By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Oct 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."

The old Broadway Bistro & Bakery space at 241 N. Broadway in the Third Ward will soon host one of Milwaukee's first culinary collectives.

According to Ana Docta, KASANA group president, the newly renovated 10,000-square-foot space will house Docta's catering company, KASANA Gourmet; KASANA Good-to-Go, a line of takeaway and vending machine items made from fresh, wholesome ingredients; and the KASANA Collective, a membership-based shared kitchen and event space.

"This dynamic new company celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of Milwaukee and natural beauty and the bounty of Wisconsin's good harvests with an air of cosmopolitan grace," says Genya Erling, director of the KASANA Collective. "We like to consider KASANA to be a creative food hub, meaning that it will be a hub for various events and activities, all at one time. This is a place for everyone – for food aficionados and novices alike."

The bakery kitchen, which will function as a shared space for food entrepreneurs like Yollande Deacon of Afro Fusion Cuisine, has been updated from floor to ceiling to include spacious food preparation and storage spaces, as well as a small dining area.

In addition, a large open room next door to the bakery, The Gallery by KASANA, has been embellished with beautiful design elements by El Mazapan, and will be available for hosting parties, weddings and other special events.

According to Docta, the garden room and café area will be the next to be transformed. She hopes to open the café area this winter, offering hot coffee and specialty drinks, baked goods, light lunches and a selection of the products being created by members of the kitchen collective. Future plans also include a wine bar and non-traditional restaurant.

"For the new food entrepreneur, having an opportunity to share in a space like this – both with the beautiful kitchen and the event and retail spaces – can be a game-changer," Erling says.

Not only will the KASANA kitchen allow chef-entrepreneurs to rent kitchen space for making their products, but area chefs and food enthusiasts will be able to use the space to host pop-up dinners and cooking classes.

In fact, according to Erling, the space is already seeing its first bookings. A dinner hosted by Yollande Deacon of Afro Fusion will be held Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. For $35, attendees will enjoy a sampling of the rich flavors, music and culture of Deacon's native West Africa. Tickets are available online.

In addition, the first series of six cooking classes focusing on "Flavors of Home" will run Monday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 22 until Nov. 29. Each class will be taught by a different guest chef who will offer a cooking demonstration and sampling of three recipes which embody their best food memories.

Future classes and demonstrations are in the works and will include topics like creating craft cocktails, wine 101, knife skills, charcuterie, ayurvedic Indian cooking, raw food, vegan baking and more.

The public is invited to stop by KASANA for a sneak peek during a Gallery Night and Day open house Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors can enjoy art from Plaid Tuba and tour Milwaukee's newest event space, The Gallery by KASANA.

Follow KASANA on Facebook for additional updates.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.