The duo behind Costa Mesa’s The Hood Kitchen knows a thing or two about growth. In 2013, Shelby Coffman and Christie Frazier—both formerly at Tapenade School for Cooking in Newport Beach—opened O.C.’s first-of-its-kind incubator space for growing culinary brands and creatives. “Opening The Hood was a turning point for the Orange County community,” shares Coffman of the facility that she says “changed the game” for many area chefs and restaurateurs by offering a clean space to work, network and develop their businesses. “From having Red O become a part of our Hood family of clients to seeing Valenza Chocolatier become one of the most awarded chocolatiers in Orange County to watching Open Gate International—led by Deidre Pujols in the kitchens—provide life skills to those in need, The Hood has been blessed with some priceless moments,” adds Coffman.
Outgrowing their 5-year-old 5,400-square-foot facility, Coffman and Frazier expanded in May to a space next door. The new, nearly 10,000-square-foot space supports small-batch and specialty-food producers—clients who do not require a commercial kitchen but do need access to a certified facility. “It will also allow for much-needed business support for clients who utilize The Hood full time and need things like coworking office space,” says Frazier.
While culinary entrepreneurs make up The Hood’s client list, the new space also accommodates groups and events. “We have seen demand grow for multipurpose event space that can support pop-up dinners, team building and cooking classes,” shares Coffman, “so the space will also be a well-suited environment for those types of events.” The Hood plans to celebrate the expansion in September with a communitywide grand-opening event, proving growth is a good thing.