Deli Star Corporation, an industry leader in protein manufacturing, announced plans for development of the Food Discovery Center – the company’s new hub for research and culinary innovation – at City Foundry STL. Scheduled to open in early spring 2021, the Food Discovery Center (FDC) will include multiple test kitchens, an education/instructional area, flexible office space and a scale-up production facility. It will be staffed by 30 full-time employees. 

Comprising 16,500 square feet, the FDC will include two fully equipped test kitchens and four research-chef stations, a lecture-hall-style instructional space for culinary-science and food-nutrition classes, conferences and demonstrations; the Simple Promise© employee café and farmers market row; and a 4,500 square-foot customized “ghost kitchen” production facility – including a state-of-the-art industrial oven & smoker, blast freezer, dry storage and walk-in coolers/freezers – to support limited production of test products and cooking-technique innovations.

Deli Star is working with design and construction firm The Lawrence Group on overall site design, engineering and build-out, and the company has contracted Ford Hotel Supply to develop the design of the test kitchens.  

“St. Louis has blossomed into a culinary innovation hub, and City Foundry STL is well positioned to become the epicenter for continued growth,” said chef Charles Hayes, vice president of culinary innovation and R&D for Deli Star. “At Deli Star, we are strong believers of open innovation – the collaboration and sharing of ideas to move our industry forward. Our new space and our proximity to like-minded industry leaders at City Foundry will benefit all involved – from our employees, customers and partners to our counterparts at City Foundry.”

Deli Star introduced its St. Louis Innovation Center concept in 2016, creating a dedicated space to collaborate with its foodservice-industry customers in pursuit of new and inventive ways to meet the needs of their partners. Seeking more space and the ability to add production capabilities, Deli Star recently selected the food-forward creative complex for merchants and makers – City Foundry STL– as the new site for its new center for innovation. 

“In recent months, we have experienced a dramatic shift in how the hospitality industry will have to operate,” said Will Smith, asset manager of City Foundry STL. “By bringing together great culinary minds like chef Charles Hayes and the rest of the Deli Star team, along with James Beard winner (and City Foundry STL culinary director) Gerard Craft and his team at Niche Food Group, City Foundry will play a critical role in helping our industry reinvent and rebuild itself in the wake of COVID-19.”

Once open, Deli Star’s new FDC also will be the home of another Siegel family business initiative: Cure8 Ventures. Launched in 2019 to help startup companies in the food, health and wellness space grow and succeed, Cure8 Ventures is well positioned to complement Deli Star’s own R&D efforts to discover new and better ways of producing health, happiness and the joy of food. 

“Over the past 30-plus years, Deli Star has built a solid reputation as a leader in product and process innovation and safety,” said Justin Seigel, CEO of Deli Star. “We have always viewed food as the intersection of science and culinary arts. We are eager to share this philosophy and learn from – and with – like-minded culinary leaders when we open the Food Discovery Center at The Foundry.”

Source: Deli Star Inc.