Refugees Are Feeding Salt Lake City With This New Takeout Meal Service
The Spice To Go program features a different chef each week and showcases clients of a local food incubator.
A mother from Sudan with her own catering business. A family from Bhutan, gearing up for the grand opening at their brand new restaurant. An Armenian woman selling stuffed baked potatoes at a local farmers market. They all have one thing in common, beyond the fact that they're all relatively recent arrivals to Utah—all have found the tools they needed to grow successful food businesses at Salt Lake City's Spice Kitchen Incubator.
It's a project dreamed up by the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian organization with a sizeable presence in Salt Lake City, the capital of a state with a long tradition of welcoming refugees. The concept is simple, much like you'd find in plenty other American cities—provide professional kitchen space, reduce barriers to accessibility (the Incubator keeps long hours, rental rates are subsidized), encourage those with more talent than resources or business acumen to come in, then step back, and watch the sparks fly.
In Salt Lake, where some newer residents might be starting from scratch after leaving various, far-away home places, the Incubator appears to have had no trouble attracting applicants—Venezuela, Myanmar, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan are just a couple of the countries currently represented on the program roster.
Many of the fledgling entrepreneurs are already making an impact, be it large or small, on the regional food scene, but it was this year's launch of the program's Spice To Go takeout service that is earning the incubator a host of hungry new fans.
Every Thursday, anyone who places an order ahead of time can drop by the kitchen and pick up a ready-made dinner, reasonably priced at $36 for a family of four, $20 for two and $12 for an individual meal; each week the service is offered, a different cuisine is featured. The calendar reads like a whirlwind trip around the world: Kenya, Iraq, Nepal, Jordan, Jamaica, Afghanistan. If, by chance, you're lucky enough to live close by, find the schedule and more details at spicekitchenincubator.org.