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Jenny Ross:

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Getting raw

Jenny Ross, the executive chef of the 118 Degrees raw food restaurant at the Camp, has catered to a small but choice crowd in her years as a restaurateur.

February 01, 2008|By Michael Miller

Jenny Ross, the executive chef of the 118 Degrees raw food restaurant at the Camp, has catered to a small but choice crowd in her years as a restaurateur. The Orange County native founded the Taste of the Goddess Cafe in Los Angeles before launching her new enterprise in Costa Mesa last year — and she’s served a few famous people along the way. Ross spoke to the Daily Pilot before another arduous day of not cooking for her customers.

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about going green. Does raw food benefit the environment?

Absolutely. It’s probably one of the easiest ways to reduce your impact on the Earth because, eating raw food, you’re eating all plant-based foods, and 99% of the time, you’re supporting organic and biodynamic farming, which replenishes the ecosystem where food is grown.

Do you ever indulge yourself and eat hot food?

You know, when you start eating this way — and I’ve eaten raw food for seven years now — you don’t look at it as an indulgence. It would be taking away from the way I feel on a daily basis. The focus is not on the lack of what you don’t have. It’s on the great things you’re doing for your body and your soul.

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According to your website, you’ve served a lot of Hollywood people over the years. Who have been some of your favorite celebrities?

Andy Dick is always a fun one because he’s a comedian and people know who he is. They’re surprised to know he would have an interest in raw foods, but he runs a production company, and he said it’s one of the things that enables him to do so much at once.

Have any famous people come into 118 Degrees?

We’ve had the cast of “Lost” come in. I don’t know why. They must have been filming in the area.

Some people say the hardest kind of business to sustain is a restaurant. How do you keep yourself afloat?

118 Degrees is successful because there’s a niche market that still has very few options in this area, and it’s a completely unique food offering. We’ve been very successful just through word-of-mouth with people who place health as a priority.

In January, we’re more successful than most because we’re so health-focused. People say the next revolution will be a food revolution, and I believe that. We had the executives from El Pollo Loco the other day.

What’s your favorite raw food snack?

Raw chocolate. It’s actually the raw cacao itself. Most chocolate is processed. The way we prepare it, it’s the raw cacao beans before they’re roasted, and we blend them with coconut oil and agave nectar. You blend those things together and it’s like a rich, dark chocolate. It’s awesome.


MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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