No More Empty Pots opened the doors of the Food Hub to the community for the Annual Holiday Open House. Guests learned about the NMEP mission, accomplishments and programming while tasting local food samples from startup food entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship Invitational Supported by Wells Fargo
The audience was full while the three finalists of the Entrepreneurship Invitational presented their final pitches to earn seed money for their business. Before the winners were announced, Velma Mackey, the 2016 1st place winner moved the crowd with an inspiring speech on the endless possibilities that stem from participating in the competition. After deliberation, Wells Fargo announced Michelle Elson-Roza as the 1st place winner for her business MJERHelp, taking home $1,500 in seed money. Jared Uecker and Samuel Anez also received cash prizes, $750 and $250 respectively, for their outstanding business pitches. We can hardly wait to see their businesses grow!
Culinary Workforce Training Program Graduation
The festivities continued as guests helped No More Empty Pots celebrate the first graduating class of the Culinary Workforce Training Program. Dari, Jean and Teeka each received an official certificate, chef’s coat, knife roll and culinary tools to help them rock out in the kitchen as they begin their professional culinary careers. Even though their time may be finished in the Culinary Workforce Training Program, we will continue to follow their journeys as they go forward.
Local Food Artisans Showcase Their Product
After the presentation, guests roamed the Food Hub taking tours of the kitchens and sampling treats from local food entrepreneurs. The featured local food businesses included:
- Pekarna: Craving traditional Czech pastries? Pekarna will give you treats like grandma used to make including Buchty, Koblyhy and Zavin.
- O’tillies Pork & Pantry: Through old world preservation techniques, O’tillie Pork & Pantry produces a wide selection of sausages, bacons, hams and other specialty items.
- Suzan’s Sweet Pie: The Omaha World Herald refers to Suzan’s Sweet Potato Pies as “rich, creamy and blended smooth”. Made with a secret recipe, these pies are sure to please.
- Grainolia: Handcrafted pastries, modern wedding cakes and unique desserts influenced by global cuisines.
- MJERHelp: WORK.LEARN.CELEBRATE. MJERHelp strives to bring life to food by using fresh local ingredients for catering and meal prep.
- The Confectionist: Enjoy high-quality handcrafted pastries and baked goods using local ingredients.
- Empanada Kitchen: Specializes in Venezuelan street food through catering and a food truck. Empanada Kitchen hopes to expand the business to include national chain restaurants.