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El Pajaro Kitchen Incubator Opens

On July 29, the CAMEO staff attended the Grand Opening of El Pajaro’s Kitchen Incubator.

From The Santa Cruz Sentinel

IMG_1063One bite of a tiny taco stuffed with My Mom’s Mole, and Claudia Viek was sold on the powdered mix created by Cesario Ruiz[see photo left].

“Where can I buy this?” asked Viek, chief executive officer of the California Association of Micro Enterprise Opportunity.

Nowhere, yet. But Ruiz hopes that will change soon.

The Santa Cruz man was one of several aspiring entrepreneurs offering samples of their fare Monday to the nearly 150 people celebrating the grand opening of a commercial kitchen operated by El Pajaro Community Development Corp.

Claudia Viek, bottom center, at the El Pajaro Kitchen Incubator OpeningThe Riverside Drive kitchen’s 10 stations are available for rent on an hourly basis with the goal of giving micro-entrepreneurs a place to cook up success without the overhead of acquiring equipment or leasing more space than they need to get started.

With Watsonville’s unemployment rate of 17 percent in June, double the state average, the kitchen aims to create jobs and economic opportunity, said Jorge Reguerin, vice president of El Pajaro CDC.

“Organic, artisanal, local produce — all these trends have been fomenting here,” Viek said. The kitchen will enable entrepreneurs “to channel all this energy into marketable products.”

Read the entirety of the Santa Cruz piece on the grand opening and the economic benefits the kitchen will bring to the Watsonville community.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos and a video from the opening.