MrsNancyB1 Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 9:03pm
post #1 of

I'm just dumbfounded.

I've been calling around to local caterers in hopes of being able to rent some time in one of their kitchens so that I can sell my cakes. I found a very friendly lady who owned her own catering company who was willing to rent time to me at a very reasonable cost, but she told me that the Health Department has recently changed their rules about sharing time in a kitchen, and that it's no longer allowed.

I told her that I got off the phone with the Environmental Health Dept yesterday and they suggested I rent with a restaurant or catering company, and she told me that restaurants and caterers fall under a deparment of the HD known as 'food and milk'. She gave me the contact phone number to try and call them and get more information.

I just got off the phone and he told me they don't allow any shared time in restaurant/caterer kitchens. That if I wanted to sell my cakes, the only option available to me was to open up my own business. tapedshut.gif

I'm in disbelief. Here I was trying to get things moving in the right direction only to be met with MORE red tape!!!!

My heart is sinking.

32 replies
auntginn Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 9:18pm
post #2 of

That is so... true. For years now I had been renting space from another bakery, until the hd told both of us the new rules and my insurance company threatened to cancel my policy.

I had to scramble to find another place and it takes a while to get things approved from all the agencies, mostly hd.

I found a location in an industrial complex and converted it to a commercial kitchen. Not all areas allow this, depends what the surrounding businesses are, zoning, expected foot traffic, parking, etc.

Good luck

MrsNancyB1 Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 9:20pm
post #3 of

Thanks for the response.

I just can't believe this is happening. icon_sad.gif

Can you give me an idea of what the cost was to convert space into a commercial kitchen? If you're not comfortable sharing here, would you please PM me instead??

Thank you.

kdehtan Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 9:25pm
post #4 of

Is this for California only...or other states too?! Why are some things so difficult!?

MrsNancyB1 Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 9:33pm
post #5 of

You might need to call your own state HD. I don't know what other states are doing. All I know is my state is a pile of tapedshut.gif for making it SO difficult for anyone to pursue their dreams in the food industry.

It's a sad day for me today. icon_sad.gif

erinalicia Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 3:16pm
post #6 of

I could be wrong about this, but there is a very famous decorator who lives in NYC and she doesn't bake the cakes, but she decorates them in her home. I'm pretty sure it's illegal to have a home bakery in NYC. I think I saw a show on Food Network about her.

Definitely something to check into, though.

auntginn Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 3:25pm
post #7 of

What's the difference if she bakes or does not bake. Food handling is still food handling to me. icon_confused.gif

erinalicia Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 3:30pm
post #8 of

I could see having a food handlers permit, etc for decorating since you're handling the food, but if you are using already prepared icing and fondant for decorating and those items were made in a licensed facility, then it's decorating.... period. She isn't handling raw ingredients. I'm not trying to argue, but it would be something to look into. Paying $25 an hour to bake and decorate.... what's the point? You'd end up paying more than you'd be making especially if you had a very detailed cake and you have to do everything from baking to decorating in a rented facility. It's not cost effective.

becky27 Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 3:33pm
post #9 of

it is very hard here in CA...and it cracks me up still to hear people say "omg you should open your own business"....i just laugh it off and say thank you for the compliment...then you have the persistant ones who don't stop and then i have to break it down...just exactly how hard it is to do...i am so sorry for you!!! i wish you lots of luck!!!!

auntginn Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 3:34pm

Ok, I understand that. Since states vary and our food handlers permit is one that everyone must get if you work in an industry where you handle food. i.e., restaurant, bakery, kitchen, etc.

erinalicia Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 3:43pm

I'm lucky to live in NC where it is easy to get legal to sell from home, but I don't know that I actually want to deal with all that is involved to start a business. I'm just not good at that sort of thing. Plus I have an indoor therapy dog for my son, so it's out of the question anyway.

I do cakes for friends and family. Some months I have more to do but then I can go several months without doing a cake, doesn't seem worth it to go to the trouble.

I know what you mean though... People just throw out "you should open a bakery" like it's the easiest thing to do. LOL If they only knew!

CakeDiva73 Posted 22 Oct 2009 , 6:08am

Is this true? Has anyone been able to prove this or get some website verifying? Because if this is true, it puts a whooooole lot of vendors out of business. Do you know how many CC people rent space from commercial kitchens in order to be legal?

I just recently lost mine and was going to go out in the next day or two to approach businesses about renting but if this is true, I am buying a bottle and calling it a day.

Ruth0209 Posted 22 Oct 2009 , 7:12am

Wow, that sucks. What a stupid regulation. I can get behind strict regulations that I don't like if I can understand the logic behind them, but I don't get the point of this one. One more reason why I love where I live.

itsacake Posted 22 Oct 2009 , 7:39am

I'm sharing space with another baking business and the health department just sent me my renewal, so this does not seem to be the rule in the California county I'm working in. I'm about to build a kitchen in another county and I've got someone who wants to share space with me as soon as it is done. She has talked to the health department and so far no one has told her this is not possible. The law is the law statewide, but different counties seem to interpret differently. I've been surprised by the differences in fees as well--but that is another story...

cakesdivine Posted 22 Oct 2009 , 3:51pm

Found out here recently that Harris County, Tx changed their rules about this as well, and no longer allows shared kitchen space. That is the only county I know of in TX that forbids it, but it could be more ever since the "Baker's Bill" came to light. The HD's are hopping mad, and it seems they are trying to make it even harder for cakers to become legit, and squeeze more money out of everyone.

I am hoping that other counties won't follow suit, there are many of us who are purposely building or have built incubator kitchens (shared kitchens) specifically to help other food businesses get off the ground. If my county ever changes this or the State of Texas decides across the board to change this, we are going to loose our businesses.

stephandsteveyoung Posted 22 Oct 2009 , 4:14pm

I have a commercial kitchen in CA (Ventura County) and had not heard of this regulation. Not sure where you are located, but would if you still need a facility- give me a call.

WykdGud Posted 22 Oct 2009 , 4:33pm

California is changing all kinds of rules in order to make more money because it's going bankrupt. I am a resident in both California and another state and was actually living in the other state but still registering my car in CA because of the military exemption (my hubby is stationed here). This has been fine for 4 years. This year, however, when I came to town to register, I was told that not only did the fees double, but I had to have CALIFORNIA based insurance since they wanted to keep more money in California. There's no way I'm going to change my insurance because I'm getting an amazing deal in the other state since it's combined with the homeowner's policy too. They told me it's OK to register it to an out of state address (they still get their fees!), but my insurance was no good - despite the fact that I have WAY over the minimum requirements.

California sucks...

auntginn Posted 22 Oct 2009 , 5:29pm

Isn't that crazy! Yes, I agree that CA is getting out of control.

Had you heard this one. Los Angeles (not sure if this is state wide or not) has had an enforcement team for many years dealing with state codes for property. This last year though this "team" suddenly is making their presence. They are going property by property and inspecting them for violations. Commercial, industrial, residential non excluded. It is something else to have the government come to your home and tell you what is allowed and what is not in your own home.

cakenewbe Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 7:59pm

Has anyone heard of any updates on this? I called the HD 2 days ago and was told the same thing that they do not give licenses if you are renting from a church, coffee shop, donut shop, incubator, etc. She specifically said that you have to open your own place.

Im completely stuck. how are places like Chefs Kitchens (incubator) operating then????

Do you just apply for business license and selling permit but not with the health department?

I could use and would appreciate any help anyone is willing to offer.

Thank you all in advance

_christina_ Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 9:29pm

This is very odd to me. I just delivered my HD permit application and they said "Just make sure you have your verification of commissary". And I did. I rent a commercial kitchen that is JUST a rentable kitchen, no other business connected to it but there are a number of other chefs using the space.

Weird...can I ask what parts of CA you guys are in?

I'm in El Dorado County and Sacramento County.

SugarBoy Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 9:54pm

The post might be a bit old (October 2009) but the previous poster brought it up to the for-front - just hours after talking with someone willing to do some trading once I get "legal". Now it looks like my deal will fall through.

It sounds like each county might be different. If you have it at-your-finger-tips-handy, ca you post your county's regs.

Here's what I found for Placer county: http://www.placer.ca.gov/Departments/hhs/env_health/Consumer%20Protection/~/media/hhs/hhs%20%20%20environmental%20health/documents/CPT_CA_Retail_Food_Code_091110_nonlined.ashx . I think this is the right info, but I'm still reading it.

catlharper Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 10:47pm

I'm thinking it's a per county thing. I rent from a local kitchen and have not been told a thing about it. This local kitchen just opened near me so I work part time out of a friends cafe and part time out of this kitchen and neither has told me a thing about this new law. I'm in Sacramento County.

Cat

cakenewbe Posted 27 Jun 2010 , 12:36am

I live in Los Angeles County.
When i was speaking to Nancy at the HD she said that because of cross contamination they are not allowing renting space/time from any place anymore.
I do have a few questions if you guys dont mind me taking up your time.

There is a well know incubator kitchen in Los angeles called Chefs Kitchens and i called them after i spoke with the health department and they said that they had never heard about that. She said that i would be operating under their HD license.
However, there is another commercial kitchen that i am looking at renting and when i spoke to the owner she said that she was aware of that.

My question is, when you found the place that you wanted to rent/share, was the kitchen already licensed by the HD as a commercial kitchen?
And if so, did you file anything with the health department?
And if so, did the health department come out to the location and inspect it before giving you your license? What license was it that they gave you?

If i understand it correctly, even with the well known Chefs Kitchens, all i have to do is file for a business license, sellers permit, servesafe and get insurance and i a good to go??

Sorry for rambling.
I want to do everything legally but all these rules, regulation, laws and processes are confusing and i think i am getting mixed messages.

Thank you again for all your help.

_christina_ Posted 27 Jun 2010 , 3:30pm

I think YOUR business has to be approved by the HD also, not just the kitchen. That's THEIR business. Does that make sense? At least that's the way it seems in my county. I have to get the HD sign off for the business license. They said that since no food prep on site (my home) they could sign off but I needed to get my HD permit from the county my kitchen was in. So off I went.

I recently put in my application and I would assume that, through my many calls, they would have explained to me that since the kitchen was licensed through HD I wouldn't need to be. But that didn't happen. And I explained things very well.

But if the concern was cross contamination I wouldn't think the HD would be less inclined to want to make sure you are properly permitted, etc. I would think they would make the rules more stringent.

Oh yeah, in both of my counties I have to get my HD permit as a caterer, low risk. The kitchen has an HD permit as a Commissary. We pay different fees.

cakenewbe Posted 1 Jul 2010 , 6:23pm

NEW INFO
I just personally spoke with one of the inspectors from Los Angeles County and she said that they currently do not have a process set up to allow/permit renting/sharing kitchen space or incubators.
However, she said that they are working on it and hoped to have it in place by June 1st but that has come and gone.

She said that they are working out the details and should have the process in place within the next few months so people can rent kitchens/incubators legally.

I will check back with her in a month and will post updates as i get them.

Hope this information is helpful, it certainly sounds positive to me.

We shall see

auntginn Posted 1 Jul 2010 , 11:56pm

Thank you Cakenewbe, I'm sure we will all be waiting anxiously for that to come out. It will open so many more doors for a lot of us.

qubanqtee Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 12:08am

San Bernardino county lets you piggy back off of an approved kitchen and you get your own permit based on the kitchen your rentings permit...hope that made sense.

The California Cottage law would be a blessing for us all!

MrsNancyB1 Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 4:12am

I'm in Los Angeles county too.

Cakenewbe...are there any updates???

auntginn Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 6:49am

My fellow Angeleno cakers, and SoCal too, DO NOT expect anything to move on this until after elections and then depending on who gets voted in. I'm not trying to get political here. Its just the way it is. Elections bring out the best and worst of people and while everyone is trying to figue out how to insite more business this is more than likely at the back of the burner.

I my self am within the city limits and their killing me. Wonder if I should move to SB cty. rofl.

cakenewbe Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 5:16pm

Unfortunately i do not have any updates. I have been speaking to Michelle Lecavalier from the HD food and milk dpt. and she keeps telling me that there are no updates on shared kitchens but she has referred me to her boss Jesus Urrutia, but i have not been able to get a hold of him. She has even sent him an e-mail cc-ing me asking him to please call me. I have left him several voicemails but i have not heard anything. I just now called Michelle again and she said the same thing. I told her that i had not heard from Jesus yet (since her e-mail and my voicemails). She said she will try to have another supervisor call me back.

Sorry guys.... i will update as soon as i hear anything.

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