Qu’est-ce que c’est le “Bellybar”?! Got a hankering for dill pickles and peanut butter? Or does the mere scent of a saltine send you running for the door? Well hold on to your breast pump, help has arrived… in the form of a Bellybar.

This musing is as much about life after Silicon Valley as it is about food. Two former co-workers of mine at a Very Large Software Company heard the cry. From friends to family to focus groups, women were craving something nutritious and delicious so Leslie and Meredith, co-Belly bosses, set out to create the perfect nutrition bar for women before, during and after pregnancy — a bar that was jampacked with the vitamins, minerals and omegas needed to nourish both mother and baby — and aptly named it the Bellybar.

With flavors such as Berry Nutty Cravings, Mellow Oat, and Baby Needs Chocolate (now we’re talking!), every craving is covered. They are chewy, similar to a Clif bar, one of my favorites, and surprisingly tasty. The two Belly babes consulted nutritionists, chefs, doctors, nurses, dietitians, medical institutes, and many many women and the result is a snack bar that hits all the right notes.

I love it because it is made by women, for women. The Belly board talked with literally hundreds of women asking them what they wanted rather than telling them what they needed, a practice rampant in Silicon Valley that always boggled my mind like when the development team built an event management application without talking to anyone on the, oh I don’t know, events team! But I digress…

Thanks to their business school training and corporate savvy along with an abundance of ingenuity, smarts and elbow grease, these bars are literally flying off the shelves. You can find these fabulous Bellybars all around the Bay Area, throughout the west coast in Whole Foods Markets, and on the internet.

So rather than spending nine months grabbing for the cheetos and ice cream, belly up to a Bellybar. Since I am just a few croissants short of looking pregnant, I might have to buy a case or two of these for myself.

Belly Up to a Bellybar 10 March,2006Cucina Testa Rossa


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin’s PBS cooking show, “Fast Food, My Way”, Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. “More Fast Food, My Way” should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

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