Getting a MEHKO permit can allow you to operate a home-based restaurant ‘from your own kitchen’

What is MEHKO?

MEHKO was established in California in 2019, with the passage of AB 626. Chefs can participate in MEHKO if their county has opted into the program. Solano County’s Board of Supervisors officially approved MEHKO in March, 2021.

The Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation permit allows chefs to prepare, cook and serve food prepared in their home kitchen directly to consumers, either through delivery, take-out or dine-in at the house. 

Have you been looking for a way to share your cooking, baking or food traditions with your neighborhood and community? Or maybe you’re a food entrepreneur looking to start your food business starting out of your home? MEHKO could be for you.

Solano County is one of several counties in California to offer certification in Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation (MEHKO).

Requirements include:

  • Food must be cooked and served on the same day
  • An approved MEHKO’s can serve up to 30 meals a day, or 60 meals per week.
  • Other requirements apply.

Get Started with MEHKO

We offer three MEHKO workshops per year for Solano food entrepreneurs (note that Napa County has not opted into MEHKO). Check out our workshop calendar to find our next workshop to get started.

After that, our Business Advisors are available to help you with next steps to get your business up and running.

“Solano-Napa SBDC is committed to fully supporting anyone who decides to start a MEHKO business.  We can assist clients with all aspects including the application process, food safety training, operational efficiencies, food costing, business planning, finding clients and more.”


“I am thrilled to have this program in Solano County,” said Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown. “I believe the home kitchens will provide economic opportunities for our residents, particularly our military spouses at Travis Air Force Base. This program will not only help our entrepreneurs, but it will also provide better protection for customers as we provide oversight of home-based kitchens. It’s a win-win.”

The MEHKO program also establishes regulations for home chefs, such as inspection and training requirements, that never existed in California until now. A MEHKO certification is one way a chef can show their business is operating safely and legally in their county.

Prior to now, home-based food businesses have been able to obtain a county certification as a Cottage Food Operation. However, unlike a Cottage Food business, MEHKO kitchens are permitted to cook with potentially hazardous foods, such as milk, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, and vegetables.

Solano-Napa SBDC Director Tim Murrill has been following the progress of the MEHKO program since California approved the law in 2019. “This program is perfect for those who like to cook and have an entrepreneurial spirit but may not have the financial resources to start a restaurant or other food services business,” he said. 

Solano County startups can apply for a MEHKO permit. You can access the application and learn more about the program at the Solano County Environmental Health website.

Past Workshop Recording

MEHKO 101 – Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation Training
Recorded Oct. 5, 2021