By Marion Filler

Everyone loves good food. But what about shopping, preparing, and cleaning up? Not so much.

Lauren Silverstein is ready to help.

The Morristown resident has enlisted some of the most talented up-and-coming local chefs, cooks and bakers. They get experience and exposure, you get a delicious event, promises Silverstein, founder and CEO of the new catering service Rising Kitchens.

Lauren Silverstein, founder of ‘Rising Kitchens’

“I care about all individuals being able to take a chance on turning their talent into a career path,” says Silverstein, describing Rising Kitchens as “an incubator and accelerator for new food businesses.”

Established in October 2023, Rising Kitchens has a roster of 10 “early-stage entrepreneurs. ” Working with local commercial kitchens, farmers markets and restaurants to get the word out, Silverstein said her goal was to garner five applications. She was pleased when 19 new food businesses applied. They were vetted and selected by an advisory group that heard their stories and tried their products.

Chosen ventures range from Indian cuisine and soul food to Jamaican-inspired fare, coffee and cornbread breakfasts, cereal buffets, redefined burgers and hot dogs, artisan baked goods, custom cakes and chocolate charcuterie boards.

“One hundred percent of these businesses are women-, minority- or immigrant-owned, and all local to Northern New Jersey,” says Silverstein. They are mentored, marketed, and connected to corporate and residential sources as well as to a network of their peers — all of which provide support and much-needed exposure in the industry.

Here’s how it works. Rising Kitchens offers catering for private parties, with full meals or just appetizers and/or desserts. Corporate breakfasts and luncheons also are possibilities, as are food services at a café or restaurant.

A visit to the Rising Kitchens website starts the ball rolling. You’ll see blogs from the chefs, get an idea of what they offer, and learn about their backgrounds. Here are a few.

Jennifer Harris

Jennifer Harris is owner and founder of Jen’s Breakfast Catering. This graduate of the Morris School District is happiest when providing delicious, original breakfasts for others — at any time of day.

Jennifer Harris

Her favorite ingredient is bacon. “It’s simple but classic: Bacon. Bacon is in the same lane as coffee — that smell in the morning, it wakes you up. You can eat it with breakfast, lunch or dinner. I remember growing up, my mom used to cook breakfast for dinner. Even now, my siblings and I — there are nine of us — will all show up at my mom’s for her breakfast at dinner — even if the text invite comes in at 11 PM. A love of bacon is what fuels my love for making breakfasts for people — any time of day.”

Nitin Kamath

“I was born in Bangalore, India. Bangalore is in the southern part of India, and also known as the Silicon Valley of India.

Nitin Kamath

“I started cooking when I was very young — the responsibility to prepare food was on me as a child — and it has always given me a sense of comfort to be in the kitchen and cooking. Most of all, I have always loved sharing good food with people and using cooking to bring people together.”

Kamath enjoys working with meat. “Marination is my favorite part of working with meat. I love the versatility of meat and how it can absorb flavor. Through creative marination, I fuse different flavors and highlight the flavor of each meat.”

 

Allison Gogarty
“Morristown Cake Lady”

Allison Gogarty

The Morristown resident creates custom cakes for special occasions. Her business model also has a social mission — with each order, a percentage of the sale is a donation to the charity of the customer’s choosing.

 “To some people cake is just cake. To others, it’s a lot more,” Gogarty says.

“It’s meaningful and special and represents care and effort going into a special occasion. I love being a part of others’ special occasions and helping to make these occasions be everything they want them to be.”

Gogarty’s favorite ingredient is buttercream. “I use an American buttercream. I have no artistic ability except in buttercream. With buttercream, I can sculpt, mold and make beautiful creations. Only with buttercream can a vision in my head become a reality.”

‘THERE’S NOTHING LIKE FOOD TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER’

“We are the central point of contact,” explains Silverstein. Fill out a form that describes your event, date, number of guests, and budget and she will check availability and propose a menu. Silverstein handles all administrative aspects of the process, including billing, payment, insurance, food licenses and safety certifications.

According to Silverstein, Rising Kitchens earns a commission based on a sliding scale depending on the size of the project, starting at 20 percent with orders under $1,000 dollars.

“We could do this with any industry that is filled with talented individuals who are trying to get started — craftspeople, musicians, tradespeople,” she says, noting the old adage: It’s hard to get experience without having experience.

Silverstein’s background is perfect for the venture: Extensive management skills with mission-driven organizations such as the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and the Jewish Federation of Greater Metro West, are among others on her lengthy résumé.

“I care about all individuals being able to afford taking a chance on turning their talent into a career path,” says Silverstein.

“There are many talented chefs, cooks and bakers in Morristown, as well as ‘foodies,’ and there’s also nothing like food to bring people together,” Silverstein says. She sees Rising Kitchens as a win-win.



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