One of the most vexing problems facing small food producers in the city is finding suitable Public Health inspected kitchens in which to prepare their products. On this page, you will find both Hot Kitchens—rentable by the hour—and kitchens for rent for longer terms.
Alimentary invites those with kitchens to rent to contact us if interested in listing on this site. If you are looking for a commercial kitchen to prepare your food, please scroll down to view the kitchens on offer. This list is growing so we recommend you bookmark this page for future reference. Eventually, we plan to have a web platform available so that cooks can book the kitchens on the site. In the meantime, we provide this list and information. Please also scroll down to read the tips for both people with kitchens to rent and those looking for kitchens.
Rent your Public Health inspected kitchen
If you would like to list your Hot Kitchen (commercial kitchen available for rent by the hour), please contact us, and we'd be happy to help you. We charge a modest annual fee for listing your kitchen to help defray expenses.
Longer term kitchen rentals
In the past couple of years we have received many requests to post kitchens that are available for longer term rentals (six months plus). We have decided to list these kitchens on a trial basis. Please get in touch if you'd like to list your short or long term kitchen.
Starting a food business and need some advice? We may be able to help. We consult a variety of companies from well-established food retailers, to boutique food producers, as well as research bodies, cultural institutions and businesses interested in food culture. Please enquire here.
Got a kitchen that's in Bombay? New York? London?
We are happy to list kitchens wherever they may be. Want to list your tandoori oven and kitchen in Pune? Your bakery in Grand Manan? Got some room to spare in your commercial dairy in Old Chatham, New York? As long as it's certified for use by a food business, it's a welcome addition. Please get in touch.
Hot kitchens by the hour
The prices and requirements vary with some venues requiring product liability insurance and others charging different rates for different times of the day, and different uses. Insurance is a live issue for kitchen rentals and is cited as the reason that many of Toronto's community centre kitchens are hesitant to rent out by the hour.
If none of the kitchens listed here suits your needs, a good strategy to employ is to find a café or bar in the area in which you would like to do your cooking/baking/prep, ensure there is a legal loading dock or parking space within reach, and then approach the owners with a proposal to use their commercial kitchen space when they are closed/not using it. If you come prepared with information about your insurance coverage and the rate you’re prepared to pay, you’ll likely be ahead of the game. Don't forget to bring a sample of your delicious food: a loving spoonful never hurt.
The price you can expect to pay ranges from $20/hour to as much as $300/hour with an average somewhere in the $30/hour range. If you’re prepared to work overnight, you can bargain for a lower price. Also, if your particular cooking is relatively heat-free, you could try to argue for a lower price on the basis that your utility draw and risk will be less. Another way to bargain for a lower price is to book by the month (every Monday from 9-5), instead of one-offs.
Things to look for include an easy loading/unloading dock, near-by parking (if you need it), and to ensure that the equipment you intend to use is adequate to your purposes. Of course, you'll want to see confirmation that the kitchen is inspected by local Public Health authorities. It pays as well to leave the kitchen in as good or better condition than when you found it (i.e. clean and ready to use for the next crew).
HOT KITCHENS LISTINGS
The Depanneur - Toronto
1033 College St, Toronto, ON M6H 1A8
$25/hour + HST. Discount for regular bookings.
College St. W. at Havelock, two streets west of Dufferin
Home of the Rusholme Supper Club, the Dep has two kitchens available to food entrepreneurs. The upper kitchen, formerly a corner store, has a lovely vibe and is bright inside. For 2016, the upper kitchen is available Tuesdays to Thursdays in the afternoons and evenings. The lower kitchen is run as a coop. It is presently full though there is the occasional turn-over or sublet opportunity. There is no dedicated parking space, but loading/unloading hasn't attracted tickets yet. On the ground floor, there is a wider than standard entrance. Two ranges. Two ovens. Industrial glass door refrigerators.
Many food events take place at the Dep every night. Terrific owner, Len Senater, is a great resource in the Good Food Sector.
(info & links updated Jan 2016). More information is available here.
Manning Canning Kitchens - Toronto
Located in Leaside at 105 Vanderhoof Ave, Unit 8, this facility has plenty of free parking, is open 24/7 and has a loading door for easy loading in and out. Monday - Friday from 9-5pm their kitchen manager will accept deliveries on your behalf (with notice). The kitchen space has been divided into three kitchens, each of which can be rented individually. Equipment incldues: 10 burner stove, grill, salamander, convection oven, deep fryer, industrial dish washer, as well as dry, refrigerated and frozen storage.
Rates are on a sliding scale based on how you will be using the space. Expect to pay between $12-$45/hr. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to set up an appointment to view the space. http://www.manningcanning.com/ratesandequipment/ 416.400.2575
Chef Maxine Knight's Food Studio - Toronto
510 Eglinton Avenue West, Unit A, Toronto, ON M5N 1A5
This bright and clean kitchen in midtown Toronto boasts beautiful natural light all day long, comes equipped with all your cooking needs like: utensils, counter space, double oven, tables and chairs, stainless steel appliances and portable induction burners. The space is flexible as the counters can be moved to fit any need.
There is a Green P parking lot located at 125 Burnaby Boulevard, on the corner of Eglinton and Castle Knock Road, which is right behind the Studio. Free parking is also available on side streets depending on the time of day. Chef Maxine Knight's Food Studio is accessible by TTC from Eglinton and Eglinton West stations.
The studio is available for filmshoot/photoshoots, chef prep, private parties/celebrations, classes, and workshops - rates start at $45/hour for a minimum rental of 3 hours, please inquire.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the studio at 416-544-0880 for more details and to book.
Gallery in the Market Kitchen - Toronto
An upscale beautiful kitchen furnished by Miele, this joint is for your swanky do. Teaching a class to the upper crust for $500 a pop? Book here. For more on the facilities, contact information follows. Early hours access time is $75/hour. Regular hours booking time: $500-$1200 for a block of time.
St. Lawrence Market, Mezzanine Level 93 Front Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M5E 1C3, T: 416.860.0727 F:416.392.0120
Large kitchen usable for both teaching and prep. Great for a big catering job or a food biz that can do a lot of canning/prep and then store. Lots of equipment. They require that you show evidence of $2 million in product liability insurance before you can take your food products from their premises. Also has a teaching kitchen which is useful for holding workshops. Large kitchen fits a good number of workshop participants. It’s located in the basement of a school (FoodShare’s offices), so no natural light. No overnight. Loading and unloading isn’t the easiest due to the kitchen being located in the basement. Some limited lockable refrigerated and dry storage available for an additional fee. N.B. This kitchen is called an Incubator Kitchen, but there is no incubator program in place, according to FoodShare’s Alvin Rebick. it’s really just a rentable kitchen.
Update: Jan 2016: FoodShare will be moving in a few months, and so the kitchen will be available until that move (possibly April), and after that, they will let us know if there will be a kitchen(s) to rent at the new location.
Price: $35 for-profit and $25 not-for-profit. 30 hours or more per month attracts a 20% discount. HST added. Invoiced monthly. Available 8:00am-8:30 pm M-F but very busy kitchen for in-house activities as well as rentals.
Adequate parking and there is an elevator but ensure you have a dolly as the distance from parking lot to kitchen is significant.
90 Croatia Street
RTK Culinary Group Kitchen - Vaughan, Ontario
Location: 2050 Steeles Ave W #1, Vaughan, ON L4K 2Y7 (Keele & Steeles)
Telephone: 416 726.0302
This spacious kitchen is rented by the station or, if you need the whole thing, you can negotiate a price. The facility was recently converted to a Hot Kitchen, and the managers are flexible and interested to help food start-ups and students.
6 8’ prep tables, 10 burner gas range, grill, deep fryer, griddle, convection oven, two double rack oven, 12' x 21' walk-in fridge, 50' x 24’ walk-in freezer, dry storage, drive-in, pizza oven, industrial pita machine, mixers, microwaves and much more – all you need is your ingredients and knives.
Storage: dry storage, refrigerated storage, and freezer storage. Please enquire for details
Parking: Free parking in the parking lot all day and night. Loading Dock to the side of the building.
Public Transport: Steeles and Capstan exit off of TTC bus.
Eligibility: Fully licensed. All renters must provide proof of insurance and food handler certificate.
$28/hour up to 6 consecutive hours
$24/hour for 7 to 24 consecutive hours
$20/hour for 25 to 50 hours (must be used within a week)
$17/hour for 51+ hours (must be used within one month)
Ask Karolina about the Student Specials.
The Cake Collective - Mississauga
2-1021 Meyerside Dr, Mississauga, ON L5T 1J6
T: 905-564-8565 E:
· 10 stainless steel preparation tables (stations)
· 2 commercial convection baking ovens
· 8x16 ft walk-in cooler
· 2 freezers
· Long term storage (dry, cold, frozen)
· Mixers (including 20Qt)
· Induction burners
· Standard smallwares
· Specialty cake decorating tools
· Consultation Room for client meetings
· Locker Room
· Wi-fi access
Station use: Non-members is $25/hour, and the member base rate is $22/hour. Members can also purchase pre-paid packages of hours and decrease the hourly rental rate (e.g. $20/hr for 15h package, $15/hr for 100h package). Hours are good for 3 months. Oven use: charged at $15/hr.
Ingredients and supplies: are available for purchase on site.
Storage: varies by type of storage and volume. The membership fee is $100 per year. There is also a refundable security deposit of $250. There is free parking and a loading dock that can accommodate delivery trucks. No loading plate. They can accept deliveries, provided arrangements are made ahead of time.
* Be a business (sole proprietor or incorporated)
* Have business insurance
* Have food handler’s certificate.
We have worked with dozens of start-up businesses to help guide them through the process. In order for a member to be included on our marketing materials, they must also provide a high quality logo.
More info: http://www.thecakecollective.com/
The Grass Roots Kitchen
vegan, nut-free, gluten-free
Location: Warden and Eglinton. 133 Manville Road, Unit 23 M1L 4J7
Facilities: Spacious, immaculate kitchen space for nut free, gluten free, vegan food and baking prep/production. Brand new commercial baker's depth convection oven, large stainless steel food prep tables, portable induction plate, Globe 30 Qt mixer, 7 QT Kitchen Aid mixer, cooling racks, ground level loading door, short term freezer and/or fridge storage negotiable, free parking. Insurance required. No nuts, gluten, meat or dairy.
Available evenings after six with daytime hours to be negotiated.
Tips for Food Start-ups Looking for Commercial Kitchens to Rent
1. Ensure the space is inspected by Toronto Public Health and was awarded a Pass. Ask to see evidence of this. Explain that you need it for your insurance. (And take a photo of it for this purpose.)
2. Have insurance. If you are preparing food for the general public or for a client as in for a wedding, and especially if you are getting paid for it, manage your risk. Depending upon what you're doing, you'll likely need product liability insurance, in addition to whatever corporate or company insurance you need. Some kitchens will require this before they will let you remove the food you've prepared from their kitchens.
3. Get your Food Handler’s Certificate (if in Toronto) or similar in your region. You need to know what a commercial kitchen is/needs and the rules of proper food preparation for the general public. Make this stuff second nature.
4. Ensure that the kitchen you are renting is zoned commercial and is inspected by the local Public Health Authority. This may seem onerous, but if you carry product liability insurance, your insurer will likely want to know where you produce your product, and more than one broker/insurance company has checked an address only to discover, much to the chagrin of the producer, that the location isn’t even zoned for commercial use. If your neighbour’s aunt’s basement is zoned commercial, she’ll have evidence to this effect. Ask to see it. And ask also to see evidence that the kitchen is a commercial (inspected) kitchen.
5. Be clear about the terms of your rental including the start time, what condition you expect the facilities to be in (i.e. clean and ready to use), whether a staff person will be on site to help with locking/unlocking and questions about where things are, whether, and if so where, you can store dry, refrigerated or frozen supplies. Determine who is responsible for clean-up and what the deadline is for your exit. A good rental facility will allow for some lag time between bookings to ensure everything is ready for clients.
6. If you’re new to this rental facility, you may want someone representing the owner to sign off that you have left the facility in a clean and good condition when you vacate.
7. If you plan to rent by the month, get everything in writing regarding the terms, and don’t give any money until you’ve had a trusted lawyer or legal eagle read over the lease. A commercial lease is not the same beast as a residential tenant’s lease. Renter beware. Also, as a food start-up, you’ll want a “get-out-free” card or equivalent. In other words, you don’t want to wind up on the hook for the rental of a facility you don’t need 3 years after you’ve wound your food business down. Make sure the notice for ending the lease is short and sweet even if this means a higher rent. We all think we’ll last forever; few of us make it past three years.
8. Aim to leave the space cleaner and better than how you found it. If it’s a dump when you arrive, find another kitchen for your next gig. It’s not really worth it to get blue in the face about this stuff. You’re a client. Take your business elsewhere.
9. If it’s a publicly accessible kitchen, pop in on it or volunteer to help another cook on a day when it’s booked, so you can familiarize yourself with its idiosyncrasies. This is especially useful if you’re booking the kitchen for a big or important gig--catering your mom’s wedding, cooking for the Occupy encampment of 300, etc., catering an Alimentary Initiatives affair.
10. Stay away from kitchens that seem shady, where there is no sign, where there is no paper work, where you feel intimidated, etc. There are some creeps who know how desperate food start-ups are...beware of them and be vigilant for red flags.
Tips for Renting Out Your Kitchen
1. Figure out what you are and what you are not renting out. For example, if you have storage space to offer, either dry or refrigerated, let your potential clients know. If there is equipment you don't want anyone but your mom and you messing with, make that clear. Best to put this in writing and post it in the kitchen as well as make it part of your rental contracts.
2. Take some great photographs of your kitchen to give potential renters a clear idea of the amount of space, the state of the equipment and etc. Make sure your kitchen is sparkling and bright when you photograph it. If you would like to post a description and the photos here, please get in touch.
3. Be clear about the condition in which you intend to have it ready for the tenant, and the condition in which you expect it to be left.
4. Who's going to open the kitchen for the renter? Who's going to lock up? Have a person's name and cell number ready for the renter, so that if things go awry they have someone to contact. It's a good idea to have this posted in the kitchen too.
5. Decide about your position regarding insurance. Many kitchens don't ask for renters to have their own insurance, but a few do. What level of risk are you comfortable with? Are you adequately insured in case things should get pear-shaped? Where is your fire equipment? Make sure your renters know how to use it, and where the emergency exits are.
6. Keep an up-to-date tally of what is and what isn't working in your kitchen and try to repair broken-down equipment promptly or else remove it from your list of equipment.
7. Plan at least an hour's lag between bookings to ensure that in the instance in which a client does not clean up after herself, you can get the place clean for the next client.
8. Figure out a deposit to cover cleaning if someone leaves the kitchen in a state. Or charge a deposit only to those clients who've left you in the lurch with respect to a clean kitchen. It's a good idea to build in an extra "cleaning fee" in those cases in which a kitchen is left in a shambles because a cook ran out of time before her big gig. You can always return it, if the kitchen is left in a sparkling condition.
9. Be punctual. If a client has rented the kitchen from 9:00 am, someone should be there at 8:30 am to open up and ensure everything is clean and in working order.
10. If there is a lot of expensive equipment, you may want to do a quick checklist inventory with the client so you both agree about the state of the equipment at the outset of the rental. Have that printed, and at the beginning of the rental, have both your representative and the renter sign it as an acknowledgement of the state of things at the outset of that day's rental.
We’ve got to say it…
These tips are offered free of charge. Alimentary Initiatives accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any loss that may be incurred as a result of following these recommendations. It is the responsibility of each start-up or individual and of each kitchen manager/owner to ascertain for herself or himself that the conditions of rental or letting meet their requirements for risk management.
Alimentary Systems Inc. does not accept liability for any misrepresentation of facilities described.