By David Yamaguchi
For the North American Post
On November 20, the King County Public Health inspector signed off on a new commissary kitchen permit at the Nisei Veterans Committee Hall, 1212 S. King Street, Seattle. As of that date, the kitchen facilities there are up to code for startup small-business food-vendor use. The renovation is a small-business assistance pilot program funded by the Washington State Department of Commerce. It is the brainchild of Kanako Matsumoto and Dale L. Watanabe, who started the small-business assistance program of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington (jassw.org).
As background, if you want to start up a food business, you cannot currently prepare food in your home kitchen, then bring it elsewhere and sell it. Kitchen cleanliness and continuous temperature-control of the prepared food are paramount and required by the King County Health Department.
The kitchen is a part of JASSW’s broader Japanese small-business assistance program. The improvements significantly upgrade the NVC Hall, last remodeled in 2008.
The first business currently in the kitchen door is Onigiri SAZAN. It is a part of Great Rice, which imports rice from Yamagata Prefecture, north-central Japan. Top local sushi restaurants use their rice.
The JASSW Commissary Kitchen at NVC Memorial Hall is open to other minority businesses using the facility on a space available basis. It is set up to accommodate three small businesses at a time.
Potentially interested businesses should start by filling out the small-business contact form at jassw.org.