Pensacola Cooks Kitchen.

2015 Perfect Ten Community Hero(es).

    Chef Frank and Mister Mike.

 

Chef Frank and Mister Mike.

Nestled into Pensacola's Warrington neighborhood sits a space that has grown to serve as a launch pad for culinary start-ups and ventures, and a community centerpiece of neighborhood, culture, and sharing.

The Selbys have been operating Pensacola Cooks for nearly a decade. In 2014, Jacki and Mike Selbi established a brick-and-mortar location to compliment the remote and on-site work they had done to offer chefs and kids alike culinary training and unique cooking experiences. One key element of the new Pensacola Cooks location is a food business incubator, managed by their daughter, Denise.

“This has been a pet project of ours,” Jacki Selby said. “We want to have a community-shared kitchen and open up opportunities for local food entrepreneurs.”

For most food-related start-ups and companies, preparation and work must be done out of a licensed and inspected commercial kitchen. The shared space of the food incubator provides food entrepreneurs access to exploring such ventures when otherwise the cost and effort to establish a new commercial kitchen space would be prohibitive.

“If you have your mom’s favorite barbecue recipe and want to sell it at the Palafox Market or at retail, this will give you an opportunity,” Mike Selby said. “We want people to try new things and not be afraid of food.”

Warrington is often not the first response when Pensacola's are asked to name a culinary hot spot. With the location of Pensacola Cooks in this west side neighborhood, the Selbis deliberately bucked the status quo. 

They see strong potential for Warrington, and along with others now working to bring the neighborhood back as a cultural and economic force, point to two nearby Naval bases, a strong working class population, nearby pockets of retirees, and numerous established and newly launched commercial ventures.

“I get so sick and tired of hearing people define Pensacola as downtown,” Jacki Selby said. “We moved here 15 years ago and have been amazed with the west side.”

Pensacola Cooks received numerous nominations for our Perfect Ten campaign, and we thank them for their championship of the community of food entrepreneurs in Northwest Florida, for their commitment to community and support of Warrington's re-emergence, and their unwavering dedication to family and culture.

Visit Pensacola Cooks Kitchen on Facebook, or in person at 3670 Barrancas Ave, Pensacola, FL 32507.