FISHERS - A group of Fishers residents has been chosen for the inaugural cohort in the Fishers Test Kitchen. The restaurant accelerator, slated to open later this fall, will feature the chefs' concepts as part of the Sun King Fishers Innovation Brewery at The Yard at Fishers District. Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, who was part of the board tasked with selecting the culinary entrepreneurs, says the accelerator is the next step in Fishers becoming an entrepreneurial city.

The entrepreneurs selected for the Fishers Test Kitchen include Chef Leisha Berg, Chef Jung Gyu Kim ("Chef John") and his brother Chef Jung Min Kim ("Chef Kim"), as well as Chef Carlos Salazar. Fadness says the selections will create a wide variety of food options.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Fadness discussed what the selection board was looking for in the applicants.

"Really, it was can they cook; that was a big one," said Fadness. "Two, do they have a vision for what they want to do? This vision has to be bigger than, let's say, just working a booth at the Test Kitchen. You know, do they have a dream about owning a restaurant? What would that concept be? And then finally, it's just kind of their personality. They have an 'it factor' that tell us that they really do have the passion to do this."

Chef Berg's concept will be known as West Coast Nook, which is inspired by fresh ingredients from southern California. Berg is a native of Los Angeles who recently graduated from the culinary program at Ivy Tech Community College. 

Chef Salazar will bring his Lil Dumplings concept to the Fishers Test Kitchen. The city says the global street food restaurant is inspired by Salazar's Filipino heritage. Salazar most recently served as chef and partner at Rook on Virginia Avenue in Indianapolis.

Chefs John and Kim are bringing Korave Korean BBQ to the accelerator. The South Korea natives have operated a popular food truck in Fishers in the last year and will bring dishes such as barbecue beef poutine and barbecue chicken rice bowls to the Test Kitchen.

As part of the restaurant accelerator, the chef entrepreneurs will receive business coaching and startup assistance from Launch Fishers. 

"Entrepreneurship and innovation skills translate across all industries," John Wechsler, founder of Launch Fishers, said in a news release. "We are excited to introduce the same principles we have seen to be successful in the Fishers tech community to these promising culinary startups."

Fadness and Wechsler were joined on the selection board by Sun King Brewing co-founder Dave Colt and local food writer Jolene Ketzenberger.

Pictured left to right: Chefs John and Kim, Chef Leisha Berg, and Chef Carlos Salazar.