Khaki Fox - picture of owner

This Food Start-up Broke the Rules to Launch in Two Months

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Khaki Fox launched her gourmet brownie start-up in time for the holidays… by helping others.

Fox and her partners at Danconias Truffle Brownies were in search of a commercial kitchen, but soon ran into roadblocks. None of the available kitchens met their scheduling, resource and labor criteria.

A Gift from the Start-up Gods

That’s when Fox and her partners decided to get creative. In a matter of weeks, she was connected to Isabel McDevitt of Bridge House, a local nonprofit that provides opportunities for people seeking a bridge out of homelessness. One of their initiatives is called Community Table Kitchen.

Community Table Kitchen provides culinary arts training to participants in Bridge House’s Ready to Work Program – a holistic model that combines paid work in a social enterprise with transition housing.

Danconias and Bridgehouse team picture

Social impact partnership: Danconias Truffle Brownies with Community Table Kitchen

Trainees are paid while they:

  • learn job skills
  • earn and save
  • build a rental and work history

As it turned out, Community Table Kitchen was gifted a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen in 2013 to fulfill its mission to feed people experiencing hunger and create jobs in catering.

The kitchen had all of the resources Fox and her team needed to launch Danconias Truffle Brownies.

Community Table Kitchen was already producing 400 beautifully crafted meals per day for people experiencing homelessness, while trainees learned valuable catering service skills. But McDevitt was looking for ways to maximize their commercial kitchen, so that they could employ even more people.  Fox wondered if McDevitt would be interested in hearing their story. She was.

It was a perfect match. They began brownie production in September, just in time for the holidays.

“This was a gift from the start-up gods. We went from zero to holiday production within two months – thanks to Community Table Kitchen.” ~ Khaki Fox

The Result? The best 2-bite truffle brownies on earth

Box of truffle brownies

Danconias Truffle Brownies come with a flavor map. You’re not going to want to share.

These delectable brownies are hand crafted with Guittard chocolate and include flavors like:

  • Almond toffee
  • Caramel
  • Himalayan sea salt
  • Chocolate espresso
  • Chocolate orange

Every city should be doing this. Here’s why it works.

Matching social enterprises with ready-to-work programs is a powerful idea. Bridge House’s Ready to Work model gets real results because they combine housing and supportive services with employment. Here’s why the it worked for Danconias Truffle Brownies:

1. Rigorous training program

  • Ready to Work houses and employs 44 adults transitioning out of homelessness at all times
  • Trainees pass a detailed application, intake and orientation process
  • They offer 29 hours per week of paid work at Community Table Kitchen
  • Professional chefs oversee every aspect of the production line
  • After one year in the program, trainees graduate to full time jobs and independent housing

2. Immaculate Kitchen

Trainees learn culinary skills from some of the best in the industry. Chef John and Pastry Chef Amy work alongside apprentices. Community Table Kitchen is the “cleanest commercial kitchen I’ve ever seen”, says Fox.

3. Loyalty and dedication

Getting into the program is not easy. “The trainees know it’s a great opportunity and they therefore treat our product with great pride and respect,” says Fox.

The work day culminates with a beautiful meal from the Community Table Kitchen. The program creates routine, family, and income for all apprentices and the start-up community.

How this partnership is changing our perceptions

The pairing of social enterprises like Danconias with Community Table Kitchen is changing perceptions of homelessness within the community and employers.

“I look around the table and everyone looks like you and me… and that’s because they ARE you and me. These are folks who’ve had some bad luck in life. They are making the decision to turn things around.” ~Khaki Fox

During the long rides to deliver machinery, Fox got to know the trainees and became aware of how this program is changing lives. Trainees shared their personal stories, and how this opportunity has helped them.

Danconias production line

Every order of Danconias Truffle Brownies helps trainees like Jackie gain new skills.

… and transforming lives (everyone’s)

The beautiful part of this model is that its goal is long term sustainability, for both the apprentices and Danconias Truffle Brownies.

This isn’t charity. This is an opportunity to gain high-end baking expertise – which leads to the goal of  creating self-sufficiency. The partnership is making a difference both for their community and their company.

“This is transforming lives, everyone’s lives. Mine included.”, says Fox.

Get these brownies, stat.

How your money moves in the world matters. If you’re looking for a unique personal or corporate gift that is literally transforming lives, order these gourmet brownies right now. Here are four more reasons:

  1. The most decadent 2-bite desert on earth (we tried them!)
  2. Locally owned business (many gift companies are owned by big corporations)
  3. Great gifts that support an amazing cause
  4. Well Wallet readers get 15% off with promo code WELLWALLET

“Social impact does not have to be an afterthought. It can be a vital part of a company’s DNA.” ~Khaki Fox

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