It’s not every day that one could refer to equality as “delicious” — but La Cocina Municipal Marketplace has made it so, by opening the first woman-led food hall in the nation.
What began as a commercial kitchen space and incubator for immigrant women and women of color in the San Francisco Bay Area is now also a food hall where these business owners can sell their eats and sweets. Entrepreneurs from places near and far — Nepal, Senegal and Mexico, for example — can use the space to both refine their recipes and feed the masses.
And now the marketplace is finding itself in the national spotlight. Algerian chef Wafa Bahloul told “Good Morning America” that working in La Cocina is “a dream come true.” She added, “I feel so proud, especially as a Muslim woman immigrant.”
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the new 7,000 square-foot space, which opened in April, is presently available exclusively for menu development and take-out dining. Owners hope to offer a full dine-in experience later this year.
Even these limited offerings are cause for celebration, though, as its arrival was long-awaited — plans for it were first announced 5 years ago. Plus, women entrepreneurs like Bahloul are already reaping the benefits.
“I love to cook and have a passion for that, and all the capacity, but that doesn’t mean you know how to run a business,” she told the ABC morning news show. “La Cocina gave me that push and support.”