For two years, Amy Gifford and Susan Whitman of the Richmond Community Kitchen prepared meals in Gifford's home and sold them, CSA-style, to folks who wanted a break from cooking. But the friends had always hoped to expand their business, and when they learned Richmond restaurant Sonoma Station was closing, they decided to move into its former space on Jolina Court.
The women took over the space in June and spent the summer renovating. In mid-September, they began selling fresh and frozen meals Monday through Friday.
On any given day, said Gifford, the freezers are bursting with comfort foods such as chicken pot pie, stromboli, a wide variety of soups, and casseroles such as lasagna. "We always have something paleo, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian," she noted. "It's not meant to be super-fussy food. Just whole foods, cooked from scratch with really good ingredients."
Now that it's up and running, the RCK is ready to share its space, Gifford said. In addition to renting the kitchen and event spaces for parties and gatherings, the duo has launched a series of get-togethers and cooking classes. December will see lessons for kids, sessions on cooking from a farm share, and a class on pierogi-making with Luiza Bloomberg of Luiza's Homemade With Love. The last one sold out in two days, Gifford said.
"We're trying to be really responsive to what the community wants," Gifford added. For her, that means offering "a spectrum of services that help people feed their families and themselves the way that they want to eat."