Delivering dorm-friendly dinners

For the cooking-challenged among us: Have no fear, Cristina Roman is here to make you dinner.

GW Bites, Roman’s new culinary micro-enterprise, brings homemade meals to your doorstep.

“My target market is freshmen craving home-cooked meals, but there are seniors who still don’t know how to cook,” she said.

After making a lackluster pot of chili in her apartment and realizing that buying all of the spices was rather costly, Roman said she had an epiphany.

“[I thought] there has to be a way for people to have the satisfaction of making their own meal without it being expensive,” she said.

GW Bites features a different menu each week, and meals include at least an entree, a side dish and a dessert. Students sign up through the website and are notified of the meal of the week Monday evenings. If they are interested in the meal, it will be delivered to their door between 5 and 7 p.m. the following Wednesday.

The cooking service also offers Meals in a Jar, which include all the dry ingredients and directions necessary to bake goods ranging from pumpkin scones to lentil soup to tofu stir-fry.

The meals in a jar range from $3 to $10, far less expensive than the amount it would cost to buy each ingredient separately at the grocery store.

“[GW Bites] is great for me because I get to try one new recipe per week, I have my meal for the night and I make a little bit of cash,” said Roman, a senior majoring in human services.

Thanks to social networking through the newly created GW Social Enterprise Forum, GW Bites’ website received over 50 hits within the first 24 hours. So far, Roman’s customer base consists of about 30 students.

In the future, Roman hopes to expand the enterprise and maybe even “build a brand” out of it. She has even introduced guest chefs to the program.

Through it all, Roman wants to stay true to her first love: cooking. Roman considers the enterprise not a job, but rather a “paid hobby.”

“It’s become a really de-stressing activity,” she said. “The end result is so satisfying [and] when you get good feedback it feels really nice.”

Freshman Winslow Sheffield said he values GW Bites as an alternative to less-than-gourmet campus dining options.

“I am without a doubt going to make GW Bites a part of my weekly eating plans.” he said. “Not only is the quality far superior to Sodexo, but the serving sizes are also much more generous and fairly priced.”

Sophomore Gabbi Baker said she appreciates the convenience of prepared meals.

“It’s really nice sometimes to not have to worry about figuring out dinner. GW Bites just does it for you,” Baker said.

From cooking with her mom as a kid to running her own food business from her apartment, Roman has learned that some of the best meals come naturally.

“Don’t be afraid to throw together ingredients,” Roman said. “You don’t always need a recipe.”

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