SFI is Set to Open a Second Cafe

SFI is pleased to announce that we will be opening a second Cafe in the UNM Science and Technology Park! This area is in great need of food options and we are excited to be offering house made baked goods, breakfast burritos, soups, salads and gourmet sandwiches. Doors are opening Monday, July 1st! Our hours will be Monday-Friday from 7:30-2:00 and we look forward to seeing you there.

For more information about the SFI program and the services we offer please read the following article entitled, Café Intern Opportunities to Expand With Second Store courtesy of CNM's staff reporter Audrey Callaway Scherer.

 

The Street Food Institute is scheduled to further expand its students’ opportunities to sell their concept foods in about one month when it opens a second café location in the science research center across the street from its café on Main Campus, said the Institute’s program director and chef, David Sellers.

The Street Food Institute (SFI) is a nonprofit small business incubator that partnered with CNM to teach culinary and entrepreneurship classes and that sells its students’ products through both the Main Campus café and its three food trucks, he said.

“The whole point is that we have students who go through the program and who are our employees, and it’s a teaching thing. We’re teaching them how to run a business,” said Sellers. “They are trying to maybe start their own small businesses, so it’s like a little business incubator.”

In addition to the entrepreneurship lab and lecture, SFI offers an internship through which students work for the café for college credits and are paid on a stipend basis, but also gain work experience, more experience with their business concepts, and for those students who start a business, the ability to use the café’s kitchen and sell their items through SFI.

SFI buys the items wholesale but sells them using the students’ own packaging, he said. The incubator kitchen gives their businesses a place to start, some promotion and some sales.

In addition to providing more opportunities for the students, expansion and sales allow SFI to rely less on grants because of how it is set up as a 501(c)(3), he said.

“It’s a social enterprise program . . . what we do through the food sales is generate money to fund our program,” he said. “As we keep expanding, it offers more opportunities for our students and then as well, it allows us to rely on less grant funding. It kind of feeds itself in a way.”

Virtually every employee at the SFI, except for the three main people running the program, have gone through and been hired by the program, he said. Some will become managers and then most go on to run their business or become sous chefs at another restaurant.

Because of this cycling in and out of people, the food items in the café switch up a lot according to the different concepts students are trying. It currently has two bakers, a coffee micro-roaster, and an empanada person using the kitchen, he said.

SFI does its own things, like a daily burrito and taco bar, but also does a lot of special things that involve the students, he said.

There is usually a weekly special, like the recent Greek lamb gyros and falafels, and random daily specials like their recent doughnuts and doughnut holes.

The café team also does a lot of special things like Waffle Wednesdays, done by a baker who started Atomic Age Bakery, and pizza on Fridays, done by another baker who started 505 Kalamata, he said. Sometimes 505 Kalamata will do lasagna and other Italian and Greek specials and it also makes the bread for Nick and Jimmy’s restaurant, he said

The food trucks do double-duty as catering mechanisms and for serving out in the public, he said. SFI does all kinds of different things in the community, such as catering in Santa Fe and at weddings and serving at Marble Brewery.

“We started with just one food truck across the street, then we built it up to three trucks and then we got the café, so we kind of just keep adding onto it,” he said. “We’ve been around for five years and we slowly build.”

SFI moved into CNM’s cafeteria in January of 2018 when it became available and was offered to them, and the biggest advantage was that it centralized the SFI location, he said.

“Previously, we were in a different kitchen, kind of doing the program at CNM but we were split up and all over the place,” he said. SFI used a shared space in a community kitchen at the South Valley Economic Development Center.

“As we grew more and more, it was basically becoming impossible to stay there and this opened up right at the same time and it was perfect,” he said.

Not only were they able to open the café and have a three-dock bay for their three food trucks, but they now do all the cooking for their catering, food truck sales and everything out of that one kitchen, he said.

“They’re awesome [at CNM]. They provided us with this kitchen, which is huge, totally huge. Not only is it little cost to us but it generates money,” he said. “And it’s symbiotic. It works for them too because the students benefit from being able to do our program and do their stuff.”

In addition to offering their program at CNM, SFI offers basically the same information to members of the community who wouldn’t go to a college, like undocumented immigrants, very poor people or maybe late career changers, he said.

Although the internship part is offered in the CNM café, the classes for these groups are done at Three Sisters Kitchen on Gold Avenue and 2nd Street, another community-based nonprofit doing culinary education, which is run by a friend of the SFI team.

 

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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EAT



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.