Friday evening Foodtique | Life & Arts
Located at the north end of Texas Avenue, Renegade Bakery and Culinary Studio has forged its own path to support small businesses and bring together diverse talent.
The commercial kitchen opens its doors to the public every Friday from 5 pm to 8 pm to present “Friday Night Foodtique”, inviting the community to get to know local artisans of all trades. Renegade Bakery and Culinary Studio is owned by Isabel “Iszi” McPartlin, originally from College Station and passionate about the culinary arts. When she wanted to start her own culinary business, Sweet Eve Creations, McPartlin said she sees the need for a shared-use kitchen in the area.
“When I moved for the first time [back] here nine years ago there wasn’t a place like this. I moved from Chicago and they had already shared kitchens there by that time, ”McPartlin said. “The closest were out of town so I came up with the idea for a while until this opportunity presented itself… I thought if I was looking for something like this other people might be looking for something. thing like that. “
In addition to her own need for a commercial space, McPartlin said she also passionately supports her fellow chefs due to the difficulty of succeeding in the food industry.
“It’s really hard to get into the food business… because the margins are so low and the rents so high. Getting anything in College Station is ridiculously high, that’s a lot of muffins that you have to sell just to pay rent for a place, ”McPartlin said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for people to come and do their food business here and have access to a health department approved commercial kitchen.”
In addition to showcasing the food created within Renegade, Friday Night Foodtique invites artisans who sell everything from jewelry to glow-in-the-dark candles, in addition to in-home products. Share Ours Boulangerie, owned by local Hannah Cotter.
“I’m a stay-at-home mom so I’m able to do that and help financially, but I also look after the kids,” Cotter said. “I’ve always loved to cook, so I just started cooking. I was just watching videos or looking on Pinterest all these cakes and cupcakes, and wanted to try it out and see if I could do it. I love to decorate so my husband just encouraged me to start selling.
English junior Mariah Bailey, Cotter’s niece, said she has enjoyed working at Share Bear since moving to Texas A&M, and thinks Friday Night Foodtique is a great way for students to build community.
“It’s great food, they’re great people, so it’s a great place to hang out and meet new people,” Bailey said. “Especially with COVID[-19], there has been so much isolation, so many people come to school and don’t know anyone, so it’s a great place to come and relax with nice people and great food, and it still smells great here.”
A company operating out of Renegade is Cajun catering company Gumbeaux, run by local chef Kathy Johnson, who serves everything from blood sausage balls to pasta to Cajun crayfish. Johnson said she had always loved to cook, but was hesitant to start her own business.
“It’s kind of a passion for me. We used to have huge okra parties at our house. When [COVID-19] happened and oil turned negative – I’m an accountant in the oil and gas business – the company I worked for is gone, ”Johnson said. “My son Christopher, class of 2016, started buying me books on starting food businesses, he pushed me to do it and said, ‘This is your chance, things have changed. “. I know I didn’t want to do a food truck, so I thought I was going to give the restaurant a try.
After Johnson started renting space in Renegade, she was invited to join Foodtique, which she said is a great opportunity for students to try out local flavors and meet local artists.
“I think it would be fun for [students] to go out and taste the different dishes and see the other vendors, ”Johnson said. “Every now and then we have arts and crafts and various suppliers. I think they could try a lot of different restaurants and a lot of different types of food without any obligation. We had students very early on, and it was a lot of fun, they brought a lot of life to the place.
In addition to supporting local businesses, McPartlin also said Friday Night Foodtique is a chance for students interested in starting their own business to see what the Bryan-College Station area has to offer.
“I know a lot of students are forward thinking and progressive, and if they are considering starting a food business it would be a good place to start if they graduate or maybe looking to do an internship to learn.” a little bit, ”McPartlin said. “I know a lot of them feel really passionate about supporting small businesses, especially now with the climate we live in, and it’s a great way to support local businesses and achieve something really. unique and specific to this region. “