need help setting up in central illinois

Joined Feb 2, 2009
Does anyone here know of any commercial kitchens in central iillinois?

Me and a friend from school would like to start catering part-time and before i started making a ton of phone calls i was wondering if anyone had any recommendations or suggestions for how to get started in this area.

We have or can get equipment and staging stuff. We also have a food handlers license. Before we start our marketing campaign though we'll need to get a few rental kitchens on call.

Are most church or VFW kitchens approved for commercial catering use? Obviously that will be dependent on the particular location but im just wondering if these places are the norm for renting space?

also is it a super horrible idea to store things in a seperate fridge at my house or is that pretty dangerous to do legality-wise? Im just thinking that fridge space will be the kicker with most of these places.

Lastly...for those of you that dont actually have your own kitchen is it pretty rare to have to deal with inspectors? I mean if no one really knows where im cooking then how would an inspector even find out? Will the respond to my ads or something to try and inspect my workplace if i dont have an address listed?

Im not trying to do any illegal but it seems like if push came to shove i could probably get away with storage or even working in a chruch or something thats not even certified. Obviously i want to keep this as legal as possible but would they know?
Joined Jan 21, 2010
livinitup0, I am running the same scenario right now with having a number of certified kitchens on call. however, think twice about health inspectors, you really need to follow food safety guides. I will keep you posted on what i'm doing . right now i'm going through a list of local churches to find out if they have, a certified kitchen, if so: i will inspect it myself and try to make friends with operator of the kitchen. I know this is tedious but if another option exists someone tell us what it is!

good luck
Joined Feb 2, 2009
Actually i was given a real good piece of advice last night about this exact thing.
Stay kitchen free while you can and just rent from churches...


Money to churches = charitable donation on taxes.

you're not in central IL are you?
Joined Sep 18, 2008
A. I recommend a "Food Safety Manager" certification rather than a "Food Handler" certification. In general, a "food handler" spends a few hours and takes a simple test, a "food safety manager" takes a minimum of 6-8 hours of class and a much more intensive test, like ServSafe, NRFSP, or the equivalent.

B. Get your liability insurance FIRST! If you can get insurance, you probably will meet the other requirements ;)

C. The "health inspectors" WILL find you! And the WILL "shut you down"!

D. Most, at least in California, church/VFW/non-profit kitchens are NOT licensed for commercial food production. In addition, due to IRS regulations, most non-profits will be reluctant to rent due to endangering their "non-profit" status.

E. There are zoning and fire regulations in addition to health regulations that you need to comply with. In addition, do not forget business license(s), dba filings, etc.

F. ALL food storage facilities, refrigerated or not, are generally required to be inspected and licensed by the local health authority, whether "on-site" or "off-site".

G. All "cooking facilities" are generally required to be inspected by the local fire prevention authority.
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