With the economy showing little hope of recovery, many are looking to their much thinner wallets and wondering how to make ends meet – and more importantly, what they are going to eat. College students and families need look no further than Salt Lake City’s One World Café, where the motto is, “One world everybody eats.” The restaurant is dedicated to eliminating world hunger and food waste, as well as serving unprocessed organic food, purchased from the local community or grown in the café’s own. There is no set menu, only daily specials consists mostly of a variety of soups, salads, and desserts. There are no set prices either. Instead, there are suggested minimum prices, with the option of an added donation that covers the less fortunate who are unable to pay as much.
Originally a standard café, founder Denise Cerreta quickly saw the need for a community kitchen with One World’s values and business plan. While it may seem a utopian but not particularly business savvy, it seems to work. According to Cerreta, the concept of the café brings out the better quality in human nature by appealing to honesty and common decency. Everyone puts a fair price on their meal, based on income, leaving virtually no wasted food and satisfied customers with the guilt and strain of fast-paced life lifted from their shoulders, however temporary.
This reporter treated herself to the vegetarian quiche, fresh spinach with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and a Macedonia mixed fruit salad. On this day, other offerings also included a broccoli and bean salad, mesquite grilled chicken, an aromatic curry soup, and a variety of desserts like cookies and vegan chocolate cake. To encourage the chef’s creativity and increase the efficient use of available ingredients, the menu is different every day.
As of result of its unique approach to dining, One World Café has flourished. The business has grown, hiring more employees, in addition to the college and homeless volunteers who work for meals. In 2009, head chef Giovanni Bouderbala came onboard and joined a nonprofit group that owns the restaurant. Cerreta has expanded and evolved the community kitchen idea to other locations, including Spokane, Highland Park, N.J., and Arlington, Tex. She was also called upon to advise Panera Bread when they opened the similarly-modeled St. Louis Bread Co., in Clayton, Mo.
Though the business model can be tough, Cerreta has told the press that, “We are a hand up, not a hand out, and we’re still here.” In every context, the café appears to be here for good.
A special tidbit for Globe readers: Bouderbala revealed that SLCC’s very own founder of Seeds of Hope and the backbone of The Community Garden project Jason Thornton served as an apprentice chef at this very location. The One World Café is located at 41 South, 300 East in downtown Salt Lake City. For more information, visit www.oneworldeverybodyeats.com or find the café on Facebook.