Cups turns 3 in the Village
by Manny Lopez
Published - 11/28/12 - 04:27 PM | 5511 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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It was “Pink Friday” the day after Thanksgiving at Cups in La Jolla, as the swanky organic cupcake lounge and teaching kitchen on Girard Avenue celebrated its third year in business. To commemorate the occasion, customers received a complimentary gourmet mini cupcake and food demonstrations were held in the cupcakery’s state-of-the-art cooking classroom.

“La Jollans really came out to show their support,” said Nina Han, general manager of Cups. “It’s because of them that we’ve been here for three years, and this was a good opportunity to show everyone our appreciation.”

Throughout the day, a line formed outside the front door of Cups’ LEED-certified lounge, as customers poured in to sample organic, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free and low-glycemic-index creations. Han said that it was surprising to see how many people stood in line to get a free cupcake and then returned to buy more.

“These are miniature works of art,” said Michael Reiss, a self-described cupcake aficionado, who, along with daughter Casey, devoured an assortment of cupcakes, followed by Cups’ signature strawberry milk on tap. “We usually overindulge whenever we come here, but the tradeoff is that everything is made with ingredients that I’m comfortable feeding to my family. And for that I’m willing to pay a premium.”

Cups is the brainchild of Michelle Lerach, a former labor-law attorney whose desire to become a cheese maker led her to start a food enterprise that has gone full tilt into the world of organic eating and sustainable farming. Lerach has also tak-en on the role of edu- cator with her culinary classroom, located be-hind the bakery.

“This entire operation is reflective of Michelle’s passion for food and food education,” said Nino Camilo, curator for Cups. “While you do not have to eat healthy every meal, you should be aware of what you’re eating to make informed decisions about ingredients and nutritional value.”

Camilo pointed out that for many who participated in the food demonstrations, it was their first taste of the Cups Culinary experience. He added that the year-round cooking school, intended for students of all levels, offers a wide variety of hands-on classes taught by many of San Diego’s top chefs. The best part, Camilo said, comes at the end of the session when students get to enjoy a complete meal and interact with the chef.

Gles Fontillas led a do-it-yourself caramel apple demonstration that she said was about more than just teaching people how to dip apples into caramel. She said that while many people have enjoyed eating a caramel apple before, few have actually made one with their own hands.

“It’s a messy process, but the goal here was to create a rewarding experience in a fun environment that will hopefully inspire them to enjoy the world of cooking,” Fontillas said. “At the same time, we want to give people the tools they need to make informed food choices that will lead to better health and more sustainable food-production practices.”

More information on Cups can be found at or by calling (858) 459-2877.
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