Spice Kitchen Incubator is a project of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and was founded in partnership with Salt Lake County. It is a business incubator that brings together refugees and other disadvantaged community members interested in starting a full or part-time food business. Spice Kitchen Incubator ensures participants receive technical assistance and training, have affordable access to commercial kitchen space and learn the steps to establishing a successful food business.
S.P.I.C.E. – Supporting the Pursuit of Innovative Culinary Entrepreneurs
The National Business Incubation Association defines a business incubator as a comprehensive assistance program targeted to help start-up and early-stage firms with the goal of improving their chances to grow into healthy, sustainable companies.
Entrepreneurs participating in the SPICE Kitchen program develop successful food businesses, preserve their culinary traditions and share their talents with the Salt Lake County community.
The Salt Lake Tribune in December 2012 said of the Spice Kitchen Incubator program: “Incubator kitchen is not in Webster’s Dictionary. But if it were, it might use words like ‘fantastic foreign food’ to describe a program that seeks to teach refugees and others how to succeed in the restaurant business. Oh, and one more thing — it requires a commercial kitchen where trainees can hone their skills.”
SPICE Kitchen Incubator
2180 South 300 West, Unit 102
South Salt Lake, Utah 84115
Meet Our Team
International Rescue Committee - Salt Lake City: Deputy Director, Development & Strategic Initiatives
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Natalie El-Deiry is the Deputy Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City. She brings with her over 14 years of nonprofit administration experience, including fundraising, grants management, volunteer management and developing programs to serve vulnerable populations. Natalie has committed her career to working for social justice with the belief everyone deserves equal economic, social & political rights and opportunities. It is this belief which led her to her work with the IRC working with the refugee community.
Natalie co-founded Spice Kitchen Incubator in 2013 to serve new Americans in achieving their dreams of owning a food business. After finding inspiration in the La Cocina San Francisco Incubator Kitchen, Natalie was committed to bringing a high quality kitchen incubator program to Salt Lake City. Through the program, Natalie has seen firsthand how food truly does speak all languages and hopes the program will continue to add new flavors to our community while bridging cultures and bringing people together.
Spice Kitchen: Program Manager
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Kate has been working with food since she was a child in northern Minnesota. She obtained a degree in Sociology with a focus on food systems in Portland, Oregon. Subsequently, Kate went on to work with cashew cooperatives in Central America and Indonesia developing markets in the United States under Fair Trade Practices. Following that she spent almost a decade in Fairbanks, Alaska developing and operating a food business incubator program for the Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. Kate joined Spice Kitchen in 2016 and really enjoys the new Salt Lake network and diverse clientele as she assists Spice entrepreneurs to "add new flavor to Salt Lake City."
Spice Kitchen: Events & Kitchen Coordinator
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Cooking has been a part of Kali’s life since the age of 10 when she learned how to make her fist meal, Spaghetti with meat sauce. You could say she had a love of international food at a young age and didn’t even know it. Kali’s love of cooking blossomed at the age of 13 when her aunt signed her up for a Chinese cooking class for her birthday. At that time Kali decided she wanted to be a chef.
After graduating from high school she applied to and attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
After graduating from The Culinary Institute in 2009, she traveled to China with a group of culinary students to attend cooking classes in Sichuan Province.
After that she returned home to Utah where she worked at Dear Valley ski resort for one season. She then spent a year working as a line cook at The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.
Next, her career took her to study Italian cuisine at the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Asti, Italy. She studied there for 3 weeks, then was sent on a 2 month internship in Tuscany. She worked in a small family run restaurant in the heart of Tuscany. She then worked at Café Niche in Salt Lake City where she started as a line cook and moved her way up to sous-chef and eventually was the head chef for about a year.
She was ready for a change from restaurant life and that is when she found Spice Kitchen Incubator. Kali has been with spice kitchen for about 3 years now working as the Events and Kitchen Coordinator.
She loves working with Spice Kitchen entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and really enjoys getting to learn from them. During this time she has been able to see great growth in the program and of our entrepreneurs. “These are great entrepreneurs to work with. They make my life brighter and fill my stomach with amazing food from their home countries.”
Spice Kitchen: Marketing and Logistics Specialist
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Jackie came to Spice Kitchen Incubator in 2016 as an AmeriCorps VISTA responsible for growing the program through community outreach and volunteer recruitment. With a background in community education, one of Jackie’s favorite responsibilities is conducting outreach with others from the International Rescue Committee’s Economic Empowerment team.
From a small town in central Pennsylvania, Jackie didn’t have much exposure to diverse food options and considers herself lucky to be part of the Spice Kitchen Incubator program. She has yet to try something from one of the entrepreneurs that she doesn’t like!
Spice Kitchen: Food Business Scale-up VISTA
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Casidhe graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University. She is pursuing a career in the non-profit sector beginning as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She loves to dance, read and cook, and lives to eat good food. Her most daring moment was hiking up Mount Vesuvius, a still-active volcano in Pompeii, Italy. Most of all, she loves to travel and meet passionate and interesting people!
Interested in working with us?
Check out our Get Involved Page for volunteer and employment opportunities