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Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

MKEKitchen Supports Local Nonprofits and Entrepreneurs

Heroes of the Week

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Kathy Papineau opened MKEKitchen in 2013 to teach people how to prepare healthy food and to support local food entrepreneurs by renting her 1,100-square-foot kitchen at an affordable rate. Papineau, owner of the catering business MKELocalicious and the food truck Soup in a Jar, emphasizes supporting the environment and giving back to the community and economy. She composts to build soil to help keep as much out of the landfills as possible and works with the nonprofit Kompost Kids to dispose of produce and vegetable scraps. She also purchases many of her ingredients from local sources, such as the Riverwest Gardeners Market, Fondy Farmers Market, Alice’s Garden, LotFotL Farm and Outpost Natural Foods to keep money within the community.

Papineau teaches cooking classes to the community as well as nonprofits and community groups. She has partnered with We Grow Greens, which offers teens paid urban gardening internships, and teaches the student participants not only about cooking but financial literacy and team building. She also works monthly with the All People’s Church Soup Kitchen, helped a troop of Girl Scout Brownies make lunches for the Ronald McDonald House and taught a cooking class at Curative Care Network for people with cognitive and physical challenges.

One continual goal for MKEKitchen is to help reduce the 30% of locally grown food being plowed under due to the lack of food-processing facilities by creating a program that helps turn these crops into healthy shelf-stable foods (canned/jarred goods). Papineau says she would love to turn the facility’s parking lot into a food court where entrepreneurs can test market their food products as well. 

For local farmers, organizations and nonprofits interested in partnering with MKEKitchen or entrepreneurs looking to rent a kitchen space, contact Papineau at 414-687-1500 or email kathy.localicious@gmail.com. For more information, go to mke-kitchen.com.