Hudson Kitchen: Jersey City’s Only Kitchen Incubator

the-hudson-kitchen             photo credit: Tamara Fleming Photography

I was introduced to ‘mompreneur’ Djenaba Johnson-Jones of Hudson Kitchen this past November during the first Midnight Market (http://tinyurl.com/jponulp) and I was immediately impressed. Her perseverance and determination is inspiring. She’s the perfect example of looking around and identifying what is missing in the local community and doing something to fix it.

Upon being laid off from her corporate gig in marketing and business development, she decided to take the opportunity to go after a dream — becoming a personal trainer and starting her own fitness and food concierge service. After becoming certified and acquiring a few clients, Djenaba had hoped on finding a location to begin her meal preparation delivery service but unfortunately she was not able to do so.

Rather than letting that take her down, she came up with a new goal she knew would be beneficial to the growing food business in Jersey City. After struggling to find the resources and information to start her own health and fitness company, Djenaba launched Hudson Kitchen in July of 2015, which is a kitchen incubator, devoted to the development of early-stage catering, retail and wholesale food businesses.

In March 2016, she hosted the first ever ‘Table Talk Live’ networking event, which was open to food entrepreneurs and the press. With 75 food entrepreneurs on hand and industry professionals in attendance, guests benefited from panels such as, “Finding Your Mix: Following Your Dreams as a Food Entrepreneur,” which included local food entrepreneurs: Dawn Pascale, founder of OM Sweet Home, a specialty bakery focusing on plant-based and gluten-free desserts and cakes; Alysis Vasquez, executive chef and owner of Chilltown Kitchen, a Jersey City Chef Collective & Pop-Up Supper Club; Eddie Cotto, Jr., executive chef and owner of ME Casa Restaurant and Catering; Lloyd Ortuoste, co-founder of Baonanas, an artisanal banana pudding company.

Using her background in marketing, Djenaba’s first networking even was a hit, which of course prompted a second Table Talk Live event back in June, titled “How to Market on a Budget”. This past Septembers Table Talk Live event was a speed networking event, where 25 food entrepreneurs got 6 minutes with each of the 17 food experts in attendance.

This was a great collaboration, with some of the food experts being local grocery store owners and buyers for Whole Foods. These events are now part of a quarterly series. The latest Table Talk Live event was held on December 8th.

In addition to their very successful networking events, Hudson Kitchen also hosts workshops for food entrepreneurs. Past workshops included, “The First 10 Steps to Starting a Food Business” and “Pricing Food Product for Profit”.

The upcoming workshop, which is going to be a 7-class series, begins January 24, 2017. Titled, “From Concept to Farmer’s Market in Four Months,” the idea is to help future food entrepreneurs get into the 2017 farmers markets, which begins in May. You have the option of taking all 7 classes or as many as you’d like. All information can be found here.

She’s determined to help future entrepreneurs avoid the same setbacks she did and hasn’t stopped pursuing her initial dream — in 2017, Djenaba will be opening a communal kitchen location, that will be shared by local food businesses in need of food preparation space. For more information, visit http://www.thehudsonkitchen.com/.

xoxo

Jersey City’s First Midnight Market – November 4th 6:30pm-Midnight

Growing up in Jersey City in the early 90’s, I led a typical childhood — going to the mall, movies, and going out to eat with my parents. Occasionally we would drive out of Jersey City looking for some culinary diversity. After living somewhere your entire life, eventually you will have eaten everywhere. Luckily, Jersey City now features some of the most diverse and delicious food establishments, ranging from food trucks, store fronts, and pop-up shops. Nowadays, I don’t have to travel far to satisfy any of my food cravings!

On November 4th, a bunch of those great establishments will be at the first ever Midnight Market, hosted by two Jersey natives and fairly new Jersey City residents, Perla Nieves and Alysis Vasquez. The ladies are best friends, with a combined expertise in social media and hospitality. Alysis is also the owner and chef of Chilltown Kitchen, the JC pop-up supper club. They cooked up the Midnight Market idea together.

“As people in our late 20s, there isn’t much to do in town after dark besides go to a bar or head into the city.  The ideal spot would be a place to go and just dance with our friends, grab some late night bites, sip on an inexpensive drink and just vibe,” says the French Culinary Institute graduate. “Since that space doesn’t exist, we decided to create it ourselves. Tapping into JC’s love of markets and need for nightlife, we came up with the Midnight Market.”

The Midnight Market is going to be a ‘pay it forward’ campaign, focusing on community strengthening and supporting local businesses. “As an exercise in building community and supporting our vendors, we decided to take a shot of grassroots version of kick starter. The vendors agreed to sell food at a $5 price cap. As a community we can support and encourage their hard work by essentially crowdfunding the participation fee ($150 per vendor)! Contributors can choose their favorite vendor or leave it to fate through random selection,” says Alysis.

The event will be held at the increasingly popular Harborside Atrium, located at 210 Hudson Street. I’m looking forward to covering this event — not only do I get to eat delicious, non-expensive food, but I also get to support our community, which is what Jersey City Mom Blog is all about. See ya there!

xoxo

In Mamas Kitchen

Tina and I connected over social media – we are two passionate moms pursuing our dreams, in hopes of inspiring others to do the same. I recently sat down with Tina Rivera, head baker and owner of Baking Mama where we discussed her love of baking and her family.

Hoboken’s quaint new family owned bake shop, Baking Mama, offers a variety of handmade French macarons, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and other baked treats. Tina welcomed me with a big smile from behind the counter, where I can see she was arms deep in dough, baking something I’m sure would be delicious!

One of her bucket list items was to open up her own bake shop. She has been baking from home in her free time since 1994 and just 6 months ago, with the support of her husband, opened Baking Mama. With her two kids all grown-up (tear), her husband reminded her this is her time and she should go for it. When they saw the for sale sign on the front door of the vacant shop, they signed the lease within a week. Sounds like destiny to me.

Open 7 days-a-week, you’re likely to find Tina or one of siblings behind the counter welcoming you with a warm smile. Due to the community’s voice, Tina will soon be opening up for the morning commuters and offering breakfast, treats and drinks.

Additionally, the shop hosts baking lessons for groups of 3-4 people. Sounds like a great girls/moms night out, or even date night! They also host kid lessons. Follow them on Instagram to keep up with all the exciting updates @Iambakingmama.

Tina will be creating Lola’s birthday cake for her upcoming 6th birthday party and I will be sure to post pictures!

xoxo

 

baking-mama-front
Baking Mama is located at 88 Hudson Street

The Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County: Taste of Hudson

I am a major foodie; I don’t mind admitting that I stalk my favorite local food truck vendors. Luckily for me and all the other ravenous foodies, The Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County is hosting their “Taste of Hudson” fundraiser on Thursday, October 6th at the Atrium at the Harborside Financial Center from 6pm-9pm.

I work in this building and I can personally tell you that the venue is beautiful and newly renovated. Lined with marble floors and equipped with Wi-Fi, the atrium is adorned with bright red couches, orange plush stools and bistro seating.

This is a family-friendly event so the whole family can enjoy a night of dining! All children under the age of 18 enter for free. Tickets are $50 per person. Your entry fee entitles you to food and drinks from over 40 local restaurants and vendors.

This is a great opportunity to support Jersey City’s youth, as well as local businesses. The best part of it all is that you get to tantalize your taste buds with food, drinks and desserts from a variety of cuisines. Yum!

With access to the Exchange Place boardwalk directly outside, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a night out before the cold weather creeps in.

Tickets and a full list of participants can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/taste-of-hudson-presented-by-the-boys-girls-clubs-of-hudson-county-tickets-27035141837

Bon Appetite!

xoxo