On Jan. 27 there was an open potluck inviting all Cal Poly students and community members interested in culinary arts. 

This event was hosted by statistics senior Rachel Castellino, who said she planned the evening with hopes of bringing people in the local culinary space together.

“I never had a community honestly; it was only me. My sister got more into food and cooking so I’m like her, but it’s always really been me. That’s why I threw this dinner party, because I wanted to meet other people who have an interest in culinary and baking,” Castellino said.

Her passion for the culinary arts is what inspires her to host events like the potluck, and it doesn’t stop there.

Just last year Castellino put on multiple pop-up restaurant events to share her food and showcase her culinary skills.

“The pop-ups were a great way to show me, like, I don’t have any credentials in food. I’m self-taught in everything,” Castellino said. “You can really make a name for yourself if you know how to advertise, how to market.”

Castellino’s roommate and economics senior Ananya Srikanth said she’s enjoyed watching Castellino’s growth as a businesswoman and chef over this past year. 

“I think the transition during COVID, from going just cooking things for me or our roommates to like doing pop-ups and all these bigger things that involve so many people, and the amount of reach that she got, it’s almost like she’s a micro-influencer now. Everybody knows who she is,” Srikanth said.

Although Castellino is graduating soon, she still plans to make equal time for both her professional career and her love for making food.

“There are so many avenues in food besides the standard brick-and-mortar restaurant that I always thought existed, or like the standard culinary school … I realized I don’t have to choose career and passion. I can pursue what I want in statistics and data science or corporate or tech, and also do food,” Castellino said.

In the future, Castellino hopes to expand the culinary space in San Luis Obispo and meet more people who love to cook as much as she does. 

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