By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

As preparing food for sale becomes subjected to stricter safety standards in B.C., a drive is underway to build an incubator kitchen in the valley, which, if proven feasible, could serve the public as a commercial kitchen for rent.

The incubator kitchen would serve the valley around the clock, and allow anyone who can cook the ability to offer their food in a farmers market, a cooking contest, or as a manufactured product bound for commercial markets.

But first, the Columbia Valley Food Corridor group must present a feasibility study to the Regional District of East Kootenay.

The whole point of it is to help out people who would like to start food businesses, but it has to be able to run itself, said Lara McCormack, an advisor for the Columbia Valley Food Corridor.

The study will determine if there is a want and need for a food corridor of which the incubator kitchen would be the main feature in the valley, she said. As the co-owner of From Scratch: A Mountain Kitchen, Ms. McCormack said the number of rules to follow in order to sell food is crazy, adding that the Spilli Chilli Cookoff faced many issues earlier this year. In the end, only two contestants entered the event.

In addition to fundraising and cooking for festivals, a public food corridor will give chefs in the valley opportunities for new enterprises.

People will be able to make a livelihood out of this kitchen, she said.

There are many hurdles to overcome before the project can come to fruition, but the idea is there and now well see if the demand is there we have something positive to look forward to.

The study is expected to commence in February, and if all goes well, Ms. McCormack said the food corridor is still at least a couple of years away.