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Startups and Serendipity (Pt. 1): The Commissary

Ever since I've moved to Columbus, I've become more intimately aware of and participated more in various crowdfunding efforts. These campaigns in general have ranged from the very practical (needed repairs on the food truck for local Jewish-inspired cuisine purveyor Challah!) to the fanciful (the tweak-your-nose-at-the-crowdfunding-concept Potato Salad campaign of Zack Danger Brown), from the getting your feet wet (the thriving Land Grant Brewing began as a Kickstarter effort under the Oval Brewing banner) to the getting your feet back under you (the Go Fund Me efforts related to the Ohio Deli and Union Street fires in Columbus and Athens, respectively.)

Two recent efforts that both the spouse and I have been quite enthused about involve both a startup and an expansion; this post covers the former.

The Commissary (which I wrote about in this previous post) founded by Kate Djupe, a vehicle that would assist local food-oriented individuals and businesses in starting up, enhancing, producing or experimenting with their product lines or services. The visibility of this campaign was by far less sexy in comparison with the high-flung lark of the previously mentioned potato salad effort, but the eventual groundswell of support pushed Djupe's vision to full funding.

Since its grand opening party in November of 2014, The Commissary has settled into its mission quite well, offering series of classes, pop-up dinners, community events, entrepreneurial and other informational meetings available to all interested parties, coupled with fully equipped kitchens and facilities to fit a variety of needs.

The murals that were still in progress at the time of the grand opening
party were more or less completed by the time of their Fat Tuesday
Po' Boy Party with Chef Lara Yazvac Pipia
The events we have been able to partake in since its opening have proven to be fun and tasty affairs. Chef Lara Yazvac Pipia, owner of Two-Top Consulting and participant in the opening day party Knife Fight (essentially, a variation of cooking competitions like the Iron Chef), provided some yummy goodness to folks on Fat Tuesday in The Commissary's Po' Boy Party pop-up dinner event. Diners were treated to their choice of an artichoke or oyster po' boy sandwich with all the trimmings (red beans and rice, a corn maque choux and bread pudding.) The event was BYOB, so many brought along some adult libations to enjoy with their eats.

Since it was our first time back since the opening day party, we took the chance to see what had been finished up since that visit (the wall murals for the food truck bay) and new developments only hinted at then (the special "Lab" where coffee-roasters and beer-brewers can tinker around with recipes or equipment.)

Dumplings? Why, yes please, especially if it's from Helen.
Shortly afterward, I got the pleasure of participating in a Dumpling Making Class, hosted by Helen Jiao of Worthington's Helen's Asian Kitchen. Helen was an engaging instructor and well-skilled in this fine art, pumping out variations of this creation with lightning speed (plus a few more not hinted at in the instruction sheets) during our couple hours in the kitchen. Many people's first efforts didn't go quite so well, but Helen was there to help and assist we students with a smile, an encouraging word and helpful hints.

Helen showed class participants that the seemingly simple dumpling
is a lot more versatile than one might give it credit for
I had filled up with a quick breakfast before the class, but it probably wasn't necessary considering the sheer number of dumpling variations that were either boiled up or fried from both Helen and her willing students. I definitely left there quite happy, knowing that I had a nice little culinary skill to use in the future, had a full tummy full of delicious dumplings, and had a delightful experience with Helen, courtesy of The Commissary.

For a list of upcoming classes, dinners and other events at The Commissary, please check out this link or check out their web-links below.

The Commissary
1400 Dublin Rd (Marble Cliff)
Columbus, OH 43215
E-Mail: feedback@thecommissarycolumbus.com
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