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Rising Stars: Meet Leah Ferrazzani

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leah Ferrazzani.

Leah, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Semolina Artisanal Pasta is what happens when a food and wine writer has two kids in two and a half years and watches all their free time to make fresh pasta fly out the window. Seriously! I couldn’t understand why all the good pasta was imported from Italy, and when I discovered that we export half the durum wheat we grow in the U.S. to Italy, I had an aha moment. What I didn’t have is any experience creating a product, launching it into market or building a manufacturing business. I learned all of that while I was making pasta and drying it in a makeshift dryer I built in my laundry room. That was eight years ago! Now my kiddos are big, and my pasta is sold in hundreds of stores, including my own little pastaficio and retail shop in Pasadena.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
If any small business owner tells you their road has been smooth, they’re either lying or they have A LOT of money. Seriously, I have learned most things the hard way–don’t grow too fast, don’t grow too slow, when to say yes and when to say no–and I’m still learning. I think the biggest takeaway from all of the challenges I’ve faced is to know what you want and not to get distracted by the shiny things. People can talk a sweet game about what they’ll do for you, but in the end, you have to like the business you run. It’s your dream, live it.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Semolina Artisanal Pasta makes the best pasta in the west. I was hesitant to say that for a while, but I truly think our semolina pastas are better than anything else being made here. Whether fresh or dried, they have pure wheat flavor and a toothsome texture. Our retail shop on Lincoln Ave. is pretty special, too. Not only do we sell our pastas, but our team loves to talk about cooking and to help you find the ingredients so you can cook spectacular Italian-inspired meals. We recently started making mouth-watering sandwiches at our shop as well. Let’s just say that the Mortadella, Straciatella and Pistachio Aillade is already legend among the lucky few who’ve tried it.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
If you’re in the Los Angeles are, come by our shop! We’re open daily and it’s truly the best way to get a taste of Semolina since you can buy all of our pastas, enjoy our sandwiches and shop our curated selection of pantry items. Plus, during the week, you can actually see the pasta getting made through the window.

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