La Brasa, Casa B, Ebi Sushi, Dosa N Curry, Meju—Somerville’s globe-spanning restaurants have quickly made the area a veritable haven for foodies who fawn over all types of fare. Recognizing that the diverse flavors that make up the city are part of what makes it a cultural destination, the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development has partnered with Kitchen Inc. and the Somerville Arts Council to launch the Nibble Entrepreneurship Program (NEP).
The eight-week course is meant to “educate and empower immigrants interested in launching culinary careers while strengthening the city’s existing reputation as a hot and diverse food destination.” The NEP pilot program just launched this month with eight participants hailing from Somalia, Brazil, India and Columbia.
“Somerville has become a regional food destination, and our immigrant community is huge part of why we’re increasingly becoming known for our eclectic cuisine,” Mayor Joseph Curtatone said in a statement yesterday. “We have residents from all over the world who create authentic cultural experiences through food, which is a boon to diners—and a boon to our local economy. We want to create pipelines for more immigrants to enter the local food landscape.”
Because the restaurant business is notoriously risky (there’s that oft-cited statistic that most restaurants fail within their first year), the NEP will encourage aspiring culinary entrepreneurs to consider slightly more secure alternatives like retail, catering and hosting pop up shops. Local businesses like Taza Chocolate and Machu Picchu will teach participants restaurant basics like sourcing their food and developing a menu, while Kitchen Inc. employees and city staffers will offer their assistance on a one-on-one basis.
Interested in learning more or applying for the program? Check out the Somerville Arts Council website or contact Rachel Strutt at firstname.lastname@example.org.