There was no real model for a business like the Midway Community Kitchen, but Kathy Gunn was far more concerned that there was no real model for many children to learn cooking skills. Home economics programs have largely vanished from schools and cafeterias are heating up prepared foods, not cooking for students. “Where do kids get the idea that there is some other way besides opening a package or going to a fast food restaurant? I really wanted to figure out how I could have a space where people could learn cooking skills…That’s my end game.” Her own kids prepare a meal once a week for the family. “It’s a feeling of accomplishment to own that part of your life.”
A year and a half ago, she opened Midway Community Kitchen in downtown Chapel Hill. “I wanted to be where I could see people walking down the street and have neighbors.” Her business boasts a commercial kitchen and seating for up to 35 people, depending on the activity. In addition to hosting community classes, team building events, and summer cooking camps focusing on the culinary traditions of different world regions, the kitchen is a sought after private event space. She loves all the events, but birthday parties for children are “the most raucous good times.” Featuring a cupcake cook-off with a surprise ingredient, Kathy is “always amazed at what they come up with.”
Says Kathy, “There is something magical about this area geographically. There is something that draws a certain kind of creative people here.” Her long-term hope for Orange County is that it continues to attract innovative people with great ideas.