FISHERS - The city of Fishers has begun searching for chefs to take part in the first cohort at the Fishers Test Kitchen restaurant accelerator. Three participants will be selected for the accelerator, which aims to provide a space for them to grow, try new concepts and ultimately open their own restaurants. The accelerator, which the city says will be the first of its kind in the state, will open this fall inside the Sun King Brewing location in The Yard at Fishers District.

The selection board consists of Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, Fishers IoT Lab and Launch Fishers founder John Wecshler, Sun King co-founder Clay Robinson and local food writer and industry veteran Jolene Ketzenberger. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Ketzenberger says they are looking for people within the food community with some type of experience.

"Whether that's in their own restaurant and perhaps they want to test a new concept, maybe they're a sous chef and really want to get in their own kitchen," said Ketzenberger. "It could be a food truck operator who wants more of a brick-and-mortar sort of location and are looking toward opening their own place down the road a little bit. So we're look for people with some experience but with a new idea, something they really feel passionate about, a type of restaurant or a type of food that they're really excited about serving to the customers there at Sun King and in The Yard at Fishers District."

The city is accepting applications for the first cohort through May. Those interested can find more information on the application process by clicking here.

Ketzenberger says the board will be looking at things such what sort of menu the applicants are presenting, what experience they have, what their vision is for the space, and their business plans.

"The people that are selected for the restaurant accelerator will also get some business coaching from a team that we'll have in place at Launch Fishers, depending on what they need. It's not a 'one size fits all' sort of thing but John Wechsler of Launch Fishers and the IoT Lab is putting together a potential curriculum if people need help with marketing or business or hiring or leasing. Anything that we can think of that we can help them with to push them along on their journey to open their own restaurant, we'll try to provide."

Ketzenberger says the restaurant accelerator aims to help budding restauranteurs minimize, or even eliminate, some of the risk associated with opening a restaurant. 

The Fishers Test Kitchen will have three completely built-out kitchens in a food hall setting next to the Sun King Brewing taproom. The first cohort of chefs will be announced in late spring. 

The accelerator will also feature a culinary performance space known as the Fishers Kitchen Table. It will seat a small group of guests for ticketed dinners, classes, tastings and private events.

"There is so much culinary talent in Central Indiana, and the performance kitchen will provide a space for chefs to cook right in front of guests,” says Ketzenberger, who will be handling the programming for the Test Kitchen and the Kitchen Table. “It will be a way for diners to meet the chefs, talk with them, watch them cook and really enjoy a unique culinary experience.”