivery service that ships to Massachusetts and parts of Connecticut.
Jas Maggu, Authen’s CEO, said Thyme Share is a great stepping stone for small businesses and her company will use the space to test recipes and package meals.
“I think having a facility like this where you can rent the facility on an hourly basis is a great way for chefs or small business startups to get going and test the market,” she said. “Thyme Share is really an accelerator for chefs and culinary entrepreneurs. It’s a way to accelerate a business from startup to scale up.”
To reserve kitchen or event space, contact Thyme Share at 860-237-5155 or visit http://www.thymesharect.com.
Originally posted at http://www.courant.com/business/hc-hartford-thyme-share-startup-20160712-story.html by Kristin Stoller in the Hartford Courant, “Hartford’s Thyme Share Provides Space For Rising Chefs”. Published on July 20, 2016, Accessed on July 25, 2016.