New Haven’s Q House, CitySeed, LEAP growing food entrepreneurs off Dixwell Avenue

NEW HAVEN — New Haven food entrepreneurs with enterprises waiting to blossom — like Kismet Douglass, the creative force behind Momma Kiss Kitchen Cuisine — will get some help building businesses through a new partnership between the Dixwell Community “Q” House and nonprofits CitySeed and LEAP.

The new venture will help guide local people through the ins and outs of the food business and teach them how to bring food products to market in the Q House’s new commercial and teaching kitchen.

Using a recently-announced $194,000 US Department of Agriculture “Healthy Food Financing Initiative” grant, CitySeed will extend its existing food incubation services to the Q House.

The grant, announced this week at a press conference attended by US Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Mayor Justin Elicker, aims to improve food access and strengthen food entrepeneurship in the Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods, considered “underserved areas” in federal parlance .

Some locals call it a “food desert” — although there certainly are plenty of good cooks nearby.

In addition to supporting programs out of the incubator kitchen built into the new Q House, the grant will support the new Q House Farmers Market, which will operate on Wednesdays from 3 pm to 6 pm through October, said LEAP Executive Director Henry Fernandez and CitySeed Executive Director Cortney Renton.

Douglass. the 46-year-old daughter of Alder Frank Douglass Jr., D-2, and works by day as a chef at Yale University’s Schwarzman Center, formerly known as Yale Commons.

But she’s trying to get her own gig off the ground, turning out some inspired food — including some of the city’s tastiest macaroni and cheese with a variety of add-ins — at last month’s New Haven Night Market and again this past Wednesday at the Q House Farmers Market.

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