Rick Terrien, founder and chief executive officer of Innovation Kitchen, works with growers around Wisconsin to get their foods to market and helps food entrepreneurs who are looking to scale up recipes to commercial ventures.
Through his relationships with family farms, he buys commodities processed at Innovation Kitchen then sold to areas restaurants that want to feature local ingredients on their menus. The Mineral Point Processing center employs many area disabled workers. A number of food entrepreneurs use Innovation Kitchen to prepare small, artisan-scale food preparation to help build successful commercial brands.
Q. What makes your Innovation Kitchen unique?
Terrien: It’s a kitchen that can help startup businesses as well as local farmers. The foods farmers bring to us can be processed by a professional staff with processes that can extend the life of the product. The kitchen helps create new markets for local and specialty foods. There’s a great demand for regional foods. We are working to bridge the gap between the entrepreneur’s ideas and getting their foods to market.
Q. How are you helping family farms?
Terrien: We help family farms by leveraging their capacity with the output of a professionally managed commercial kitchen and offer a retail outlet for food sales. We help develop new food entrepreneurs and create meaningful jobs for people with disabilities. Wisconsin still has a strong base of family farms with the ability to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. By having a local partner like Innovation Kitchen available, locally grown food can be processed and sold with less spoilage.
Q. What are the key factors in scaling up recipes for an entrepreneur?
Terrien: We help them reduce the complexity of the process and make it repeatable for large production. To scale up a recipe, you have a lot of formidable hurdles, considering such factors as food safety and regulation, marketing, labeling and distribution. We help them with those hurdles and make the process easier.
Learn more about food production in the Madison Region.