Tag Archives: Entrepreneur Space

Queens chef wins Food Network’s ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Brian Redondo

Chef Tomica “Tom” Burke took a leap of faith that made her a Food Network champion.

Burke, a Douglaston resident who grew up in Cambria Heights, came out the victor Sunday on the Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.” She went head-to-head with three other chefs on the reality cooking show hosted by celebrity chef Alton Brown.

“I couldn’t breathe in the morning before we started filming,” Burke said. “Once we got into the studio, it was a totally different ball game. You’re there and doing the best you can. It was very hard; between every round I had no idea what was going to happen.”

Contestants are given $25,000 at the start of the show to bid on the right to sabotage their competition during three rounds of cooking challenges.

In the episode called “Chain of Tools,” Burke had to create her own versions of Cobb salad, enchiladas and layered cake while facing sabotages such as having to mix ingredients in a cement mixer and create her own kitchen out of items within a shopping cart.

Although Burke had received no training as a chef and never enrolled in culinary school, the Queens resident beat her competition Sunday night and took home a total of $8,600 in winnings.

“You have no idea what you can do until you have to do it,” she said.

Burke, however, did not start off as a chef. The 31-year-old graduated from Columbia Law School and, while studying and working in a city law firm, took courses at the Institute of Culinary Education. She then decided to leave the legal profession and opened her own catering company in 2013 called “TomCookery – New Comfort Cuisine & Catering.”

Since then, Burke has been cooking Caribbean and Southern-inspired food, influenced by her grandmothers, out of the Entrepreneur Space in Long Island City. TomCookery caters for any kind of party including weddings, bar mitzvahs and much more.

She said as a new business it was very important for her to take the risk of competing on the show, which she hopes will create more business and recognition for TomCookery.

“I think taking risks is super-important in general,” she said. “You shouldn’t limit yourself, just jump at every opportunity and let life decide what is going to happen.”

For those who want to catch a rerun of Burke on “Cutthroat Kitchen,” the episode will air again on April 26 at 4 p.m. and May 4 at 6 p.m.

For more information on TomCookery visit here.

 

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LIC’s Entrepreneur Space: Helping businesses grow for the past three years


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Entrepreneur Space

For the past three years the Entrepreneur Space in Long Island City has been that light at the end of the tunnel for many aspiring self-starters looking to get into the food business.

The Entrepreneur Space, located at 36-46 37th St., is a 5,500-square-foot food and business incubator available for clients to rent by shifts, on a 24/7 basis, for a “low cost.” The space is administered by the Queens Economic Development Corporation and funded by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

“There are people out there that want to [start] their own business and running a food business legally cannot be done from your home kitchen,” said Kathrine Gregory, founder of the Entrepreneur Space. “What we are doing is we are taking people out of their home kitchen and giving them an opportunity to grow a business [at] their own pace.”

The space offers clients a professional kitchen atmosphere, which includes equipment such as commercial mixers, a hearth oven, small wares and pans, a freezer, and cold and dry storage. Clients bring any ingredients or packaging needed. A client assistant is also available to help the clients with any tasks.

“We always have staff in the kitchen,” said Gregory. “You aren’t in the kitchen by yourself. You don’t have to worry about something going wrong.”

There are also classrooms and conference rooms available to rent for meetings, teaching and small or large events.

Since starting in 2011, over 400 aspiring business men and women, who Gregory calls “food-preneurs,” have come through the Entrepreneur Space. Some realized starting a food business was not for them, while others continued creating their treats.

One business that has been with the space since the very beginning is MitchMallows, which offers handcrafted marshmallows with unique flavors, such as churros and ginger wasabi.

“It was a godsend that the Entrepreneur Space even exists, otherwise a business like mine would have no home,” said Mitch Greenberg, owner and head chef of MitchMallows. “It’s the perfect solution to start up culinary businesses like mine. My business keeps growing and everyone at the kitchen is terrific to work with.”

The Entrepreneur Space celebrated its third anniversary on Feb. 11, with about 40 clients displaying and selling their products.

The celebration’s theme commemorated the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, where the Belgian Waffle made its debut. MariePaule Vermersch, daughter of the originator of the waffle in the U.S., was on hand to make waffles with the requisite powdered sugar, whipped cream and strawberries.

The event was sponsored by Coffeed, Fairway, Fortune Society and Square Wine & Spirits.

“It feels really great, I can’t believe it has been three years,” said Gregory. “The best part comes back to the people who come in with their dreams and now they see a light at the end of the tunnel and they see how they can do it. That’s the exciting part; that’s the inspiring part.”

 

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Marshmallows transformed in Long Island City


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Biting into a fluffy, white marshmallow, Mitchell Greenberg became wonderstruck.

“Gee, I wonder how you make marshmallows,” he thought, examining the squishy mass resting in his fingers.

The sweetness beckoned. Curious, Greenberg bolted to a store, gathering the necessary ingredients: sugar, light corn syrup and gelatin. With Google-found recipes as his guide, the candy novice mixed his first batch.

Delicious.

Over the next few months, Greenberg experimented with flavors. First vanilla, then chocolate, then toasted coconut. As his recipe repertoire grew, he shared the treats with friends and family, who gobbled them up and craved more.

At that moment, they were no longer marshmallows. They were Mitchmallows.

Greenberg, a circus clown turned television set designer turned confectionery connoisseur, crafts creatively flavored, handmade marshmallows from his Long Island City kitchen.

Born in Brooklyn’s Borough Park, Greenberg grew up in suburban Rockland County. Returning to the city years later, he enrolled in New York University’s design program before deferring after several years to attend Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown college. Along with 32 other circus hopefuls, Greenberg studied acrobatics, physical comedy and juggling. In 1971, he graduated from clown college, returning to finish his design degree at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

After graduating, Greenberg designed sets for television shows, creating scenescapes for the “Miss America Pageant,” “The Daily Show,” “Washington Week in Review” and the “Kids’ Choice Awards.”

Clowning granted Greenberg the level of silliness needed to make marshmallows. His design background provided a creative eye towards graphics, logos and a brand look, applying a unique sensibility to create something never seen before.

Vanilla, chocolate and toasted coconut became ginger wasabi and pretzels and beer.

The magic, he says, is seeing what kinds of flavors you can create.

Currently, Greenberg is experimenting with a mimosa flavor – part champagne, part orange juice.

During Thanksgiving, he developed a gravy marshmallow that turned out tasty. For Passover, he crafted a Manischewitz wine flavored treat, called Mallowschewitz, and a horseradish marshmallow, bursting with a unique spiciness.

The chicken soup marshmallow, however, did not work out so well.

After tinkering with formulas for a year, fashioning the ideal marshmallow and perfecting the vibe of the company, Greenberg launched into the public in January 2011 under the moniker Mitchmallows.

“It’s kind of the time for a new era of marshmallow,” said Greenberg. “We’ve been cookied and cupcaked for awhile now and we’re ready for something new. I think marshmallows are the perfect thing to take that place.”

Greenberg concocts his treats in his studio at the Entrepreneur Space, a kitchen-filled colony and home to 200 culinary companies, without which Greenberg says Mitchmallows would cease to exist. From his online store, Greenberg ships his marshmallows to fans all over the country, custom creating candies for college graduations and sweet sixteen shindigs.

Mitchmallows now boasts 36 flavors.

He feels the business has reached the point where his product is ready to be sold wholesale to candy stores and retailers.

Greenberg dreams of owning his own food truck – the perfect vehicle that lends itself to the silliness of marshmallows. On cold winter days, he would serve cups of piping hot cocoa, garnished with a peppermint or chili-chocolate marshmallow. In the summer, patrons could grab gooey s’mores, reminiscent of campfire days.

Candy is memories, Greenberg says, hopeful that soon, Mitchmallows will also be synonymous.

News Briefs: Small Business Workshop in L.I.C.


| bdoda@queenscourier.com


LONG ISLAND CITY –

The Queens Economic Development Corporation will offer workshops and clinics for small business owners this fall. While the clinics are free, workshops will cost $25 in order to cover costs.

Topics covered will include networking, taxes, pricing and compliance with city regulations. The workshops and clinics will take place at the Entrepreneur Space at 36-46 37th Street in Long Island City from 6 to 8 p.m.

Speakers include Bianco Di Salvo, a professor in the marketing department at Fordham University, Gail Roseman, a partner at Sholom & Zuckerbrot Realty, LLC, and Susan Harkavy, an instructor on guerilla marketing at New York Designs.

For more information regarding scheduling, call 718-263-0546 or visit www.queensny.org.

Family Fright Night

FLUSHING –

The Flushing YMCA will hold their Family Fright Night on Friday, October 28 at 138-46 Northern Boulevard. Activities will include a haunted house, costume contest, face painting, dancing, spooky stories, carnival games and more. Call 718-961-6880 for more details.

Fall Festival

FLUSHING –

Councilmember Peter Koo and the Parks Department recently announced this year’s Fall Festival on Saturday, October 29 from 1 until 5 p.m. at the P.S. 20 playground (Union Street and Barclay Avenue). Activities will include free rides, games, pumpkin patch, live entertainment, karaoke and more. To sponsor this event, contact Judy Chen at 718-888-8747.

I.S. 178Q celebrates 16th Anniversary

FRESH MEADOWS –

Councilmember Mark Weprin addressed the students, parents, teachers, and fellow alumni who gathered at P.S./I.S. 178Q, the Holliswood School located at 189-10 Radnor Road in recognition of the school’s 60th anniversary.

“The Holliswood School has provided students with an outstanding education for six decades, and I know that it will continue to shine,” said Weprin.

Talent showcase at Cross Island Y

BELLEROSE –

Auditions are still open for this year’s “Y Kids Got Talent” live event to be held on Saturday, October 22 at 6 p.m. at the Cross Island YMCA, located at 238-10 Hillside Avenue. Anyone with acting, singing, dancing, acrobatics, marital arts or musical talent is encouraged to contact Jamé Cohn at 718-551-9314 or by email at jcohn@ymcanyc.org for audition scheduling information.

Chancellor speaks to ACA

ASTORIA –

New York City Public Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott was the featured speaker at the monthly Astoria Civic Association meeting.

Walcott answered a number of questions from teachers, students and parents from Astoria and other parts of Queens during the hour-long meeting, ranging from the Department’s no tolerance policy for bullying to exploring the possibility of implementing additional gifted and talented programs at Astoria’s middle schools.

The association meets on the first Tuesday of every month at Riccardo’s and features a new speaker and topic. The meeting time has changed to 7 p.m. For more information visit the Astoria Civic Association Facebook page, or call 718-545-5353.