A community kitchen where patrons pay what they think the meal is worth.
What’s your ideal dining experience? A candlelit evening of fine wine and haute cuisine? A stack of blueberry pancakes at a greasy-spoon diner? For Denise Cerreta, it’s a “community kitchen” where there’s no set menu (so customers are served whatever the chef feels like making) and where patrons pay what they think the meal is worth. And that’s exactly the experience she created beginning in 2003 at One World Café (www.oneworldeverybodyeats.com) in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the western U.S. One World meals are all organic, and guests pay the price they feel a meal deserves.
Because customers choose their portions, Cerreta says, there tends to be little or no waste. If you turn up at One World and are short on cash, volunteer for an hour—washing dishes, cleaning or working in the organic garden—to earn a meal voucher. Every day, a traditional Indian meal of dal and rice is provided free.
Cerreta’s One World Everybody Eats foundation wants to put a community kitchen in every city. A first step in that direction was taken in 2006 when Brad and Libby Birky, inspired by One World, opened the So All May Eat (SAME) Café (www.soallmayeat.org) in Denver, Colorado. Like One World, SAME uses fresh organic ingredients, doesn’t have a set menu and allows patrons to set their own prices. Instead of a cash register, customers deposit their payments in a donation box.