Bridge Commissary Kitchen mobilizes to help local chefs, community

Richmond: Commissary kitchen set to open for local foodpreneurs
Michelle Baker of Origin Brewer (on right) and Chef Rebecca Orengo McFarlane (on left) collaborated on Oct. 5, 2019, at the Bridge Kitchen Commissary at Bridge Storage and Artspace in Richmond. (All photos by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

Bridge Commissary Kitchen has announced that it’s open to chefs to prepare to-go food during coronavirus (COVID-19) shelter-at-home orders. Available for rental by licensed caterers, the kitchen is located on the grounds of Bridge Storage and ArtSpace’s “creative compound” at 23 Maine Avenue in Richmond.

During the shelter-at-home period, the kitchen is relaxing some of its administrative requirements, including waiving its $150 non-refundable fee typically charged to new clients. They also plan to relax their normal hourly rental rates, according to Kitchen Manager Phillip Mitchell.

“We’ll have one-on-one conversations with folks to see what they can pay and look at helping them out, particularly if they’re doing it for a good purpose,” said Mitchell. “We want to be a part to helping getting food to the ones that need it.”

Mitchell is currently in talks with Richmond caterer Aileen Suzara of Sariwa, one such chef with altruistic aims. Suzara wants to do a “pay-as-you-can home delivery service for folks that can’t get out, for the elderly or for anyone that has any kind of reason that they can’t get around well,” he said. Mitchell expects to have arrangements with Suzara wrapped up this week so she can begin food preparations and deliveries.

“Ideally, we’d like to have as many folks as we can handle on a logistical basis that are doing exactly what this chef is doing…reaching out to the underserved, doing something for the homeless, doing something for the seniors or for parents with school children that are home all day,” said Mitchell. “So those [customers] will be the ones that we give first priority to with the relaxing of the administrative and our normal hourly fees.”

According to Mitchell, the kitchen has also ramped up its cleaning schedule in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “We have enhanced cleaning systems in place. We used to clean daily or as needed and now we’re cleaning every hour…and making sure we’re keeping the entire kitchen sanitized,” he said.

Bridge’s Commissary Kitchen is set up with state-of-the-art equipment that includes a 32-quart mixer, dual convection oven, 6-burner range, flattop, deep fryer and multiple workstations. The facility also offers customers dry storage and easy load-in/out.

“We want any small business or caterer to know that we are open and that we are here to help navigate this situation,” said Mitchell.

During the shelter-at-home order, Bridge Commissary Kitchen remains open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more info, contact Phillip Mitchell at 415.875.0786 or [email protected].