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San Diego cooking entrepreneurs rally for home-based kitchen businesses

The AB-626 or the homemade food operations act is a way for people to make a living from their own home.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego home-based cooking entrepreneurs rallied at waterfront park on Sunday to urge county leaders to pass an ordinance that would legalize and set up a permit system for Small home kitchen operations.

"We’re all waiting for this in San Diego, it’s way overdue!"

Diana Tapiz, a chef and hopeful business owner – is the mastermind behind these dishes.

"To me it’s my passion, I love to build good flavors and to share that with my community through birria, birriamen that’s what really got us on the map,"

Hoping to pass down her mother’s recipes, she is eager to share her food with more people.

"This (kitchen) is where I've been cooking for the last 20 years, I've been cooking right out of here," said Tapiz.

In hopes of continuing her business dream, she’s waiting on the board of supervisors to legalize something called “micro enterprise home kitchen operations” or MEHKO.

Tapiz’s business Tres Fuegos Cocina is on hold right now. She says she once opened a brick and mortar, but it wasn’t what she wanted.

"Going to a commercial kitchen working with other people, that was really hard paying for the commercial kitchen and employees that was something I didn’t know here," said Tapiz.

The AB-626 or the homemade food operations act is a way for people to make a living from their own home. It’s supported by both East County Supervisor Joel Anderson and South Bay Supervisor Nora Vargas, along with National City mayor Alejandra Stelo-Solis.

Local home-based cooking entrepreneurs made sure their voices were heard Sunday.

But MEHKO’s does have some restrictions including:

A maximum of one employee, a maximum of 30 meals a day or 60 a week, and no more than 50,000 dollars in verifiable gross.

Something that Tapiz says won’t step on hardworking restaurant owners here in San Diego.

"If I was able to send 200, 300 meals from my home, then I'd be a competitor to a restaurant but at the moment with the limitations put on the MEHKO's permit, there should be no worry," said Tapiz.

The board of supervisors will meet Wednesday, Jan.12. Right now, the county has no framework for selling food outside of the cottage food law which permits sales of certain nonperishable food items.

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