The World in a Box

The answer to your Thursday dinner dilemma

If you’re passionate about supporting refugees, trying new foods and eating take-out on Thursday nights, you’re going to love Spice to Go, Spice Kitchen Incubator’s meal service.

Spice Kitchen Incubator is one of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) programs that, in concert with Salt Lake County, offers technical assistance and training for refugees and disadvantaged community members wanting to start their own food businesses. The Spice Kitchen Incubator helps refugees create businesses serving international cuisines such as African, Asian, European, Russian, Middle Eastern, Indian, South and Central American, and more. Most of these businesses offer catering, some have food trucks, and a few, such as Bhutan House in Sandy and Laan Na Thai in downtown Salt Lake City, went on to open their own brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Spice to Go is one of Spice Kitchen Incubator’s most successful endeavors that offers global flavors from their entrepreneurs for takeout on Thursday nights. “Each week, businesses serve 150 to 200 people,” Jackie Rodabaugh, Spice Kitchen Incubator’s marketing and logistics coordinator, says. “Participants learn to design cost-effective, high-quality menus; manage the kitchen and employees; and increase their capacity and scale to serve well-presented meals at a fast pace.”

Two different entrees are offered—one with meat and one without. Rodabaugh says the meatless entrees make up about half of the sales, and customers are eager to try both. Most of the meatless options are vegan or can easily be made vegan.

“Veganism can be a bit unfamiliar to some of the entrepreneurs,” Rodabaugh says. “We are careful to ask about animal products and regularly explain the differences between vegetarian and vegan dishes. We want to help entrepreneurs share their food in an inclusive way without taking away from their own culinary traditions.”

Noor Al Sham’s offering of moussaka—featuring layers of savory eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and onions, and served with homemade hummus and pita—was especially memorable. Hailing from Syria, Chef Noor started a nonprofit to help other Syrians who have moved to Utah. Opening a restaurant is also on his wish list.

Another favorite was the falafel from Falafel Al-Jailawi. Before moving to Utah in 2014, Chef Zuhair completed his culinary training in Iraq. With a background in everything from fine dining to street food, he hopes to open a food truck.

Rodabaugh says other Spice to Go vegan options that have been or will be offered include coconut curry, collard greens, beetroot mofongo, gazpacho, aubergine katsu curry, and black bean and plantain arepas.

When you pick up your order, also consider buying a dessert item from one of the bakery and dessert vendors that were added to the event in 2018. Rodabaugh says it gives vendors a chance to practice customer service and cash-handling skills.

To place your order, visit Spice to Go’s website (SpiceKitchenIncubator.org/spice-to-go). Also, by signing up on their email list, you’ll receive an email on Monday mornings to learn about the featured businesses and menu options. Just be sure to place your order by Tuesday at noon. Each meal is only $10, and if you order four or more, the price drops to $9. You pay when you pick up your boxed meals on Thursday evening from 4- 6:30 p.m. Currently, the pick-up location is at Square Kitchen SLC.

Follow Spice Kitchen Incubator on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the tasty offerings.

Spice Kitchen Incubator @ Square Kitchen
751 W. 800 South, SLC | 801-328-1091
SpiceKitchenIncubator.org

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