What they do well is, provide access to better standards and processes for new food businesses to become profitable as well as stick to their social or environmental quality goals. And that’s why I love Wandering Cooks, in Brisbane Australia. A few weeks ago, my brother was between meetings and stumbled upon an alley in the West End of our university town. He saw the reclaimed materials making an old warehouse look like a fun ‘indoors food truck’-type-place (as he described to me). Today we went for lunch and I was delighted to see this hideaway in a downtown city to be boasting great living examples of circular economy and shared services for start ups.
Picture Credit: Wandering Cooks
I met Tanja, a food entrepreneur from Indie Treats who has been a tenant in a shared services (where she uses a back kitchen and front service area once a week) model of Wondering Cooks; who served my brother and I a fantastic sweet potato noodle dish from her father’s Dutch/Malay recipes and a modern (Not too sweet) ‘cookie tower’ which, we went back for second helpings of.
Ash, marketing manager for the enterprise explained the fundamentals to us:
- Food start ups can rent 1) part of a storeroom (for food storage, presentation materials, business back end) 2) a functioning mini kitchen 3) a service and cash exchange point once a week to get their catering or service business off the ground
- Tenants sign up the Wandering Cooks charter which specifically states that tenants use locally sourced foods, and buy meats and products with sustainable and consciously farmed processes (the Wandering Cooks network also introduces the food start ups to these farmers and networks to enable them to access the raw materials directly). Tenants also agree to a low carbon footprint with use of re-usable materials or recycled servicing materials to keep the overall waste and recycling aspect low.
More detailed description of the mission and charter here: https://wanderingcooks.com.au
I have been to many of these ‘sorts’ of shared spaces around the world, and rent out spaces when I need them, like this in Berlin, and love the unique elements of each one; taking on the culture and nature of the city which hosts it and also addresses key environmental issues pertaining to that region. Recycling, and use of more reclaimed materials in hospitality servicing materials is quite an issue in Australia, where I still see massive waste, even in basic hospitality. Wandering Cooks nailed this immediately, as well as added fun elements, like a greeting dog, hosting musicians and poets on a stage for party atmosphere and also had a back office area for the entrepreneurs to be able to ‘work on their business’ as well as ‘work in their business’.
This model touches the circular economy goals of shared spaces, to also pass on access to direct and better quality ingredients, help negotiate cooperative-like buying power with suppliers and also make that ‘group’ effect of everyone striving for both great quality and tasting food, without costing the earth.
Here you can read from Wandering Cooks about Angela, the founder, and what their big vision is https://wanderingcooks.com.au/about-wandering-cooks/.
Picture credit: Wandering Cooks; featuring Angela, Johanna and Ash.
We visited mid morning (before the lunch rush) mid week, and I hear from friends that is a very busy and bustling serene during peak times. Tanja from Indie Foods said she loves coming up with new recipes and ideas, currently working on a hot cross bun cookie tower for the upcoming Easter season and finds that constant source of passion and creation from the clientele and the team atmosphere of the space.
It touched my heart. Wanted to share it with you too. Pl let me know if you know of other great shared spaces where entrepreneurs can pool resources as well as evolve the green economy with delivering great products and services, without being a giant carbon burden. Lyss