Here is the interview that I had with ABC Action News regarding getting the Cottage Food Act passed in Florida.
Woman hopes state will enact Cottage Food Act to help Floridians that want to bake and sell items.
Largo - Many chefs get started right in their own kitchen.
However, in Florida, it is illegal to cook something at home and then try to sell it.
It is a law that has been really frustrating for Barbara Schmal, so she is trying to do something about it.
Schmal loves creating gorgeous cakes in her own kitchen.
"I just love doing the cake decorating part of it and trying out new recipes and new techniques," Schmal said.
The Largo woman has the tools and the training to create shells, lovely flowers, and creative cakes.
Schmal even has her own website: http://www.krazyaboutcake.com
However, state law makes it difficult for her to pursue her passion.
"The way Florida law reads, you cannot bake in the kitchen that has the living quarters nearby," Schmal said.
Because Schmal's oven is close to her couch, the state says she should find a commercial kitchen to cook. (If she wants to run a business.)
Not every state has that same policy.
Chef superstar, Paula Dean, got her start in Georgia. Dean would cook in her kitchen and her sons would deliver things like chocolate cookies to clients.
Dean quickly outgrew her own kitchen, and eventually landed on television.
Schmal has big dreams too, but just wishes a Cottage Food Act existed in Florida, so she could legally sell the cakes she loves to bake and decorate.
"This would really help a lot of people to make a second income or to supplement the income that they have," Schmal said.
Schmal says she realizes some are concerned about the cleanliness of home kitchens, but if the law changes, Schmal says the Health Department would be responsible for inspecting home kitchens that have proper licenses. Licenses and permits would also cost at home chefs money, which would help bring in money for the entire state.
Schmal recently wrote a number of letters to lawmakers, and some have passed the notes onto others, but because not a lot has happened, Schmal plans to be persistent.
"I'm the type of individual that if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it," Schmal said. "If they're in the state of Florida, they're getting a letter! We want their help to help get this passed, because it would help a lot of the people in Florida."
The Florida Food Freedom Act that would have allowed us to legally bake & sell from home bombed in congress this year. If all Florida bakers wrote to all possible legislators who could help, maybe this would make a difference? Would you like to share your letters & addresses you're writing to? I'll send them also, plus look for others.
I'm just surprised she admitted in a TV interview that she makes and sells cake illegally from her home. She even included her web site to make her business easier for the health department to find.
Regarding how to get lawmakers to pay attention...if home bakers throughout the state organized a march on Tallahassee, that might get some media coverage. Especially if people were handing out free cake.
I admire your persistence and would like to help in any way possible, I'm just starting in the business and are located in South Florida; count on me to work with you on this.
Actually, the suggestion of going to Tallahassee sounds quite interesting, maybe you would consider organizing it.
Please give me instructions on what to do to help. Thank you!
Not from Florida, but admire you the same.