LONDON, United Kingdom — New Covent Garden Market has unveiled the first phase of a £130m development which will see it become London’s dominant food hub and an incubator for the UK’s most innovative food makers, creators and thinkers.
The Food Exchange; a workspace, kitchen space and food culture venue, will form the first stage of the Food Quarter – a vibrant, creative food industry campus and serious food destination – cementing the market’s position at the epicentre of London’s F&B startup scene.
Totalling 40,000 sq ft and spanning three floors, the Food Exchange facility will be the first of its kind in the UK. Housing a unique community of entrepreneurs from the food and beverage sectors, who will be able to thrive on and benefit from new connections, the project hopes to attract businesses working in food, including food magazines, photographers, producers, PR agencies, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, startups, recipe developers, stylists, writers and more.
In addition to bringing together all species of food entrepreneurs under one roof, it will also house Mission Kitchen, London’s largest shared kitchen –– an exciting food culture destination and a place for Londoners to cook, learn and eat together.
“London is already widely recognised as one of the creative and cultural capitals of the world attracting established and emerging talent from around the globe,” explained Daniel Tomkinson, CEO of Covent Garden Market Authority.
“The Food Exchange will foster exciting food entrepreneurs and nurture the innovation of new startups on the journey to becoming the next big force in London’s food scene. New Covent Garden Market has long been the home of pioneering enterprise and food expertise, making The Food Exchange a very natural next step in the market’s illustrious food story.”
Through partnering with Mission Kitchen to deliver a unique shared kitchen space and co-working space for London’s small and ambitious food makers, Covent Garden Market says it will answer citywide demand from the capital’s fledgeling food entrepreneurs for affordable and accessible kitchen space, professional equipment, inspiration and support.
Mission Kitchen, which is due to open its doors in autumn 2018, will also include a cookery school for ambitious cooks and professionals, an evolving food museum and a test kitchen, while outside space can host anything from beehives to polytunnels for growing. To meet its goal of becoming a centre for food education and culture, the hub will also run regular classes, talks, exhibitions, tastings and supper clubs from some of the most influential names in food. In support of small and growing food businesses, Mission Kitchen will also offer peer-to-peer mentorship and proper food business incubation.
It is hoped the development will eventually become to food what Canary Wharf is to finance, and Old Street is to the capital’s tech industry.