TOWN OF DICKINSON, N.Y. – (WIVT/WBGH) The State Assembly Speaker stopped into Cornell Cooperative Extension yesterday to announce a three quarters of a million-dollar investment to bolster entrepreneurs in the kitchen.

Speaker Carl Heastie continued his statewide tour in Broome County, visiting SUNY Broome’s Food Sciences department, the Brew Lab, and finishing up at CCE’s commercial kitchen.

Heastie announced that the commercial kitchen is receiving $750,000 in state funding to allow for more chefs to use the space, and to support local agriculture.

The Director of Food Systems at CCE, Amy Willis says that the funds will expand the kitchen space itself, as well as add some new, and needed appliances.

“It has been an active kitchen for over seven years now. So, new equipment will be necessary as well. So, we’re really excited to just be able to have more space for their products to be able to be stored. And, for those value end added products, to be able to be put on store shelves and held somewhere safely,” said Willis.

Willis says some of the new features include walk-in coolers, freezers and dry storage.

The Commercial Kitchen is a shared use space where at-home chefs, and caterers can rent the kitchen to create products and scale up production. Local chefs prepared lunch for Heastie in the commercial kitchen, and he says compared to the last time he was in the area, the building has undergone a transformation.

“I think in 2015 and then I think I came back in 2016 and 17. So, to see some of those fruits of her labor come to be. To our three wonderful chefs who gave me lunch, and as a single man you’ve probably fed me for the next two days with the food that you’ve given me. So, thank you so much,” said Heastie.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo also secured state funding for an adjacent building that houses the Agricultural Development Center and the Taste New York Store.