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Fudge maker desperate for commercial kitchen space

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Moving product: Bermuda Fudge Company assistant Allison Simmons working in their cramped apartment kitchen (Photograph supplied)

For years, Sarah Burrows has masterminded sweet creations such as chocolate Easter bunnies on mopeds, caramels filled with liquor, and pink sandy beach fudge.

Now, the 67-year-old founder of the Bermuda Fudge Company has hit a career roadblock.

“I have been searching for a commercial kitchen in Bermuda for years,” Ms Burrows said. “If I found one, I could double what I produce. People could come to me to learn about chocolate. We could do workshops. Sales would definitely increase if I had the ability to put my work on display and provide samples.”

Small outlet: Sarah Burrows, founder of the Bermuda Fudge Company in Dockyard, is desperately searching for a commercial kitchen that suits her needs (Photograph supplied)

At the moment, she sells her work out of a small kiosk in Dockyard. When she tries to have a chat with her customers, the line gets backed up and people drift away.

She wants to be able to talk more with her patrons and have the time to show them her other products.

She cooks out of a rented apartment kitchen.

“I have way out grown it,” she said. “I am looking for something between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet. I cannot find anything suitable where the rent is not through the ceiling.”

Colourful offering: one of Sarah Burrows’s Easter creations (Photograph supplied)

The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation launched the Underutilised Kitchen Programme last year, to help people with small cooking businesses.

“I looked at the kitchens on offer and nothing worked for me,” she said. “One church kitchen I looked at would not allow any foods to be made with alcohol.

“That ruled out our rum cakes and boozy caramels. We also need to be able to control the humidity and temperature in our kitchen, otherwise the chocolate will bloom.”

She is not keen on sharing space with other food creatives.

“You cannot manufacture food products and then have to pack up when the other person comes in to do their thing,” she said. “You have to be set up to produce.”

Believing that she is not the only one impacted by this problem, she suggested that Government bring in four or five 40ft shipping containers and turn them into commercial kitchens.

Someone must have the key: Sarah Burrows, of the Bermuda Fudge Company, with chocolate tree frogs that sing when you open the box (File photograph)

“You can insulate them,” she said. “You can clad them so they don’t get rusty.”

Ms Burrows said Dockyard also has some “massive” empty buildings that could be repurposed as cooking space for entrepreneurs.

In the meantime, she is on the real estate website Property Skipper all the time, on the lookout for what she needs.

“I did the Ignite programme, and I plan to speak to someone at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation,” she said. “I do not know where else to go.”

She said it was easy to feel discouraged. “Sometimes I ask myself if I should stop banging my head against a brick wall,” she said. “Hopefully, something will open up soon. I will just keep knocking on doors. Someone must have the key.”

She introduced chocolate bunnies on mopeds last Easter, and Easter-themed chocolate bars.

“I put a few at Flying Colours on Queen Street and they did well,” she said.

She is bringing them back this year, again stocking them at Flying Colours and also at an Easter pop-up being organised by Kimwana Eve of business hub Lookie Lookie.

“I don’t have all the details on that yet,” she said.

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Published March 04, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated March 05, 2024 at 8:18 am)

Fudge maker desperate for commercial kitchen space

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