When Central City food court Roux Carre (2000 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 504-875-4293; www.rouxcarre.com) opened in 2015, it hosted five food and beverage vendors and acted as an incubator for up-and-coming food entrepreneurs.
That vision is being streamlined through a new four-month culinary accelerator program called Launch Pod, which started in November 2017 and provides support for five culinary concepts while vetting them for potential residency at the market.
The program includes weekly one-on-one business develop- ment tutoring sessions, a culinary-focused workshop series called Mise en Place focused on writing business plans, and a 12-day pop-up showcase at the Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard space. Participating in the program this round are Alma's (www.almanola.com) Melissa Araujo and Pepper Bowen, LocalMenu NOLA's Aaron Washington, Kim Dejan of KD's NOLA Treats (www.kdsnolatreats.com), Diana Beasley of Ms. Beasley's Healthy Catering Co. (www.facebook.com/msbeasleyscateringcompany), and Trinidadian chef Lisa Nelson of Queen Trini Lisa (www.facebook.com/queentrini.lisa).
Starting Jan. 16, the food court will host pop-up showcases for the participants. KD's NOLA Treats will kick off the series.
After the showcases, the program will culminate on March 11 with a collaborative pop-up dinner where Roux Carre will announce which concept will be offered a residency. All the participants will complete the program with a business plan and necessary licenses, permits and insurance to run their businesses, according to Launch Pod organizers.
The market is a project of the Good Work Network (www.goodworknetwork.org), a local nonprofit that raised funds through federal grants, private funding and an Indiegogo campaign. The outdoor food hall was designed as a space where aspiring small business owners could build a following with low costs and low overhead, while receiving training in food service and retail.