Hi, my name is Stephanie Hoban and I am a Natural Foods Chef, Registered Dietitian, and owner of Ripe Cuisine, a healthy, locally sourced and seasonally-inspired food company in Houston, Texas. Thanks for viewing my Kickstarter project!
Ripe Cuisine: A Short History
In 2012, I launched a blog called Ripe Cuisine with the mission to share my knowledge of cooking healthy, whole, plant-based foods. I was in graduate school and wanted to ‘keep up’ with the culinary training I had completed two years prior. What started as a way for me to showcase my passion for both nutrition and cooking quickly became something I knew I wanted to make into my life's work.
In the spring of 2013, only a year after starting my blog, I launched the Ripe Pop-Up Market Cafe at Urban Harvests' Farmers' Market in Houston. Soon I had developed a following and requests for catering and private chef jobs came rolling in as well. Through Ripe, my goal has always been to inspire people to try a new vegetable, a new way to cook and eat it, and broaden everyone's diet in a healthful way. In August of 2013, I quit my 'day job' as a full-time Registered Dietitian for a local healthy takeaway food concept to determine how far I could take Ripe. Now a mere one year after my first appearance at the Farmers' Market and with so much positive feedback from my customers, I'm ready to expand my hours of service and offerings with a Ripe Cuisine Food Truck!
Check out some of the press Ripe Cuisine has received since it's beginning....
The Ripe Cuisine Food Truck: The Next Chapter
A food truck is the next best step for me and the best way for Ripe to expand and continue to serve the greater Houston-area with healthy, plant-based cuisine! Each time I present my food at the Farmers' Market or at a catering or special event, I get asked where my restaurant is located, or where else my food can be found. The people have spoken and healthy vegan eats are what they want and enjoy!
Just as every dish served at my Pop Up Cafes has reflected Ripe's mantra of “Eat with a purpose. Stay Ripe.”, so too will my food truck. What does that mean for you? Is it more Bistro Burgers? Without a doubt. Local corn tortillas stuffed with layers of flavorful vegetables, beans, and grains? You betcha. Longer service hours and more days to fill your bellies with Ripe eats? Dang right! A larger menu with more delicious, and creatively inspired vegan options to choose from? Pinch me, I think I’m dreaming! I plan on having a small ‘set menu’ with some of my most popular items from my Pop Up Cafe as well as daily specials, side offerings, drinks, and even baked goods! A food truck will not only allow me to serve more healthy plant-based options to the people of Houston, but will also allow me to expand our operations to perhaps 5 or even 6 days per week with potentially multiple service hours each day!
In order to bring this delicious dream to life and spread healthy plant-based eats throughout Houston, I need your help to put my food truck on the road, up and running! While the truck is already purchased, it is still a black canvas. Here’s a short list of just some of the things your pledge will help with:
• Kitchen equipment inside the truck including a reach-in fridge, freezer, prep tables, sinks, gas range, ovens, flat-griddle top, commercial vent hood, etc.
• The buildout of the truck, including a generator, plumbing and electrical work, and designing and installing the graphics 'wrap' to make my truck look as good as my food is delicious.
• Cooking equipment such as pots, pans, sheet trays, knives, measuring cups, spoons, cutting boards, blenders, food storage containers, and the list goes on….
• Approximately $1,500 of license fees and permits required for my vehicle to meet all the codes and pass required inspections.
To help ensure I receive the full amount of pledges I can, I’ve made my goal conservative, as my initial costs will be much more than $10,000. If I don’t meet my goal, I don’t get a penny of any of the pledged money!
So, do you want more veggie-friendly options in Houston? Want to support a company who wants to help people eat healthier and feel better? Want to give to a cause where your hard earned dollars will be well spent? Do you like to eat? If you answered yes, to any of these questions, then you can help bring the next step of my dream to life!
So, what do you need to do?? It's simple really…
1. Click on “Back This Project” at the top-right of this page, choose which level of giving and incentive you’d like, and you’ll be ask to fill in some personal information.
2. Enter your secure payment info via Amazon.
3. Choose your pledge amount.
4. Spread this campaign! Share it with your BFF, co-workers, parents, favorite barista, college roomate, your cousin’s girlfriend's hairdresser, and anyone who will listen and believe in this awesome project! Stay up to date with the campaign's progress on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RipeCuisine), Twitter and Instagram @ripecuisine, and with the hashtags #wheels4ripe & #stayripe.
And here are some of the sweet things you can get in exchange for pledging to make my dream a reality!
With your help, I should be able to hit the road in late Summer 2014! Remember, if I don’t reach my stated goal of $10,000, I won't receive any of the pledged amounts, and, simply put, that would be a SHAME.
Thank you everyone, and as always Stay Ripe,
Risks and challenges
"I never dreamed about success. I worked for it." - Estee Lauder
Buying a food truck and building it out from the ground up is no small endeavor. This kickstarter campaign is just one of the ways I am planning on succeeding, as your funding will greatly help me get this project up and running.
I am working with an experienced, Houston-based mobile cart builder who has a great reputation in the 'food truck community'. I have seen their work firsthand and know my truck will be built with utmost quality. They are also aiding in the necessary requirements to be approved for health department inspections. I have done my homework and research. I know the local codes and regulations I must maintain and exceed in order to provide the tasty and healthy cuisine for which Ripe is already known. The typical "speed bumps" (pardon the pun) of mechanical and permitting issues for food trucks have been considered and planned for already. I am confident in Ripe will have a first rate truck and kitchen serving food of the highest quality.
A successful food truck has a niche, a steady following, and placement in great locations. I believe Houston is ready and waiting for a food concept like Ripe Cuisine, otherwise I would not be trying to open a food truck. While I may be serving up healthy plant-based cuisine in the land of cattle, there is a growing demand for this kind and style of food. I've tested the waters with my Pop Up Cafe and know Houstonians are ready to see more options like the ones I serve at Ripe. I've already garnished a sizable following from my Pop Up Cafes and I have actively spread the word via social media, this campaign, public events (e.g., Houston Press' Menu of Menus Extravaganza), and have made connections on future locations including the well-known Houston Food Truck Parks. My food truck will allow me additional flexibility to roll with the punches of unpredictable and temperamental weather. Currently, my customers and I are shut out if bad weather occurs on the scheduled day of my Pop Up Cafe. A truck will also provide me the flexibility to cook on-site for parties, catering, and special events that I'm unable to do now.
From Ripe's birth as a small food blog I've been determined to share healthy plant based cuisine with the masses, and will apply that same determination (fueled by green juice and organic quinoa) into putting this food truck on the road. As someone who has worked in the food industry, I know the time and dedication (blood, sweat, and maybe even tears), it takes to run a successful food business and I am not shy of hard work. I am prepared to take on challenges and set backs as they arise, and with Houston's help and support am confident we can conquer them one by one.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)