NYC's Chef Ross Hutchison launched Bacon Marmalade from the kitchen of his Greenpoint, Brooklyn rental in the summer of 2009. The umami-driven condiment was created accidentally when Hutchison tried to salvage a batch of burnt bacon, and has gone on to sweep the Brooklyn farmers' market scene and even the internet.
But Bacon Marmalade isn't a one-off success story of an apartment-based operation turned major success. The latest trend in small-batch specialty food production keeps the focus on the "small", with home cooks around the country peddling goods right out of their home kitchens.
In addition to a great idea, it takes a bit of wrangling with local health authorities (and occasionally fire officials, as our recently profiled lobster roll craftsman learned) to be sure you're properly set up, but after that, a kitchen you're paying rent on anyway can be a great place to start a business.
So you've got a kitchen, you've got a computer - all that's standing between you and big-time food success is a great idea. Take a page out of Chef Hutchison's book and look for inspiration in your next (seeming) kitchen failure - no sense crying over burned bacon, indeed.