March 25, 2016

Wednesday, one of our favorite snack companies, Triscuit, announced that they would be funding 55 independent food makers' Indiegogo (a crowdfunding/fundraising site similar to Kickstarter) accounts to help support their food-producing efforts. The company contributed a total of $250,000 to various campaigns, including funding for everything from food truck startups to money to purchase additional goats for a chèvre producer in Maryland.

Helping make the announcement was chef and TV star, Giada De Laurentiis. "There's no better feeling than giving back and allowing people with creative ideas for food businesses to have the financing to help their dreams become reality," she says. "I'm personally really interested in this project since I became familiar with one of the companies Triscuit helped last year, Olympia Provisions, which I now serve in my restaurant in Vegas. Their business skyrocketed with the help they got." De Laurentiis got to personally hear the excitement in the business owners' voices when they learned of the funding. "For these people, Christmas came early," she says. "I'd love to follow up with them down the road and see how these businesses flourish."

In addition to announcing the project, Giada took a few minutes to update us on her latest  cravings and what all is on her plate.

CL: What are some of your go-to healthier snacks these days?GDL: Popcorn! I've been doing one inspired by cacio e pepe, so it's got pepper and pecorino. Then I do another one with red pepper flakes and Parmesan. I also love making pineapple-ginger smoothies with my daughter, Jade. They feel like a treat, but they're still light enough that she'll want to eat dinner. We play a game where we top a cracker with a whipped mascarpone mixture and she's allowed to top it with as many chocolate chips as will stick (spoiler alert: not many). It turns it into a game so she stays engaged with what she's eating. Truly my favorite cracker is a rosemary Triscuit, which I'll stack with provolone, mortadella, and a piquillo pepper--or I'll build a Caprese stack on top of a cracker, which holds up better than a baguette and doesn't need toasting. Sometimes I'll just have a few of these as a light dinner. I view snacking as a way to stay trim. That way, you're slowly breaking down food rather than everything hitting your stomach all at once. My philosophy is to enjoy just a little bit of everything.

CL: What else are you doing to feel your best these days?GDL: A lot of yoga! I got hooked when I was pregnant with my daughter. It helps me with my posture and helps me breathe. When you stand in front of a stove you tend to roll your shoulders forward, but yoga helps me open them up and provides clarity.

CL: Congratulations on the opening of your restaurant, Giada, in Las Vegas. What's next for you?GDL: I just finished filming the latest season of Food Network Star, which begins airing in May. And I've got another show on Italy coming up--this one is filmed in Florence. I've got a few things brewing! In the meantime, this project was a fun way to connect with tastemakers across several fields--chefs, journalists, tekkies, and food producers--to find out what's happening out there in the food world, see what we can improve, and empower and celebrate these makers.

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