February 13, 2023
With any luck, you have had the chance to saunter through the vast and well-organized aisles of books and lounging areas of the new MCPL Green Hills Library Center. As you did, you may have stumbled across a very peculiar sight taking up much of the south wall. Or you may have heard rumors or whispers of food classes being offered somewhere connected to a library. We are here to confirm the existence of Mid-Continent Public Library’s new Culinary Center at Green Hills!
Construction began on Green Hills Library Center in the summer of 2021, and “Tiney” (our location’s mascot) has been standing proudly outside the branch since August 2022. While Green Hills officially opened in September 2022, the Culinary Center opening has been delayed by frustrating supply chain issues (caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic). Thankfully, the wait is almost over!
The Culinary Center is considered a mission enhancement program of MCPL along with The Story Center, Square One Small Business Services, and the Midwest Genealogy Center. The Culinary Center will be taking a dual approach to its mission enhancement offerings. First, we will be helping Library customers learn about food and cooking, as well as through food and cooking. In our Teaching Kitchen, we will facilitate hands-on cooking classes, virtual cooking classes, and hybrid versions of programs.
Second, we will be educating and helping launch and grow startup food businesses in our two rentable Incubator Kitchens. These spaces allow customers to produce food in a licensed and secured facility, thereby helping them legally sell their product in such places as food trucks, retail locations, catering events, and farmers markets.
As of February 2023, 80 percent of the required equipment has arrived, and the remaining items are expected to be delivered in various stages soon. Since the delivery of the equipment, there has been a motived team of experts working to install and set up the two truckloads of ovens, sinks, mixers, tables, television monitors, stainless steel tables, and many other pieces of commercial-grade kitchen equipment. Closely following the completion of installation, we will be able to begin our licensing process, which includes regulatory onsite inspections from fire safety as well as our local health department. This has us on target for an anticipated opening sometime in the spring of this year, 2023.
A lengthy list of ingredients had to be assembled and mixed for our new Culinary Center to progress from conception to completion. We have slowly watched it gently rise as it has been baking, and now it is almost ready to be taken out and shared with the public. The MCPL Culinary Center team is looking forward to serving you!
Culinary Center Program Manager
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