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At least I did after I interviewed Jenny Ross. She's 27 and on her way to creating a raw foods business empire.Jenny Ross, owner of 118 Degrees at The Camp in Costa Mesa.
Jenny opened 118 Degrees at The Camp a month ago. It's a raw foods cafe that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner - heirloom squash samosas, hemp quesadillas, spinach mushroom crepes. Basically, nothing is cooked hotter than 118 degrees - the temperature when heat reportedly diminishes a food's nutritional value by breaking down enzymes. Most dishes here are even heated lower, to about 105 degrees.
Her products, including cookies and pizzas, are sold at Mother's markets, The Co-Opportunity market in Santa Monica and Erewhon Natural Foods Market in Los Angeles. She also offers a home delivery service. You can sign up for a 10-meal delivery program for $110 or a two week detox program for $350. Did I mention the cooking classes she teaches?
Jenny entered the business side of the raw foods movement at 22. She became interested in a holistic way of living after working in promotions in the modeling industry and being turned off by the unhealthy lifestyle. Before 118 Degrees, she owned or was a partner in Taste of the Goddess in Los Angeles and Naked Apples in Laguna Beach.
Her goal with 118 Degrees is to appeal to raw food lovers and those who just want to give it a try. She designed the room to be inviting to all, with orange micro-fiber chairs and warm wood accents.
So far, lunch and dinner have been busy, with breakfast a little slower.
"Some people may come in to eat one day a week, and some are coming in for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said Jenny, who grew up in Yorba Linda.
Many of her clients are business people and actors who need extra energy.
A nice synergy has developed between 118 Degrees and The Camp neighbor Native Foods, which also features vegan dishes - food made without animal products, including dairy and eggs. Customers eat dinner at one and dessert at the other, Jenny said.
Launching the cafe has been fun, but hard. Sometimes she works 12, 14, even 20 hours a day.
"Always more than 10," Jenny said.
She and partner Kit Chan have big plans. They'd like to open more raw food restaurants in Orange County, then San Diego.
"I can see in 10 years from now that this will be so much more mainstream," said Jenny, who lives in Irvine. "There's just so much power to eating healthy."Thai roll, 118 Degrees
Sampling from the menu
Breakfast: blackberry wrap with coconut pignolia yogurt and fresh berries ($6); split banana covered with almond butter, pomegranate seeds, blueberries and almond milk ($6); organic coffees and teas.
Lunch: Nopales soft tacos - pickled cactus with marinated bell peppers, avocado whip, spicy cheese, salsa and cucumber ($9); sweet corn tamales - pignolia masa with marinated portabello mushrooms ($12); living lasagna - marinated Italian vegetables, ricotta and basil marinara ($9).
Dinner: Lemon pesto pasta with zucchini, lemon pesto mushroom sauce and grape tomatoes ($11); Saffron Noodles served on garlic marinated eggplant and red bell pepper ($16); mango gazpacho ($6).
2981 Bristol Street, Suite B-5, Costa Mesa