Chef Ederique Goudia is bringing her more than 20 years experience working in foodservice operations, restaurant management, and food business ownership to Eastern Market. Starting January 1, Goudia’s In the Business of Food consultancy firm will take over management of the market’s community kitchen in Shed 5, where 19 food-based business owners rent the commercial space by the hour to bring their products to the public.
Goudia tells Eater that she hopes to provide users of the space with mentorship, coaching, and resources for growing their businesses. As manager, she will be able to tap into her previous experience developing curriculums for entrepreneurs with local nonprofits, including FoodLab Detroit, Detroit Food Academy, and ProsperUS Detroit. Goudia’s firm has a contract to manage the kitchen for three years.
“Instead of it just being me managing a kitchen, I am really engaging strongly with these business owners and entrepreneurs, to continue to help them to think through ideas, grow their business be more efficient in their operations,” says Goudia. In addition to managing the day-to-day, Goudia will create training opportunities, including ServSafe certification, for the kitchen’s food businesses.
“Chef E’s track record supporting small food businesses and as a leader in the food entrepreneurship ecosystem in Detroit makes IBF Detroit an ideal partner for our community kitchen and food entrepreneurship programs that operate side by side with the kitchen,” said Katy Trudeau, president of the Eastern Market Partnership, in a written statement published on Tuesday, November 15.
Eastern Market’s community kitchen opened its doors in 2015 in response to the outsized demand among small-scale food business owners who needed access to a licensed, physical shared space to make their products. Users are required to pay by the hour to use the kitchen and have the option to store their ingredients and supplies on-site. Users also have access to the kitchen’s vast inventory of equipment. Many of the individuals who use the kitchen also sell their products at Eastern Market’s Saturday or Sunday marketplaces.
For Marie Wallace, who has been selling her sweet and savory crepes at Eastern Market since 2017 as owner of the French Cow pop-up creperie, having access to the community kitchen was a game-changer during the pandemic. Prior to using Eastern Market’s community kitchen, she frequently worked out of the kitchen at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, serving her creations to concert-goers, as well as at Eastern Market on Saturdays. In 2020, she was forced to vacate the orchestra hall space, and, like millions of others, collected unemployment briefly until she was able to secure space at the community kitchen.
“It has been really beneficial to my business because the fridge space, the frozen space, everything is there, the ice machine the dishwasher, it’s so much better for me than to pack it up and go to the [DSO], go to the basement there clean up everything, then put it in storage. Now everything is in one place. So, for me and my business is amazing,” says Wallace.
Carlos Parisi, a longtime Eastern Market vendor and owner of the tortilla chip and salsa brand Aunt Nee’s, was a member of Eastern Market’s Detroit Kitchen Connect, a network of commercial kitchens — which includes the community kitchen in Shed 5 — from around 2017 to 2020. Salsa-maker Garden Fresh Gourmet had just sold to Campbell Soup Company in 2015, a sale that inspired Parisi to seize on what he saw as an opportunity in the fresh salsa sector.“It just worked out really well for us to be kind of a launching pad for the next eventual step of our business, which was fresh salsa and fresh guacamole,” says Parisi. Eventually, Parisi relocated operations to another space within the Eastern Market district.
According to a 2022 Eater Detroit article, some 175 vendors gather at Eastern Market on Saturdays to sell produce, plants, and art, serving upwards of 2 million visitors per year. As part of its 2025 strategic plan, the Eastern Market Partnership is looking to expand by 75 acres in what’s referred to as the Food Innovation Zone. Plans include taking over ownership of as many as 1,200 residential lots between Mack Avenue and Wilkins Street. Eastern Market’s chief executive officer Dan Carmody told Eater at the time that the expansion would support existing and relocated food-related businesses, and also create sites for a new generation of food businesses.
Part of these ambitions to expand include bolstering the programming at the Eastern Market community kitchen. Wallace says that in the years that she’s been in the space, she has been able to rely on other users to build a sense of community. “There are so many people and we all became family with each other and, and helped each other,” she says.
Brandon Seng, director of food business development at the Eastern Market Partnership and former co-owner of Michigan Farm to Freezer, which has its headquarters within the district area, says that when he first started working in the district, it was important for him to develop relationships with longtime businesses nearby, like Wolverine Packing Co., Inc. so that he could compare notes on reliable contractors, equipment, and other considerations.
With Goudia in this new role, Seng and others hope that kind of synergy will only continue to grow.
“Now that we’re kind of well into the development of [the community kitchen], we’re eyeing those next barriers that businesses are seeing,” says Seng. Small business owners want “more of that that one-on-one mentorship and coaching, maybe a business needs more support with with marketing, maybe one needs support in financing. Certainly all need support in food safety. So those are the barriers that we’re looking to grow our program to be able to address now.”