The "Ché" in the Ché Café's name refers to Argentine-born revolutionary Ché Guevara but also serves as an acronym for "cheap, healthy eats." But the vegan fare at UCSD's campus venue has been unavailable for months. The Ché website indicated that the kitchen would be closed throughout the fall quarter and would reopen this winter, but that goal wasn't achieved. The kitchen, which had been operational since the Ché opened in 1980, cannot pass inspection in its current state.
"We currently are lacking in funds and need certain industrial-friendly appliances to be NSF [the Public Health and Safety Company] approved," says Ché volunteer Norman Kuo. "We also need some overall general fixing up of the Ché, like painting and filling cracks, replacing tiles, that sort of thing. It was actually our choice to close down the kitchen, to give ourselves time to fix these problems, and since we are a volunteer-run organization only, it's hard because there's never any steady flow of money or help to get stuff done."
Ché volunteers still cook meals for touring bands that play the venue, but the money for the food tends to come out of the volunteers' pockets. Kuo says the food is typically cooked at their homes and the Ché facilities are used to reheat it.