February 9, 2021 – The Environmental Health Department (DEH) is pleased to announce the kickoff of Platform Kitchen Operations (PKO) designed to benefit permitted food entrepreneurs through these uncertain and trying economic times. This new model allows Platform Kitchen Operators to team up with and work out of permitted commercial kitchens within Nevada County. This collaborative approach brings new opportunities for both established commercial kitchens, existing caterers/temporary food facilities, and new fledgling entrepreneurs.

One of the first PKO permit holders, SPICED chef-owner Elise Gonzales-Sahota operates out of the “Mason Jar Meals To Go” commissary kitchen in downtown Nevada City. Elise explained her gratitude for the County’s ability and willingness to work diligently to develop this new opportunity to support business owners in such trying times. “This new permit allows for intentionally small-scale operations with an efficient startup time that was unheard of before the PKO model. This helps me implement a business model that will actually work within the pandemic era and beyond,” Elise Gonzales-Sahota. 

The PKO program launches on Monday, February 8, 2021. “The PKO process came about when Environmental Health Staff Member Nicole Johnson was researching different models in other California cities and counties,” says Amy Irani, Environmental Health Department Director.  The program model allows the Platform Kitchen Operator to operate in a permitted space during set hours, store items there, and run a pick-up or delivery-only model business, no dine-in seating will be permitted. The annual permit fee (November 1st to October 31st) for PKO is $288.30 with additional fees for the application and initial inspection. The reduced start-up costs help the Operator, a micro-business, thrive while bolstering the existing small business’s revenue loss due to the Pandemic. 

Delish Bish owned and operated by Chef-Owners Rachel McMahon and Lela Texeira called Environmental Health and got lined up with all the right information. Rachel said,  “We couldn’t do it without Nicole’s help and guidance. She worked really hard to communicate and work with us to develop this with us.” This dynamic duo is hoping to serve the community by creating menus that are inclusive of all diets; similar to others new to this field they feel fortunate to have the right opportunity at the right time that will sustain beyond the current uncertainty. 

“The really wonderful opportunity that a PKO offers to our culinary community is a chance to share diverse culinary talents and not have to come up with significant start-up monies.  By utilizing an existing retail food establishment, the PKO operator can advertise and showcase their talents and in turn, our hope is they are very successful to one day branching out into their own retail food facility,” said Amy Irani.

If you wish to start a PKO, and already have an approved commissary picked out, please fill out the questionnaire and contact NCDEH to start your permitting process. If you are just starting, and want to operate as a PKO, please review the questionnaire and call NCDEH with any questions that you may have. We are happy to work with you at any time, applications are available year-round. 

For more information visit www.mynevadacounty.com/platformkitchen. You may also contact the Nevada County Department of Environmental Health directly at Environmental.Health@co.nevada.ca.us or 530-265-1222, Option 3.