How to rent a kitchen for a week?
January 5, 2014 5:33 PM   Subscribe

We are planning our wedding for mid July of this year and we want to cook most of the food for it in the week or so leading up to our wedding. We are looking for two things: a kitchen (or kitchens?) to cook the food, and a fridge/freezer (fridges/freezers?) to store the stuff. How can we do this?

Ideas we have are: AirBNB, friends' houses who are out of town... that's it.

Is there any place that rents a bigger kitchen area out for a reasonable cost and how would we find them? Is there a way to solve this problem? We can do lots of it in our own kitchen but it's a bit tiny. Also, if you have done this and succeeded, what were tips you would suggest to us? If you have tried this and failed, why? Please assume that we are good cooks and will have lots of good-cook friends to help, and also that we aren't trying anything super complicated.

We are in Montreal, if it makes any difference.
Thank you!
posted by andreapandrea to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Church wedding? Maybe the church kitchen.
posted by Marky at 5:37 PM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are there schools out for the summer that you could contact? Maybe a private school that would be happy to earn a little extra by letting you use the kitchen and freezer space for a fee?

Where I live, there is a Moose Lodge that has a big commercial kitchen they rent out… do you have fraternal orders like that in Montreal?
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:44 PM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yep, this is a job for a church hall kitchen. Even if the wedding isn't at a church I think it'd be worth a few calls.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 5:47 PM on January 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try calling around to cooking schools/cooking classes. Churches are a good idea too.

My cousin's family made probably 2,000 perogies and hundreds of cookies for her wedding last year. A family member cleared out their deep freeze (I think that's what it's called? It's a chest freezer in the basement) for storage.
posted by tealcake at 5:51 PM on January 5, 2014

Echoing the cooking schools/classes suggestion. In my area (Chicagoland), there are places whose ostensible purpose is offering cooking classes, but whose actual income draws heavily from people renting their kitchen and fridge/freezer space. Places like that are required to have the same standards of facility as full-time restaurants and they often rent time in their facilities as a way of defraying the costs inherent in that and to make some extra income.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:55 PM on January 5, 2014

Best answer: I'm familiar with a few community kitchens in the US. These are places like DirtyOldTown describes - they can be rented by people preparing a food product for sale, they can hold classes, they can host events. Some are run by nonprofits and social service agencies, and some are for-profit businesses. I am not familiar with Montreal but when I Googled "community kitchens" I found that they may be called Kitchen Collectives in Canada, and maybe you can find one near you that will let you cook and store.
posted by Miko at 6:45 PM on January 5, 2014

Best answer: I didn't make the food for my wedding last summer (although we considered it), but my mom and I did make 200 cupcakes (four different kinds + four different kinds of frosting). It was a bit crazy, but it all came together in the end and I look back on the experience fondly. Here are a few tips based on that experience:

1. Google Docs - You want to spreadsheet the hell out of this. Trust me, you do. Create one spreadsheet for each thing you're going to make, another for the ingredients for each recipe, another adding together all of the proportions, etc. At the end you will need this info to be easily accessible in the cloud:
-What you're going to make & the recipes
-The ingredients for each recipe & whether you're doubling/tripling/etc.
-Final, added together list of all ingredients
-What you're going to buy at each store
-When you're going to make each item
-Where it's going to be stored and how it's going to be plated

2. Plan for mistakes - Don't make a larger number of dishes - that's just more work - but make a larger amount of each item than you actually need. That way, if something spectacularly fails at the last minute, you can just rely on other foods and forget about it entirely. You may also want to have a backup plan in mind, like a cheap deli you could pick stuff up at. Not because you'll need it (you can do this!) but because it'll give you peace of mind to know that there's a Plan C.

3. Timing - Choose as many things as possible that can be made ahead of time and frozen. Will you have people visiting that week from out of town? If so, you're probably going to want to spend time with them - think long and hard about your cooking schedule. My one regret is that I didn't really enjoy our rehearsal dinner, with friends who were visiting from around the world, because I was dead tired from having just frosted, decorated & transported 200 cupcakes.

4. Delegate - People love helping you with your wedding. Really, they do. Ask people that you know and trust if they'd like to make a side dish/dessert/salad for your wedding - I bet they'd love to. However - make sure you put someone else in charge of managing these people. On your wedding day, you do not want to be fielding calls from 5 people wanting to know where to drop things off/how to keep them cold/etc.

5. Research - Others have done this before you. Here are a few posts that might help:
APW - General
APW - Cocktail food

Good luck!
posted by leitmotif at 7:01 PM on January 5, 2014

Any food trucks around? Ask them where they prep.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:26 PM on January 5, 2014

Years ago, our extended family rented the kitchen at the local county Cooperative Extension for a Christmas cookie baking day. I can't remember exactly what we paid, but I remember thinking it was cheap. Full disclosure, it was arranged by a relative who worked there, so it may not have been the general-public rate.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:35 PM on January 5, 2014

You may try just googling for prep kitchens in your area.
posted by shesbookish at 8:37 PM on January 5, 2014

Not sure about within Canada, but at least in the midwestern US lots of grocery stores have kitchens where they host classes, parties, etc.
Perhaps not the best option but at least another one!
posted by rubster at 12:17 PM on January 6, 2014

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