New ‘Test Kitchen’ to help start, develop and sustain entrepreneurs

HONOLULU (KHON2) — As an entrepreneur, starting a small business is a challenge within itself. But when the business deals with food, the challenges only increase. 

Fortunately, at the McCully Shopping Center, a brand-new Test Kitchen will be opening up shortly to help start, develop, and sustain up-and-coming entrepreneurs. 

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So, to find out more, KHON2 spoke with the team.

First, KHON2 spoke with Ken Takebayashi, the project organizer. There is a two-part concept with this kitchen, and Takebayashi is the head of the kitchen side of it.

KHON2 asked: What is the benefit of a certified kitchen for our community and our entrepreneurs?

“Well, the benefit takes off the burden of the investment and the equipment, like the gas oven, the electrical ovens as well, the mixers, the char boilers — just to note,” said Ken Takebayashi, project organizer. “And it gives the community an opportunity to try their own creations, and it also allows them to test our kitchen.  So, that would be the benefit for our test kitchen members.”

Additionally, for entrepreneurs who do sell food, there is also the extra challenge of getting permits because of the certified kitchen. With all of that, Test Kitchen wipes that stress away for their members who participate. 

Nora Bland is the senior vice president of Sofos Realty. She takes care of the cohorts and the retail or storefront of this concept. 

KHON2 asked Nora about what they provide in terms of benefits for licensees.

“What we like to offer is having a place to start, a stepping stone to a business or a product you want to represent or a product you want to try,” explained Nora Bland, senior vice president of Sofos Realty. “Basically it’s a way to get in with no major commitments. You basically have a short term between six months to one year, and you try it out. You try what your heart desires, to do something that you always wanted to do. It’s a time to do it. We provide the space, we provide what you need, and hopefully, this shoots you to go on with your passion. And we also have the open market. We have to be inventive; we have to be creative in this new transition of our whole economy.”

Also, KHON2 spoke with one of the beginning members and licensees, Bronson Chinen.

KHON2 asked Bronson: What is your company and what has been your experience?

“The company that I own, along with two other partners, is called La Bekk Bakery. We currently are in the Ohana Hale Marketplace. It’s pretty amazing to see and know what Test Kitchen is doing and their vision behind their kitchen and the licensee kiosks. It actually provides us with pretty stable foundation for us to test out our business because we are new. Pretty much having that opportunity to stay here from six months up to a year gives us a projection of if we are going to do something with the business or should we just stop. So, it gives us that hope and that inspiration and go out, test our product and see if we got it, and if it’s good, then I hope people love it.”

Bronson Chinen, co-owner of La Bekk Bakery

The Test Kitchen may not be open to the public just yet, but it is open to new members. 

For those who are interested in becoming a new member and/or a licensee, click here.

Check out what’s going on around the nation on our National News page

To sum it all up, the biggest benefit of the Test Kitchen is for entrepreneurs to be creative with their passion, and the food that comes with it.

Christin Hakim

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