Community Kitchen Initiative

Martha’s Table’s Community Kitchen is designed to promote upward economic mobility. The program supports culinary entrepreneurs’ business knowledge and growth, expands their ability to serve more customers, and creates the foundation for long-term success! Martha’s Table operates this program in partnership with the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), whose mission is to drive the economic and social advancement of low-to moderate-income Latinos and other underserved communities by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence and become leaders in their communities.

In total, five entrepreneurs will participate in the inaugural cohort and will begin in the coming months. The first business leaders to be announced include:

  • Gesenia Corea, Side Dish Queen
    • A private chef in the Washington region, Corea specializes in meal prep, in-home chef services, and catering for parties and corporate events. Corea focuses on healthy, clean, and gut-friendly food preparation, with a strong emphasis on convenience. She aspires to build a meal prep service that serves the DMV and beyond and to give back to the community through training and educating high schoolers on healthy cooking.
  • Yessica Guerra, Los Quesos
    • Guerra’s business, Los Quesos, specializes in pupusas and other Central American specialties. Guerra, a 2002 FVI LEDC graduate, is a Ward 8 resident and business owner dedicated to promoting Central American cuisine in the local community through meal delivery and catering services.
  • Christa and Terry Joyner, Mamma Tee’s Kitchen
    • Operating a catering and meal prep business, the Joyner duo, who are residents of Ward 8, bring their passion for cooking and family values to their culinary endeavors. Their menu features a wide range of dishes prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Brett Dyer, Wolfmoon Catering
    • Founded in 2013, Wolfmoon Catering, steered by culinary maestro Brett Dyer, introduces a unique blend of soul food with Native American flavors. Overcoming challenges post a 2015 stroke, Brett’s rejuvenated zeal propels him to revive his grandmother-inspired business dream.

Participants have access to:

  • More than 1,000 square feet of kitchen space and commercial-grade equipment to provide additional capacity for small food businesses.
  • A dedicated Community Kitchen Manager, who provides training on kitchen operations, food safety, and licensing/compliance requirements.
  • A cohort model that allows a small group of Ward 8 food entrepreneurs to learn from each other, grow their networks, and share best practices.
  • Connections to culinary innovators, government resources, nonprofit partners, development capital, and mentorship opportunities.
  • Usage of a state of the art commercial kitchen, including dry, refrigerated and freezer storage space.
  • Training in business planning, food safety, financial management, marketing, and other essential skills.
  • Ongoing mentoring and coaching to support entrepreneurs as they build and grow their businesses.
  • Access to small business loans that provide alternative financing to help build and grow local business. Note: Applicants must qualify for loans that are underwritten by the Latino Economic Development Center, a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

View the Press Release.

Contact Martha’s Table at communitykitchen@marthastable.org to learn more about the Community Kitchen.

Press Release
  • What is the Community Kitchen Initiative?

    The Community Kitchen program will provide aspiring food business owners with access to the Martha’s Table state-of-the-art commercial kitchen facility. Martha’s Table has organized the program in partnership with the Latino Economic Development Center’s (LEDC) Food Venture Initiative (FVI) to support the growth and development of business owners of color who either work or live in Ward 8.

    In addition to access to a best-in-class kitchen, Martha’s Table and the LEDC Food Venture Initiative will provide comprehensive training, resources, and mentorship to help the entrepreneurs build and scale profitable and sustainable food businesses in the competitive industry.

  • Who is LEDC? What role do they play in the partnership?

    The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) is a community-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to drive the economic and social advancement of low-to moderate-income Latinos and other underserved communities by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence and become leaders in their communities. LEDC offers a range of supports and services to equip Latinos and other underserved communities with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities.

  • What are the eligibility requirements to participate in this program?

    In alignment with its place-based approach, Martha’s Table prioritizes enrollment for the growth and development of business owners of color who either work or live in Ward 8

    Prior to any kitchen use, approved food entrepreneurs must submit the following completed documents: 


    • Business registration
    • Clean Hands Certificate issued by the DC Office of Tax and Revenue 
    • Certificate of Good Standing
    • Food Manager Certification
    • Food Manager’s Certificate/Card
    • Kitchen Facilities Use Agreement – provided by Martha’s Table
    • Kitchen Use Release and Waiver – provided by Martha’s Table
    • Copy of Insurance
    • Copy of Food Entrepreneur Business Plan
  • Application Period

    Martha’s Table will publicly announce when the application period for the next cohort will begin. Tentatively the application period will commence in Fall, 2023. 

  • Who can I contact?

    If you have any questions about the Community Kitchen program please submit inquiries via communitykitchen@marthastable.org 

    A member of our Community Kitchen team will follow up with you to provide follow-up support.

  • What other resources are available to me?

    In addition to resources provided via the Community Kitchen program, participants have access to the range of support and services provided by Martha’s Table, such as Healthy Food, Emotional Wellness supports and Early Childhood Education programming. Please note that some programs may have eligibility criteria.

  • What can I do if Martha’s Table is not currently accepting applications?

    The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) oversees a kitchen matchmaking program that is designed to match food entrepreneurs with commercial kitchens in the city. In addition to kitchen matching they also offer a suite of training to increase skills and capacity pertinent to business growth. If you are interested in learning more about the program offerings please visit the website below.