Paige Cross

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Real Food Cooperative (RFC), a proposed student-run gourmet food cart serving locally grown, gourmet grab-and-go food, hosted their first-ever menu tasting on Dexter Lawn on Monday. RFC is the brainchild of Cal Poly students Jesse Gibson, an environmental management and protection sophomore, and Eli Grinberg, a forestry and natural resources sophomore, who started the RFC Cooperative their freshman year.

“This has been a dream in the making, for Jesse and I at least, since our freshman year,” Grinberg said. “We were talking about how we wanted to change the situation for the better as far as dining goes on campus.”

RFC aims to provide the campus community with locally grown food that doesn’t just taste good, but is also good for you, Gibson said.

RFC’s mission statement is “For the students. By the students.” To Gibson, that means providing students with healthy dining options that aren’t as readily available as he thinks they should be.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Gibson, Grinberg and others involved with RFC served up healthy dishes, dreamt up by head chef Chris Sayegh. They sold out of a majority of the items by 2 p.m.

“Part of me was telling me that we were going to sell out and that everyone was going to love this, and part of me was really worried that, ‘Oh, $7 is too high.’ But people were paying,” Gibson said.

Sayegh (below) cranked out some of RFC’s best dishes from the food science and nutrition kitchen on campus. Though Sayegh isn’t a Cal Poly student himself, he said he has gotten a pretty good feel for what people on campus want.

“People seem to be health-conscious, into fitness,” Sayegh said. “So right there, you want something healthy. You want a salad in your menu, no matter what.”

Gibson and Grinberg said there’s been talk of making the Real Food Cooperative food cart part of the Cal Poly campus dining community.

“They know that this is a long time coming and so they’ve actually told us that they want us to open up by (Fall) 2014,” said Gibson. “So after this, when we have all those numbers, now that we know what items sell, you know what times are busiest, all that logistical stuff, now we can actually go put that into a business plan.”

Correction: A previous version of this post stated that Eli Grinberg and Jesse Gibson founded the Real Food Collaborative Club their freshman year. Grinberg and Gibson founded the Real Food Cooperative their freshman year. 

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