Commercial kitchen opens at Delray community teaching space

This year’s “Pub at the Hub” on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. will be embellished by the unveiling of Space of Mind’s new Classroom Community Kitchen (CCK). Space of Mind founder, Ali Kaufman, has had this project in the works for years, and the community will finally be recipients of the labors of love that the commercial kitchen will offer.

“Pub at the Hub” is an annual event hosted at The Hub at Space of Mind in Delray Beach. This year’s festivities will be steeped in NOLA adornments to embody the Mardi Gras-themed celebration. Guests can enjoy various appetizers prepared by chefs who have been supporters of the initiative from the start. These community advocates include Chef Blake Malatesta (also the founder chef at CCK), Billy Himmelrich of Old School Bakery, and Jimmy Everett of Driftwood. French Quarter dishes to look forward to include Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Skewers, Crawfish Boil Risotto, Crab Cake Po Boys, Cajun Pasta, Beignets, a Bananas Foster station, and more. Live music and drinks will also be flowing, though it’s unclear if any beads will be earned.

The jewel of the ball is, of course, the much-anticipated reveal of the Classroom Community Kitchen. The commercial kitchen will benefit the school and also the Community Classroom Project (CCP): the non-profit it was created to serve.

Ali shared, “This 1000 sq ft commercial teaching kitchen will help us to more efficiently and educationally provide snacks and lunches to the schoolhouse, camp and afterschool programming for Space of Mind students. It will also be shared with the Community Classroom Kitchen, a non-profit initiative of the Community Classroom Project. CCK programming will include workforce training, culinary entrepreneurship for students and family, community culinary education and events. The kitchen also allows The Hub at Space of Mind to become a full event venue with in-house chefs and a collective of restaurants, chefs, culinary instructors and food entrepreneurs who support the Community Classroom Kitchen.”

The accomplishment is made even sweeter by the conquering of challenges throughout the journey. Construction faced hiccups with the first couple contractors, equipment prices skyrocketed, COVID-19 came and went, and of course the permitting process was no walk in the park. But, unlike a watched pot, Ali and her community partner’s watchful eyes ensured the project’s success.

Partners to thank include Billy Himmelrich (Chef and Owner of Old School Bakery), and Blake Malatesta (Chef of Wine Room Kitchen and Bar), Carlos Gambarini (GM at Dada) and local grantors like Quantum Foundation, Walter and Adi Blum Foundation, Charlie Fund, Wayne Dyer Family Foundation, and Bert and Lisa White Family.

This initiative is sure to brew a flavor of community education in Delray.

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