SFI's December 2023 Newsletter

The Official Newsletter of the Street Food Institute

Coming soon...The Barelas Central Kitchen



Still under construction, the highly anticipated Barleas Central Kitchen, in partnership with Homewise, will be completed in Spring of 2024. The 5800 square foot space in the heart of the Barelas neighborhood will be more than just a kitchen. It will be SFI’s new home, a community hub and a place for our graduates and food entrepreneurs to utilize as their commissary kitchen.

This kitchen is not only a symbol for community growth, it will also operate as an educational space. SFI will host its entrepreneurial food management courses here and there is opportunity for community cooking classes and monthly markets. In addition, there are three street facing retail spaces that our students can utilize to test their business concepts.


Want to get involved?



As we move into our new home, we would like to invite the community to get involved. We envision this space as a meeting ground where the community can come together. Enjoy a cup of coffee and eat a pastry in good company. We want people to feel welcome when they walk through our doors.

One way to achieve this is by recognizing members of our community throughout the kitchen and education space. We are excited to announce that we are embarking on a naming rights campaign. We would like to invite individuals, businesses and organizations to display their name in a chosen area and be apart of this community space for years to come.

If you would like to take a tour of the kitchen please reach out to emily@streetfoodinstitute.org.



Student Business Highlight

We would like to introduce Chef Ernesto Torres Lemus. He is a graduate of our entrepreneurial food management course and is the Chef/owner of Sentli. Chef Ernesto specializes in pre-hispanic Mexican dishes and celebrates the use of masa and traditional ingredients. Be sure to follow him on social media @sentliabq for his schedule of pop up events!

“Without the dedicated team at the Street Food Institute, my business, Sentli, would still just be a dream of mine. Street Food Institutegave me the support and guidance I needed to believe that I could start a small business. They helped me through the difficult administrative and logistical challenges that otherwise might have prevented me from building my business." -Chef Ernesto





Community Collaboration

Part of SFI's mission is building partnerships with local organizations. For Halloween 2023 we had the opportunity to partner with Electric Playhouse, a local startup known for its immersive dining experiences. Together, we created a 5 course Halloween inspired dinner. But, this collaboration was not just about food. It was an opportunity for our students to get involved and showcase their food on a unique platform. It pushed their creative boundaries and was a vital lesson in understanding the world of business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. We look forward to creating more community partnerships that will allow for unique hands on experiences for our students.





SFI's Traveling Entrepreneurial Food Management Course


April of 2023 marked the launch of our traveling Entrepreneurial Food Management class. It has been a long time goal to expand our program beyond ABQ. Thanks to grant funding through the EDA, this dream became a reality and we were able to travel to areas in NM where access to culinary and business education is limited. In April we visited Silver City and offered a 4 day intensive culinary bootcamp where participants received hands on training from our chefs. We covered many topics ranging from marketing, menu design, recipe testing and cost analysis. In August, we traveled to Farmington for our second round of teaching. In total, we helped 30 entrepreneurs develop their business concepts and will continue to provide support to ensure their success. For example, as part of the EDA grant funding we are able to provide free in depth workshops for all our students and cover topics like branding, marketing, social media and financial planning. If you are interested in joining these workshops please email julian@streetfoodinstitute.org.



Barelas Central Kitchen will soon be home to SFI

Street Food Institute breaks ground on new home in Barelas

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Elizabeth Bibiano, owner of vegan New Mexican restaurant Vegos, can’t say enough about her time at Street Food Institute.

“The access and resources, the plethora of knowledge — wow, holy cow,” Bibiano said.

And soon, more New Mexican foodies will be able to access those resources as Street Food Institute breaks ground on its new facility, Central Barelas Kitchen. The new building will triple its size.

When Bibiano went through the program, she said there were only a handful of other students. Now, Street Food Institute leaders said they hope it will be able to support 20 or more hopeful restaurateurs after it moves out of the Central New Mexico Community College space it currently uses.


The nonprofit, which provides business and culinary training to New Mexicans looking to open food businesses — ranging from food trucks, catering businesses, brick-and-mortar stores and wholesale businesses — celebrated the groundbreaking of its new facility on Friday. The organization has been training food-loving students since it opened in 2014.

The new 11,000-square-foot building, Barelas Central Kitchen, is scheduled to open in summer 2023.

The two-story building, which is a collaboration between Street Food Institute and nonprofit Homewise, will feature a commissary kitchen, culinary classroom, as well as office space and studios for local artists. Johanna Gilligan, senior director of community development at Homewise, described the space as an “ecosystem focused on helping small businesses.”

“This just makes my heart burst,” said Frossene King, an alum of the program and owner of wholesale bakery Kalamata 505, who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony and served baked goods.

Other alums, including the respective owners of Hippie Dayz Brew and Juicy J’s food truck, were in attendance at the event.

Jacob Chavez, of Juicy J's , hands out samples of juice during a ground breaking event for the Barelas Central Kitchen that will be the future home of Street Food Institute in the historic Barelas neighborhood of southwest Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday, August 19, 2022. (Chancey Bush/ Albuquerque Journal)

Jacob Chavez, a recent graduate from the program and owner of Juicy J’s, said that Street Food Institute helped him with everything from filling out health permits to transforming the landscaping truck his dad bought into a mobile juice bar. He opened his food truck just last month.

“They’ve helped me really along the way,” Chavez said.

Tina Garcia-Shams, executive director of Street Food Institute, told the Journal that watching food entrepreneurs grow throughout Street Food Institute’s 12-month program is like being a parent.

“It’s like, you know, you watch them slowly take those first steps. And they’re nervous and they’re scared and they’re not sure,” Garcia-Shams said. “But they start to get that confidence and you see their confidence grow. And you see when somebody tastes their food and tells them how great it is, the pride when that happens.”

Garcia-Shams has been working at Street Food Institute since 2017. She said the new facility should increase the number of prospective business owners the program can support.

“There’s only so many businesses they can fit in the current space,” Bibiano said. “… They’ll fill those seats like crazy.”

The program has been housed at CNM since 2017, although the partnership between CNM and Street Food Institute goes back much further. Even though the program collaborates with CNM’s culinary department, Street Food Institute is open to everyone, whether or not they are CNM students.

The curriculum at Street Food Institute has three phases: a theory phase, where students learn about running a business; a practical phase, where they develop recipes and hone their cooking skills in the kitchen; and an internship phase where students cut their teeth in local kitchens.

Karla Moore, owner of Simply Sinful Donuts, started taking courses at Street Food Institute in 2021. She found out about the program when she heard Tania Parillo, owner of Tania’s Tasty Kitchen and alum of Street Food Institute, talking about the institute on a podcast.

“Street Food has been like a godsend to me,” Moore said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to get my brick-and-mortar.”

Moore opened her donut shop on Gold and Third last November. She said that when she has business questions, she still calls up Garcia-Shams.

“We’re just a little organization, but I hope that we have a giant impact,” Garcia-Shams said.

The new building is located at 1411 4th SW, across the street from Barelas Coffee House. The space has a history in food production — it used to be a produce bay.

“We wanted to keep that thread alive,” Gilligan said.

Homewise did a survey of Barelas in 2020 and found that a third of the respondents wanted more job training programs in the area. Garcia-Shams said she hopes that the space will be a gathering space for both students at the institute and Barelas community members.

“It’s not just a building to me — to us,” Garcia-Shams said at the event. “It’s a home. It’s going to be our home.”

SFI's Newsletter: 5 Things About SFI


1. SFI’s Entrepreneurial Food Management Spring Session is Starting Monday, February 14th!

SFI is so much more than a food truck! Yes, we are well recognized for serving up some great food but did you know we also offer entrepreneur training courses for anyone interested in pursuing a culinary career?

SFI's mission is guided by the belief that food has an amazing capacity to connect people and enrich our community by creating jobs, developing local business opportunities and inspiring the culinary leaders of tomorrow. We work to achieve this through offering our lecture & hands on lab series. These courses combined focus on concepts such as menu design, business models, licensing & permitting, marketing, branding, food cost, recipe testing and much more!

If you are interested in starting a small food business or just want to hone your culinary skills enroll today! Visit our website at https://streetfoodinstitute.org/enroll for more information. What's stopping you?!


2.       New Business Highlight

SFI is proud to announce the opening of Simply Sinful Donuts brick & mortar space! Karla, the Chef/Owner of this small batch donut shop is a graduate of SFI’s Entrepreneurial Food Management Course and we couldn’t be prouder of her success. Stop by and indulge in a hand-crafted donut at her new shop located in ABQ at 400 Gold Ave SW, Suite 101. You will not be disappointed, these donuts are sinfully delicious!Be sure to check out her website at www.simplysinfuldonuts.com and follow her on social media!

3. The SFI Cafe is Back In Service!

A key component of the SFI program is the SFI Café located in the Student Services Center on the Central New Mexico Community College Main Campus. After shutting down during the pandemic, the cafe is back to serving up scratch made breakfast burritos, baked goods, sandwiches, soups and much more!

Created in partnership with CNM, SFI Café is in essence, a business incubator where current and former culinary students as well as graduate start-ups come to develop, test and refine their skills, products and entrepreneurial concepts in a real world business environment.

The Café has become a popular, thriving center where students, faculty, employees and CNM visitors can enjoy a delectable array of café-style foods and beverages. Stop by for some breakfast or lunch Monday-Thursday from 8:00-2:00!

4. Giving Back to the Community

Another part of SFI's mission is to come up with new and exciting ways to give back to the NM community. Starting in November of 2021 we had the opportunity to partner with Three Sisters Kitchen for their Nutritional Values Project. Through this project we, as well as four other ABQ restaurants, were able to serve free meals to over 1000 community members!These meals were more than just food on a plate. They served as a powerful reminder the impact food has on our community and family values. This program encouraged people to share meals around the table and tell stories that honor their community's past, present and future.

To learn more about this program visit the following website:

5. 2021 Accomplishments

2021 was a difficult year for the food service industry but the SFI Crew stayed strong and ended the year on a high note!

We had the pleasure of catering over 20 weddings, numerous graduation & birthday parties and even served at the Governors Mansion.

We are also excited to announce that SFI won Judge's Choice in the 2021 Edible NM Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown competition! Our very own Chef Chris Romero lead the SFI team to victory with his mouth watering burger creation.

Cheers to another successful year for the SFI team! If you need a special event catered visit our website at www.streetfoodinstitute.org/eat and book with us today!

“People who love to eat are always the best people .”
Julia Child

Kalamata 505: Bringing Greek & New Mexican Flavors Together

Culinary Student Opens Successful Wholesale Bread Business


Kalamata 505 is one of SFI's success stories. Frossene King, the owner and creative mind behind this unique business, is a graduate of the SFI program and also currently enrolled in CNM Culinary Arts program. We are proud to have her apart of the SFI team and fully support her culinary adventure.


SFI would like to thank CNM for writing the article below that documents Frossene's success story:

After years of teaching graphic design at the community college in Corvallis Oregon, Frossene King and her husband decided to relocate to the Land of Enchantment and pursue a life-long passion for the culinary arts.

“It was definitely a bucket list item for us,” Frossene says. “We love to cook and so we dove headfirst into CNM’s Culinary program. We had no idea what we were in for.”

While her husband completed CNM’s Culinary Fundamentals Certificate program, Frossene immersed herself in the popular two-year associate degree program. She says the program challenged her in ways she’s never experienced before.

“The program takes a lot of time, energy and dedication. But it is absolutely worth all the hard work,” she says. “I’ve learned so much through CNM’s program and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the amazing education I received here.”

Frosenne has proven to be a shining star in the culinary program. Through the skills she’s learned and with the support of her instructors and mentors, Frossene has launched her very own wholesale bread business, Kalamata 505, which combines her Greek heritage with the flavors of New Mexico.

“My signature bread is a kalamata green chile bread,” she says. “My grandmother owned her own restaurant and I wanted to honor her by incorporating traditional Greek ingredients like Kalamata olives with the robust flavors of New Mexico’s green chiles.”

In addition to owning her own company, Frossene has built strong relationships with the local nonprofit, Street Food Institute (SFI), where she now works as an SFI Café Manager.

CNM partners with the Street Food Institute to create internships for culinary students. The students get valuable hands-on experience working under renowned Executive Chef David Sellers.

“The SFI is a great place to really get a well-rounded experience in the culinary field,” Frossene says. “We get to work in the actual kitchen, on the food trucks and on catering jobs. And Chef David is an invaluable asset to our learning experience.”

CNM Culinary Instructor Kerry Logan says New Mexico is a growing hub for great food experiences, with plenty of employment opportunities for culinary graduates.

“Food in New Mexico is doing so well,” says Kerry. “From corporate chefs, to personal chefs, to casinos and hotels, our students will have plenty of opportunities to be placed in jobs that need quality-trained chefs.”




This article courtesy of Central New Mexico College

Cooking: A Purpose in Life

SFI Is excited to share that our employee Beatrice Montano has been selected as a Face Of CNM. Beatrice is a prime example of how cooking can help people fight through times of adversity. We are proud to have her on our team and hope that her story will inspire others to find their purpose in life.

We would like to thank CNM for writing the following article that beautifully captures Beatrice's story:

With the support of her family, along with the Street Food Institute and CNM community, Beatrice has turned her life around and is on track for a prosperous future.

A few years ago, Beatrice Montano’s son passed away. As she struggled to cope with the tragic loss, she made some bad choices and her life started veering off in the wrong direction.

“I was in a bad relationship. I got into some trouble and I went to prison for two years,” said Beatrice, now 55.

During her time in prison, Beatrice found solace in her passion for cooking. She would cook meals for the other inmates, took multiple culinary arts courses and eventually became certified in food handling. She knew she was ready to turn her life around.

Her passion for cooking and her goal to eventually operate her own food truck led her to the Street Food Institute and CNM, where she’s working toward degrees in Business and Culinary Arts.

“I love to cook, and I cook everything,” said Beatrice. “I’d love to run my own food truck someday.”

When she was released from prison, Beatrice became a resident of Maya’s Place, a transitional housing facility for previously incarcerated women, run by Crossroads for Women.

“I didn’t want to be in trouble anymore. I wanted to take care of everything in my life,” said Beatrice.

At Maya’s Place, Beatrice learned about community classes offered through the Street Food Institute, a CNM partner that operates the SFI Café on Main Campus, as well as a food truck. She quickly became an intern for SFI, then was hired as an employee.

SFI’s connection to CNM also sparked her interest in becoming a CNM student. She got connected with Academic Coach Latoya Turner-Delgado, who helped her through the admissions process. Now, she’s a full-time student.

“Beatrice came in and we went through the admissions process together,” said Latoya. “I walked Beatrice through the enrollment process from start to finish, utilizing many available CNM and community resources.”

Beatrice said that she’s also grateful to the staff at SFI for fostering her passion for cooking and teaching her new techniques.

“They’re great! I love to ask questions and I can ask the chefs at SFI anything and they will explain it all,” said Beatrice. “They teach me new ways to cook all the time.”

Tina Garcia-Shams, executive director of SFI, said that Beatrice has become a shining star at SFI.

“We are so happy and proud of Beatrice for taking the step to enroll at CNM.  I have no doubt that she will be a great addition to the CNM community,” said Tina.

Beatrice said that being an older student can be a challenge. But CNM’s tutoring services have been a major help in easing her transition into college. She also said that her younger classmates have been supportive and encouraging.


“I’m in class with all these young kids, but every time we get to work together, they help me out with any problems I’m having with the work,” said Beatrice. “I’m confident that I can do this.”

Since immersing herself in the CNM community and deciding to pursue a degree, Beatrice has also reconnected with her once estranged daughter.

“I’m very lucky that my daughter let me back into her life, or I’d never know my granddaughter,” said Beatrice. “I did stuff I shouldn’t have done and I paid for it. I’m grateful that they’re not holding it against me.”

With the support of her family, along with the SFI and CNM community, Beatrice has turned her life around and is on track for a bright future.

“Beatrice has faced multiple obstacles in her life, but her determination is admirable,” said Latoya, the CNM academic coach. “Witnessing Beatrice attend her first week of school was truly a rewarding moment.  She is highly motivated and appreciates the opportunity to receive an education.”

This article courtesy of Central New Mexico College

From Behind Bars to Success in the Kitchen: An Inspirational Story

Street Food Institute is Helping One Women Find Vocational Success in the Kitchen

SFI is proud to announce an ongoing partnership with Crossroads for Women, a program dedicated to empowering women to sustain a fulfilling life within their community post incarceration. Making the transition from prison back into ones community has proven difficult, especially when it comes to finding employment. According to a report by the Prison Policy Initiative, over 27% of formerly incarcerated people are unemployed, where a larger portion of these individuals are women.

SFI believes it is important to continue building our partnership with Crossroads for Women, which brings us to our first success story: Bianca, a twenty-two year old future chef in training. Bianca successfully completed SFI's 12 week internship program and now works 20-25 hours a week as a valued member of our food truck team.

"I’m getting all these new skills and learning different cooking techniques, and I love it! My boss and co-workers make the work environment awesome, and I like the challenging fast pace and variety that come from vending at different locations and events."

We hope that Bianca's story will serve as inspiration to others who face employment difficulties following incarceration. Click to learn more about Bianca's journey and the Crossroads for Women program.


Students and Grads Create SFI Café

Artisan Breads, Craft Coffees, Cookies and More

The SFI Café, the latest partnership effort between CNM and SFI, opened in early January in the bustling Student Services Center on Main Campus, where it serves as a business incubator for current and former culinary students, as well as other small, local startups. Students, employees and visitors of CNM get to indulge in delectable café-style food and beverages, prepared by students and graduates of CNM’s renowned Culinary Arts program or early-stage food entrepreneurs from the community.

“We have a lot of regulars coming in, excited about supporting student businesses,” said Tina Garcia-Shams, executive director of the Street Food Institute. “The students are able to showcase their business concepts and their menus while getting immediate feedback from the marketplace to understand what people like and what they don’t like. Then they can make tweaks for next steps."

“I think things are ripe for this (SFI Café) concept right now. Our state’s economy has been struggling, so people are really thinking local and how to support our economy right here. My goal is to have eight to 10 local businesses being showcased here (in the SFI Café). And how do we get students who are selling their products in this café to be able to sell in another café, and another café? We want to support that, and have an impact on families and people who are trying to make their way in a business.”

There are currently four small businesses in the SFI Café. Atomic Age Bakery is owned by Kristi Rauth-Snider, who graduated from CNM in 2016 with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Atomic Age offers cookies, pastries and made-to-order waffles. Kalamata 505 is owned by a current CNM Culinary Arts student, Frossene King, who created the concept for her artisan bread company while taking an Entrepreneurial Food Operations class.  Lily Marie’s Coffee Company, which offers fresh-roasted, direct trade and organic coffees from around the world, is owned by former SFI student Nicole Turrieta. And Hundred Hands Coffee is a local startup featuring nitrogen-infused craft coffee and teas.

SFI’s interns also prepare daily SFI menu items at the Café, such as savory breakfast burritos, sandwich wraps, salads and soups. SFI, a non-profit, entrepreneur-focused and workforce training culinary program, is dedicated to inspiring the success of small, local businesses in New Mexico.

“As a business owner and CNM culinary student, the experience that I have gained by selling my breads and pastries at the SFI Café has helped me to grow my business,” said King, owner of Kalamata 505. “I can reach new customers, test new products, and receive expert help from the Street Food Institute chefs when I need it. I love being able to offer my services to other CNM students.”

CNM and SFI began their partnership in 2014, when they teamed up to train CNM Culinary Arts students on how to operate food trucks and other mobile food ventures, from developing entrepreneurial approaches and business plans to learning the culture and culinary techniques of the street food movement. Students served internships and worked on all aspects of operating the SFI Food Truck, from food preparation to business plans. That partnership effort has been very successful and continues today.

The SFI Food Truck was the first food truck to operate at CNM. It spawned a big idea at CNM, which was to invite local food trucks from the community to regularly operate on campus. In 2016, CNM started inviting local food trucks to campus daily. It helped CNM eliminate the cost of a large, national contract with a cafeteria vendor while supporting local, small businesses. Since the SFI-CNM partnership began, eight CNM culinary students have launched their own businesses.

“The SFI Café is the newest evolution of our partnership, which supports CNM’s strategic efforts to help incubate more businesses in our community and create more student work experience opportunities,” said Donna Diller, dean of CNM’s School of Business & Information Technology. “The SFI Café gives our CNM culinary students an amazing opportunity to feature their culinary creations in an entrepreneurial environment, which is unique and extremely valuable for them. The support the students receive from SFI and CNM as they launch their businesses increases the chances for success and the sustainability of their business concepts. Our partnership with SFI has been fantastic for our students and we’re excited about the greater impact the SFI Café can have on our local food economy.”

In the short time the SFI Café has been open, Garcia-Shams says the student businesses are already establishing themselves as viable businesses.

“We’ve already seen great results,” she said. “The student business owners have customers engaging with them, asking questions about their products and complimenting the quality of their products. Since (the student business owners) already have some steady income, they’re able to start thinking about growing to the next level. The CNM community has been very supportive, and that’s been great.”

Garcia-Shams said Rauth-Snider, the owner of Atomic Age Bakery, is racing to keep up with demand. “She’s been hiring some of our baking students to help her during the week,” Garcia-Shams said. “Two of the food truck owners here at CNM purchase her products for their businesses.”

“I dreamt of owning my own business for years… but didn’t know how to make it happen,” said Rauth-Snider. “SFI has been with me every step of the way – through permitting, advising on costing, product selection, packaging, etc. I started my business a year ago with a booth at the farmer’s market, purchased a food trailer and continue to grow with SFI’s help and continued support.”

Garcia-Shams thinks this distinctive, food business incubator model can be replicated around the community and the country.

“This (SFI Café) is very unique,” she said. “There are a lot of different types of non-profits and social enterprises around food, but the partnership between a non-profit and a higher education institution is unique. I haven’t seen anything like it. We’re in a microcosm here, so we want to share these ideas so it can happen in other places around the community. I think this is a model that can be replicated in other places around the country too, and at other community colleges. This is a great model that can allow multiple entrepreneurs to explore and grow their businesses in a shared environment.”


This article courtesy of Central New Mexico College

Find a Truck

With three full time food trucks in service, chances are there is an SFI food truck somewhere close to you right now.

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Need a truck for a special occasion or even catering an event?


Course 1: Entrepreneurial Food Management Lecture Series

This lecture course focuses on the managerial aspects of food service entrepreneurship. Concept development, menu design, business models, licensing and permitting, the importance of food safety to businesses, marketing and branding, financing a food business, accounting for food business and other topics are discussed. Students work on the development and implementation of a variety of food businesses throughout this course.

CNM Students: Please register through CNM website.

Community Members (non-CNM students): please contact us.

Course 2: Entrepreneurial Food Management Hands-on Lab

This lab course complements the lecture topics discussed in Course 1. Emphasis is placed on concept, menu and product development through recipe testing and thorough cost analysis of student designed menus and food products. Recipe tests are performed regularly to refine and develop the student’s food concepts.

Optional Internships
Upon course completion students may elect to participate in an internship program to gain hands-on experience in the café, catering and food truck venues.

CNM Students: Please register through CNM website.

Community Members (non-CNM students): please contact us.

Food Service Safety and Sanitation

Upon completion of Courses 1 and 2, you’ll advance your safety and sanitation skills through the industry recognized ServSafe® Food Safety Program administered by the National Restaurant Association.

In this online course you’ll become familiar with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Health Code guidelines. Here you’ll learn how to identify and control biological, chemical and physical hazards of food service- essential skills you’ll need to protect your customers and your business from the dangers of potential food-borne illness.

All students enrolled in the SFI Entrepreneurial Food Management will be required to pass the ServSafe® Food Handler Online Course.


Ongoing Support for Your Venture

Our goal is to make sure you are supported throughout your venture. Your program includes ongoing business support and consultation, business licensing, registration and permitting support, and vending and sales opportunity through the SFI café, local farmers markets, and other vending sites.