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Educational commercial kitchen opens in Yuma

Culinary bootcamp for aspiring restaurant owners - 13 On Your Side's Arlette Yousif reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Arizona Western College (AWC) is partnering with Local First Arizona to bring a unique opportunity to our community.

A cooking bootcamp has arrived in Yuma to bring aspiring business owners the tools and knowledge they need to get started.

The six-week course aims to help food truck owners and other small restaurants to grow their businesses with food safety training, cooking techniques, and business training.

It’s called the Yuma Commercial Kitchen.

Funding was made possible by the Arizona Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and AWC.

“It’s a good opportunity, I think, for all the new entrepreneurs that would like to create their own business, their own restaurants, or their own possible food items that they could sell locally and use local products also,” says AWC Culinary Arts Professor and Yuma Commercial Kitchen Facilitator Robert Gedeon.

Local First Arizona has already implemented this program in Phoenix.

“We have now two incubator kitchens in Phoenix that I’ve been operating for the better part of three and a half years. We are currently incubating 50 entrepreneurs through those spaces, and we’ve graduated a great many more,” explains Local First Arizona Curriculum Consultant Gabe Gardener.

Gardener was approached by Chris Wheeler, a local restaurant owner and Greg LeVann from the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation.

“If you have a vast culinary location, a destination with a lot of choices, everybody sees the benefit. In creating new restaurants and new opportunities, you have a-- you inherently create new jobs and that’s great for Yuma,” says Prison Hill Owner and Yuma Commercial Kitchen Program Administrator Chris Wheeler.

Wheeler says he hopes to expand the program by next year in order to offer the program to more people at a time.

Accepted applicants pay only a $150 deposit, which is refundable at the end of the program.

The bootcamp is expected to begin next Wednesday.

Seating is limited.

Anyone who is interested can apply online.

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Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

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