Tag Archives: Eat Real Festival
The story of how Dilsa Lugo launched Berkeley catering company Los Cilantros starts in Cuernavaca in the Mexican state of Morelos where she grew up.
Her family had a vegetable garden outside of town, where her father grew corn, beans, chilies, lemons, mangoes and more.
Her mother, who had nine kids to feed, cooked fresh tortillas on an open fire every day.
Lugo’s family farmed and cooked together out of economic necessity and enjoyed the flavors of a homegrown harvest and the pleasures of the table. As a child, she liked to help in the garden and the kitchen.
In college, where she studied horticulture, she became schooled in the dangers of pesticides to farm workers, consumers, and the environment.
Before leaving Mexico seven years ago, she ran a successful greenhouse business selling plants, including poinsettias and marigolds, for festive occasions.
She landed in Berkeley with her husband, embraced the organic food movement, and lamented the lack of authentic Mexican eateries that offered organic food. So she began to make her own.
Her tamales, tacos, and tortillas proved a big hit with her husband’s co-workers in construction.
Maybe, she thought, she could start a food business here. But first Lugo attended the Berkeley Adult School, where she took English classes. There she learned about a program for aspiring cooks looking to land employment in the food industry called The Bread Project.
While participating in that program, she heard about and subsequently received support from La Cocina, a nonprofit commercial kitchen and food business incubator in San Francisco that helps low-income female food entrepreneurs formalize and grow their own businesses.
Lugo toyed with the idea of starting a Mexican bakery but opted, instead, to run her own catering company which she dubbed Los Cilantros in honor of the pungent herb that flavors much of Mexican cuisine.
The 36-year-old lives in West Berkeley with her family, including a school-age son and a brand-new baby. We spoke at her home a couple of weeks ago. … Continue reading »
At Berkeley’s Spice of Life Festival yesterday, for the first time in the event’s eight-year history, street carts were part of the mix. Jon’s Street Eats, Primo Parrilla, Chairman Bao and Skylite Snowballs were among the dozen or so street-food purveyors who signed up to join Gourmet Ghetto chefs and local D.I.Y. food artisans doling out morsels for the masses.
Normally, though, there’s a dearth of brightly colored food trucks roaming the streets of Berkeley, while Oakland, San Francisco and Emeryville have thriving street-eat scenes. A taco truck or two can usually be found in West Berkeley, a couple of food trucks work the Bancroft-Telegraph corridor near campus, and Cupkates makes a weekly appearance on 4th Street. That’s about it.
Red tape seems the biggest barrier to food trucks cruising city streets. Sidewalk cuisine purveyors say the cost and bureaucratic hassle of doing business in Berkeley make it less desirable to serve meals on wheels here than in other Bay Area locations.
Some point to the fact that the city is already saturated with brick-and-mortar joints, lacks a light industry customer base, and includes a significant student population unwilling to pony up much cash for food. … Continue reading »
The Twitter handle pretty much sums things up. Two food-obsessed moms try to have their cake and eat it too: Start a food truck and still be home with the kids.
Meet the newest truck on the block to hit the streets of Emeryville. You can’t miss the baby-blue colored vehicle emblazoned with the Ebbett’s Good To Go insignia. And there’s no mistaking this mobile food biz for some roach coach come to dish up cheap, tasteless … Continue reading »
The second annual Eat Real Festival, a three-day showcase of the best of the Bay Area’s street food carts, local growers, artisan beer and wine purveyors, cheese makers, urban homesteaders, and other local food crafters kicks off tomorrow at Jack London Square in downtown Oakland.