The Core Kitchen Team

We couldn’t be more excited that the Core Foods mentality we love has now expanded to the Core Kitchen. The world’s first produce-only restaurant is exactly the kind of place we want to take our campers to help them learn about real food from real chefs. Without relying on ingredients like sugar, salt, and oil to make food flavorful, the Core Kitchen team brings their organic, whole-produce approach to the restaurant setting, and is serving up some uniquely delicious and nutritious meals. What inspires the Core Kitchen chefs to keep their menu as healthy and wholesome as possible? The team behind the world’s most nourishing restaurant shares their recipes for a healthy life.

The Inside Scoop

What is one thing that most people don’t realize about working as a chef?

People don’t realize the creativity that’s necessary. You can have all of your set recipes and customers, but one day there will be a hurricane in Indonesia and coconuts won’t arrive, and you’ll have to rebuild your recipes without any coconut. You have to figure out how to work around that with the exact same service and customer experience — and that requires thinking outside the box.

When did you first realize you wanted to become a cook?

Each of us that work here has had some kind of special diet over the course of our life, and as a result, especially for those of us with special diets in the 1990s, there weren’t a lot of options. It began in our kitchen, making things for ourselves and for our friends. People who had special diets loved our cooking so much, and that led naturally to a business. Now, decades later, the organic food movement is much more mainstream and popular and that has really created demand for the things we’re making.

What is the best thing about having people eating your dishes?

The best thing is the way it makes you feel. People are really used to eating a quick lunch and rushing back to work—they’ll often get Chinese food or a sandwich that’s often really heavy and makes it hard to go back to work and perform. Our produce-based food is very nutrient dense and it’s extremely energizing rather than draining. It empowers people to have a better day.

What do you find the most fascinating about your job as a chef?

Learning the personality of each type of produce. Strawberries like to be stored whole, whereas other vegetables like to be stored chopped; some like to be stored at 34 degrees, some like to be stored at 47 degrees; some like to be covered in paper, some don’t. It’s kind of like having a family of all these children with all these needs you get to learn about.

Why are you inspired to cook with kids?

Our industry has moved to a place where people are really disconnected from where their food comes from, so we’ve become comfortable putting non-food ingredients in food – turning food into products. That is not what makes people healthy. We really want kids to be able to have a life where they live healthy, and to do that, they need to understand what food is again.

Is there anything else we should know about your restaurant?

One of the most special things about our restaurant is we’re focused on community impact. We’re trying to bridge a gap between the challenges we face in Oakland. We primarily hire previously incarcerated individuals, we believe that everyone has a right to nourishing food, not just the wealthy.