Jenny Ross

Costa Mesa’s raw-foods maven serves up healthful organic fare at work and at home

MouthfulPublished May 2010 

Raw food is more than crunchy vegetables—just ask Jenny Ross, 30, above with son Dylan. The former model grew up on meat and potatoes, but realized nearly a decade ago that those foods made her feel sluggish. As she learned about alternative diets, she let go of her old eating habits. “I told my parents at the time, ‘Don’t worry. I won’t be a creepy vegan’ … famous last words.” Now, with the success of her raw-foods restaurant, 118 Degrees, which opened at The Camp in 2007, and her Jenny’s Raw and Organic meals, sold at Southern California Whole Foods Market stores, Ross is getting her message out in a delicious way.

“I really like mustard and avocado combined. There’s a richness of flavor they bring out in each other.” Ross pairs this combination with a “flatbread” made of kamut, a high-protein wheat. “I’ll take the flatbread and squiggle on some mustard and then put diced avocado on top.”

Would you believe that Ross and her husband, Billy Enriquez, have never used their oven?
“We use a dehydrator [above] instead. The gentle heat draws out a bit of the moisture, intensifying the flavors. One of my favorites is marinated mushrooms, with sea salt and truffle oil. The mushrooms taste exactly like they’ve been sautéed.”

“I have little quotes all over my fridge and countertops. ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’ is one of my favorites. It encourages me to keep trying new things. With raw food you have to be ultimately creative. It’s not like French cooking where there are tons of books about it, written over hundreds of years.”

“Instead of pasta, run a raw zucchini over a mandoline and toss the ‘noodles’ in pesto. You don’t have to cook anything. It’s just a fast, easy recipe.”

“What seem to always find a way into my kitchen are books about food. Not cookbooks, but things about history and trade.”

“I can absolutely say I never miss meat. The only thing I ever miss sometimes is the texture of a corn chip, a flour tortilla, or bread—things like that.”

“The only time I ever eat outside of raw food is when I want to try different flavors. I’m a chef, so food exploration is important to me.”

118 Degrees
2981 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa

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