La Cocina

Helena Cardona


Professor Kathleen Coll refers to domestic labor—something that has been long-undervalued in our society—as “the most invisible city engine.” Throughout history, and in many places today, women have had limited educational opportunities resulting in limited professional possibilities, or they have had conflicting immigration status keeping them from pursuing a career or different lifestyle. The intent of La Cocina is to analyze the economic model and the physical space of having a business incubator kitchen in San Francisco, where the domestic cook occupation is recognized and formalized. La Cocina aims to build entrepreneurial independence, and they are doing this through an incubator model. La Cocina continues to break barriers by cultivating food entrepreneurs whose ranks include women, parents, people of color, and immigrants. Their mission is to provide an affordable commercial kitchen space and access to market opportunity to gain financial security by doing what they love. All of this results in an innovative, vibrant, and inclusive economic landscape. La Cocina is situated in the heart of the Mission District, an area in San Francisco undergoing a gentrification and housing crisis. Accordingly, the Mission can benefit from incubator models that address the needs of those in at-risk communities. The concepts prioritized during the design process included natural light to help cooks be happier, healthier, and more productive as well as equal, open flexible kitchen spaces that encourage interaction.