Tracker Pixel for Entry

Small business incubation

by Tom Bixby | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | March 9th, 2017

Liz Gelardi of the Denver Channel was In the kitchen of the Comal Restaurant, talking to Silvia Hernandez, who was singing as she made tostadas.

Hernandez is inspired by her mother’s recipes, but she receives restaurant training at Comal. ‘"It's not books, it's not reading, you have to do it every day. So it helps me a lot, because when I'm going to open my business, I'm going to be ready,’”

According to columnist Laura Shunk, the restaurant is part of a community outreach program by the Focus Points nonprofit organization. The Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods are the poorest and most blighted in Denver. The program gives low-income women job training, teaching participants skills in marketing, financial literacy, computers, and English, as well as culinary arts, setting the women up to launch their own ventures. Each instruction cycle lasts eight months, and then another group of learners comes into the Comal Heritage Food Incubator.

Executive chef Tim Bender, with experience in some of the best restaurants in Denver, agreed to help the Comal group, “bringing their kitchen skills up to high-quality standards. Upon greeting his team of 15, he said they didn't need much assistance with recipes, rather his focus would be on learning operations, ingredient sourcing, safe cooking, presentation, timing, and standardizing dishes for a restaurant setting.”

Silvia Hernandez and her colleagues make dishes they learned from their mothers and grandmothers. They’re from Mexico, El Salvador, and Peru. Reporter Gigi Sukin found out that 60 percent of all revenue is paid to the women for their time and effort. The other 40 percent covers operations and educational costs.

They use the traditional griddle to cook tortillas, as in Mexico and Central America. The regular menu offers homestyle combo lunch platters, including a choice of soup or salad, one of three daily entrees with rice and beans, and grab-and-go options, such as pupusas, tamales and burritos, and of course, Silvia’s tostadas.

Focus Points is helping the women to plant a garden, with beds for hard-to-find Latin American spices and chiles.

Why are we telling you all this? Do we want you to travel to Denver? Not really. We just couldn’t help noticing what wonderful facilities Fargo-Moorhead has for conducting such a program.

We have the expertise in the North Dakota Small Business Development Centers. Looking at their websites, they seem tech-oriented, but they help other categories as well. They helped Sonja Stromswold get started with Sonja’s Bake Shop in Minot, where she “is preserving those old Norwegian family recipes through homemade old-fashioned delicacies.”

SBDC helped Megan Wold open the Meg-A-Latte Coffee House in Williston, and now she has three locations. In Grand Forks, they prepared Rachael Eider for her presentation with the bank.

It wouldn’t take much, North Dakota SBDC, for you to expand your mission just the least little bit...

We also have some of the best chefs in the Midwest, people who would be successful anywhere. Ryan Nitschke, Andrea Baumgardner -- every time they announce a one-day-only menu they sell out. Eric Watson of Mezzaluna and Rustica. All of them are very busy and haven’t the time for something like this -- but maybe they know someone who does.

MSCTC Professor Eric Daeuber’s smartphone probably has enough in it to organize such a venture!

The last and most essential ingredient: starting last September, we have a number of new Americans from Syria in Fargo.

Syrio-Lebanese is one of the world’s great cuisines. Examples: In the Cities, the excellent Emily’s Lebanese Deli, and the Filfillah Restaurant. The Baraka Pita Bakery in Winnipeg, which also makes delicious shawarma. Some of the best meals we’ve ever eaten, makes us hungry just to hear the names! Hey, we need one here, at least one.

We’re living through a historic tumult, a turning point, and one of the engines running it is the empowerment of women.

Can we be accused of ethnocentrism, lack of respect for Middle Eastern cultures? Frankly, my dear, we don’t give a damn. Most of the women coming here need more than empowerment; emancipation is a better way to say it. We can help.











Recently in:

CANNON BALL - Joint Terrorism Task Force agents contacted an Indiana activist days after he returned home from Standing Rock’s fight in North Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline.Aaron Pollitt, 28, from Indiana, was charged…

The 48th Annual UND Writers Conference, “Citizen,” will take place March 22-24, 2017, at the Memorial Union on UND’s campus in Grand Forks. The Conference will feature authors/artists who contemplate what it means to be a…

Best Bets

​Hand to God

by HPR Staff

March 16-30, 7:30 - 9:30 PMThe Broadway Theatre Garage, 409 Broadway, FargoA dark comedy play about the God-fearing children of Cypress, Texas, who go to a local church and practice their Christian puppet ministry. But when one boy…

In the WNBA, was there ever a team like the 2011 Minnesota Lynx? People argue about it, but we say they’re the best. Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Bronson, Maya Moore, Taj McWilliams-Franklin.The Lynx drew first in…

How can we be so stupid?So here we go again with healthcare costs. Doctors once were paid pigs, chickens, and veggies for delivering babies. But now we have $10 Tylenols, $1,000-a-day pills, $10,000-a-day hospital rooms, $100,000…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

On a cold windy Tuesday night, we wandered into the new downtown establishment Magnolia’s. I was impressed that the new tenant had replaced the garish green exterior of the previous Kitchen Gremlin. A pink and white signage and…

Changes in the presidential administration are always bound to bring out artistic expression, whether supportive or critical. The recently inaugurated Trump administration is no different. It’s safe to say that the 45th President…

Cinema

​2017 Fargo Film Festival

by HPR Contributor

By Kaley Sievert Movies have this magic. An emotional pull that lures audiences into their universe. Filmgoers can get lost in stories painted in dazzling lights, electric colors and robust sounds. They mourn over the hardships of…

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the North Dakota Governor’s Awards for the Arts. Recipients of this year’s awards include a wide range of different artists working in a variety of different methods of expression. A…

When I arrived at the practice space for Tin Roof Theatre in the Moorhead Center Mall for an interview last week the place was decked out with set pieces and stage flats, preparations for their upcoming show. Tin Roof founder…

Humor

What is acceptable comedy?

by HPR Contributor

By Bill LucasYou may wonder about the title. Whenever we hear someone’s opinion I think it is important to know a little about them. We all are offended by many things that are due to our experiences in life. We may be able to…

It was right around this time last year that news articles around the world were spreading fear about a looming hop crisis. Supposedly driven by an overwhelming influx of new brewery startups, as well as the American craft beer…

Shopping can be a stressful experience, especially while looking for healthier food items or trying to decide which supplements you need to add to your regimen. It can be mind-boggling for someone stepping onto the path to a…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

“There is one thing, and only one thing, in which it is granted to you to be free in life, all else being beyond your power; that is to recognize and profess the truth.” – Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within YouThis is…