WBEZ | Kitchen Chicago http://www.wbez.org/tags/kitchen-chicago Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Shared kitchen wins battle against Chicago red tape http://www.wbez.org/story/bakers/shared-kitchen-wins-battle-against-chicago-red-tape <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Zina_Murray.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A small-business incubator has won a round in a long fight against Chicago red tape.</p><p>Over the last six years, at least three shared kitchens have opened in Chicago. They&rsquo;re for caterers, bakers, confectioners and others who can&rsquo;t afford their own facilities.<br /><br />The City of Chicago still does not recognize the kitchens' business model. That has lead to more health inspections and licensing hassles.<br /><br />&ldquo;When you get these extra regulatory burdens, it&rsquo;s almost like people are throwing a refrigerator on your back and asking you to keep running,&rdquo; says Zina Murray, who opened Logan Square Kitchen in a vacant storefront last year.<br /><br />The city wanted to classify Murray&rsquo;s business as a banquet hall, a designation that would have required her to provide parking.<br /><br />So Murray brought the classification to the city&rsquo;s Zoning Board of Appeals. The board told us this week that it&rsquo;s siding with her.<br /><br />Murray&rsquo;s next struggle is to open, and properly license, an event space to go with the shared kitchen. &ldquo;We need businesses like this to help our economy recover,&rdquo; she says.<br /><br />Chicago zoning officials did not immediately return our calls for comment about the ruling.</p></p> Fri, 26 Nov 2010 02:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bakers/shared-kitchen-wins-battle-against-chicago-red-tape Video: Chicago inspectors trash food at new kitchen http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2010/02/chicago-health-inspectors-trash-food-at-new-kitchen/14438 <p>Maybe it's because I hadn't eaten lunch yet. But I could hardly believe my eyes this afternoon as I videotaped Chicago health inspectors throwing out about 200 servings of fine-looking beef ravioli at a state-of-the-art kitchen in West Town. About a minute and a half in to the tape, check out how fast they dumped the fresh salad that was supposed to go with the ravioli. <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="400" height="300" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9305945&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300" src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9305945&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object> Since Thursday, the inspectors have trashed hundreds of pounds of food at <a href="http://www.kitchenchicago.com/">Kitchen Chicago</a>, a facility shared by 11 small businesses, including caterers, candymakers and artisan bakers. Frances Guichard, food protection director at the Chicago Department of Public Health, says the city found no unsanitary conditions. Guichard says many of the businesses, rather, hadn't labeled their storage areas and lacked receipts for some of the ingredients. None of the tenants, she adds, had received a city license to prepare food for the public. <!--break--> The kitchen's owner, Alexis Leverenz, does have a license and says the city told her the tenants could operate under it. Some of her renters, for their part, insist the city told them it couldn't issue multiple licenses to a single address. Now the tenants have lost food worth thousands of dollars. They're worried about losing clients too. And the city has slapped Leverenz with three citations that could lead to fines and tougher enforcement. "It's ridiculous," Leverenz told me as the inspectors filled her garbage bins with food. "What purpose does this serve?" Plenty, responds Guichard, who calls the paperwork vital for keeping tabs on the food's transport, preparation and storage. "If someone gets sick, you can track it back to the source," she says. At least one of Chicago's neighbors cuts through some of the red tape. Carl Caneva, who manages environmental health for Evanston, says that city allows its sole shared kitchen, Now We're Cookin', to operate under a single license. <em>Find an extended </em><em>audio version of this story at <a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=39904">chicagopublicradio.org</a>.</em></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2010 19:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2010/02/chicago-health-inspectors-trash-food-at-new-kitchen/14438