Community Meals Now Produced in Bigger, Custom-Designed Kitchen

July 6, 2022

Shortly after the pandemic hit in March 2020, FareStart quickly repurposed our former Maslow’s restaurant in South Lake Union to ramp up production of community meals, serving shelters, supportive housing programs, child care centers, schools and more.

The space required some workarounds: pushing together dining tables to create work surfaces, navigating around booth seating, working in a narrower than ideal kitchen and carting supplies across the room to stock our meal-prep stations. 

Those days are over, now that the production site has moved to a gleaming, 7,000-square-foot space in the Galaxy building located in the Interbay neighborhood that our partners at Amazon not only donated, but built out to specifically fit the needs of our food security work. 

The new space features long stainless-steel worktables at a comfortable height, ready access to boxes of supplies lining the walls, and other improvements that allow community meals to be produced more efficiently than ever. 

FareStart anticipates preparing nearly 1 million meals in this kitchen each year.

“Food insecurity is hurting our community now more than ever,” says Danielle Ott, FareStart’s Executive Chef. “The new kitchen allows us to make a big difference for people today and to grow flexibly in the future.”

Community meals alleviate hunger for thousands of youth, adults and families every week. Meals are produced at three sites—the other two are at Pacific Tower on Beacon Hill and FareStart headquarters at 7th and Virginia—and delivered to nearly 100 locations, including Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC), Plymouth Housing and other sites. 

Each meal is well-balanced and made from scratch daily. Chicken Bahn Mi sandwiches are a favorite. Other meals sound like menu items at a farm-to-table restaurant, like lemon-dill chicken with roasted vegetables and colorful spinach salads with beets, blueberries and sprinkles of goat cheese.

“A beautiful, fresh, healthy meal can make all the difference in someone’s day,” Chef Ott says.

Watch a video of meal preparation and delivery.

FareStart sources fresh ingredients from local farms, grocery stores, restaurants and other partners, including 400,000 pounds of food a year that otherwise would have been thrown away. Over the years, Amazon has donated thousands of pounds of produce each year from its rooftop gardens. 

A longtime and generous supporter of FareStart, Amazon also had donated the space where Maslow’s used to be. Amazon donates in-kind space for our FareStart Café (formerly called Rise), which is open to the public in the lobby of the company’s Houdini North building on Fairview Avenue. Revenues support FareStart’s mission.

Since 1992, FareStart has prepared more than 14.6 million community meals, which play a central role in our mission to transform lives, disrupt poverty and nourish communities through food, life skills and job training.