Apr

16

Nom Nom Nom! The Delicious Dream of Nom^3

Written by

The days of ramen and peanut butter may finally be over, friends! Or at least they will be next year when Nom^3 gets off the ground. Bwog’s Friend of the Foodies Mark Hay sat down with the Nom^3 team to hear about our coming culinary salvation.

Nom^3 Getting Their Cook On

For the past semester, Dehui “Jordan” Kong, CC’11, has toyed around with the idea of opening some sort of student restaurant on campus. Like so many of us, she looks at the fare coming out of 212 or Ferris Booth and wonders how it can be so pricy, so … so-so, when student chefs are capable of making gourmet dishes out of JJ fixin’s and a little spice. But Kong’s dream of showcasing student cooking and bringing affordable, seasonal food to the campus were stymied by a degree of laziness, fear, or both. “None of [my friends] thought it was really feasible,” says Kong, reflecting upon the reticence of students to engage in such a long-term and costly venture while balancing coursework and other obligations. For most, the risk of failure is too high. But then she met Matt Powell, CC’12, a member of the culinary club who shared her dream.

As the two commiserated in the weeks following Spring Break, the idea slowly began to take on a more concrete form, and the gravity of its new mass drew students towards it. Through some indirect advice from the French Culinary Institute, the duo have decided to change their focus from opening a restaurant to launching a food truck in Morningside Heights. Students will staff the truck and serve an ever-changing seasonal menu crafted with as many locally grown and sustainable crops as can be achieved. Given the low overhead cost of running a truck, Nom^3 will be able to offer entrees like duck breast arugula salad for a maximum of $8. Additionally they hope to draw in customers with a membership program – members would receive recipes and either a free meal after a set number of purchases or a complimentary amuse-bouche with every purchase. They have prepared their food during several presentations and received rave reviews for quality and presentation – there has also been talk of cooperation with the Mimi truffles girls.

Nom^3's Prototype Seasonal Menu

Kicked into practical considerations by their participation in the Columbia Venture Competition, they have, in just three short weeks, put together a comprehensive business plan and financial plan and constructed a full website for their pet project. They now estimate that launching the truck, fully equipped and staffed, will cost about $70,000 – a daunting number, but Nom^3 is up to the task. Having forged a natural alliance with various green and sustainable groups on campus (and adopted green as their group’s color), they hope to attract investors with an environmental edge (pondering the use of biodiesel and B.Y.O. Tupperware policies). They have proven in a few short weeks their dedication and the quality of their work and it has drawn them a strong student following.

If all goes well, the Nom^3 crew believes they can have a truck on the streets by this fall. Realistically, though, they believe that the truck will not be active until next spring. In the meantime, though, they hope to launch a food delivery service, cook for events, and perhaps begin a series of quick cooking classes for students. After all, as the Nom^3 board stresses, although this is a for-profit venture, the focus is on exposing students to new flavors and ways of eating. It’s about weaning us off of a dependency on mom’s cooking and helping us, in this transitional period of life, to realize that we can eat delicious, healthy food without a substantial investment of time or money. This may be one of the most interesting student-led initiatives on campus to date, and certainly Nom^3 has the energy and the talent to see it through – now about that money…

Photos via Jordan Kong and http://www.nom3.org/

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27 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    Groan. An Internet meme?

    Also, are they licensed?

  2. Food trucks  

    are on their way out.

  3. This  

    is awesome, inspiring, and just pretty damn cool.

    Love to my homies
    -EKG

  4. CC'10  

    BWOG, where are you?! There are geese on the south lawn. Looks like we're becoming a public zoo after all.

  5. wow

    this sounds fantastic. good on them!

  6. Anonymous

    awesome video if you click the link to their website....josh arky, ADORABLE

  7. Anonymous  

    dehui is the coolest cat at this school, so easy

  8. definitely  

    the coolest (and most useful) student project of this school year! CCSC, ESC, etc. should totally be backing up this venture.

  9. this is  

    great stuff. go, guys! :)

  10. Matt...  

    ... Powell and all the people involved in this are awesome!
    This is the kind of thing that deserves funding!

  11. too bad

    green is a pretty toxic dye.

    also: although the beet salad looks great, why the meat imbalance between seasons?

  12. obg  

    YEAH YOU WANNA GO OUT CAUSE IT'S RAINING AND BLOWING. YOU CAN'T GO OUT CAUSE YOUR ROOTS ARE SHOWING.

  13. Anonymous

    Cool! Hope it works out. The more cheap(ish) food we have, the better.

  14. hmmmm

    I just have a hard time seeing how this will really be profitable.

    • Jordan  

      Food trucks have proven to have very low costs, which gives them a larger profit margin. We have spent weeks drawing up a viable business plan and a 3-year financial projection. Trust us, it can turn a profit.

  15. Love  

    this idea so much! Get it Dehui!

  16. sooo good.

    This is awesome! Do we know how we can get involved?

  17. Jordan  

    If you want to get involved, just come find me!

  18. ...  

    so lets see: 5 officers, 3 VPs, 1 executive chef, 1 manager. i don't think i'd be handing out much funding to anyone unless i had a clear idea as to who's gonna move the $70,000.00 truck every alternate parking tuesday morning to prevent it from being towed.

    i guess it's not really fair to single them out, people involved in student groups here sure do seem to love giving themselves ridiculous titles. but srsly, it's really kinda ridiculous, i mean, i this not-(yet)-existent truck has more VPs, executives and managers than my mom's credit union back home.

  19. Get a dictionary, Bwog,  

    and learn the correct usage of "commiserate."

  20. Yay!  

    I love this idea. And the food was delicious!! Keep it up!

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