When Courtney Matinata came home from Virginia Tech, her parents quickly became annoyed with her constant talk of her favorite college town dishes. When visiting Blacksburg after graduation, Matinata and her friends would fight about what foods to eat first.
Thus, an idea for a cookbook series was born.
“We were like, 'Other schools, they have to be crazy fanatics like we are for their own dishes,'” Matinata said. “So we really wanted to give fans access to their favorites.”
Along with her two business partners — her husband and her sister-in-law — Matinata began working on a series of collegiate cookbooks full of favorite local recipes.
They started with large schools in North Carolina, beginning with UNC.
“We really wanted to pick a school that had really supportive football fans and sport team fans because a lot of loyalty comes with that,” Matinata said. “And we just wanted a big enough school where we’d find the type of fans we were looking for and the type of students and just the community in general. It was a great community to start with.”
To nail down some of the favorite dishes of UNC, Matinata had to do extensive research, often sifting through reviews and blogs. She talked to alumni, students and friends of friends.
“It’s interesting because the more people you talk to, you really hear about the same top ones,” she said.
Matinata said the group tried to get recipes that could work for an average home cook, taking into account the accessibility of ingredients and the scope of a restaurant versus a home setting.