EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 18, 2013

Derry incubator bakes up food businesses

Entrepreneur helps startup food companies

DERRY — Neelima Gogumalla is cooking up business in a plaza on Manchester Road.

Her recipe, as founder of Creative Chef Kitchens, calls for mixing entrepreneurs with what she describes as a business incubator for foodies.

As many as 18 businesses are in various stages of startup.

“It is so easy for a startup to come in here for two or three days and learn about what they need to do,” Gogumalla said.

Cinde Vandette of Hampstead is just putting Nuts Over Fish on the commerce stove.

She’s hoping the topping, which she said goes best with salmon, will catch on through consumers at fish markets, including Boston.

“Neelima has been amazing with referrals and ideas,” Vandette said, as she organized yesterday at the incubator.

Contacts and networking she is finding through the incubator are assets as she launches the business, she said.

“Everybody’s sharing ideas,” Vandette said.

Chef Jeannine Carney of Derry was at a work station in the kitchen, developing her new catering business, The Purple Puffin.

Six weeks into her business plan, Carney has already landed a plum, a contract with Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry where she anticipates serving flat breads, paninis and small plate meals by the middle of next month.

“What a great place to go to test recipes,” said Carney, a veteran chef with more than 20 years experience, as she whipped up cake lollipops for an upcoming birthday party. “This is very well outfitted, probably the best kitchen I’ve worked in.”

Gogumalla, a Windham resident, is herself an experienced, award-winning entrepreneur. She owns Narastyle, a biodegradable consumer products company.

Her love of business and food led her to launch Creative Chef Kitchens in April.

“I got the idea from reading about restaurants and food businesses that don’t always work out,” she said.

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