Our Story Continues

Over the years, I've written over a thousand recipes, cooked for thousands of people, and trained many home cooks and culinary professionals.  Through it all though, I have become increasingly aware that many people simply aren't inspired to get into the kitchen and make cooking a regular part of their lives.  Even though there is a lot of information out there, they don't necessarily have the knowledge, skills, or time it takes to enjoy the process. In terms of time, preparation, and resources experienced cooks face challenges as well. Membership is designed to be inspirational, seasonal, and consistent. Not only will we address the basic and not so basic aspects in the kitchen - we’re going to explore wine, beer, cheesemaking, mushroom foraging and anything else I can think of - or you are interested in. Everything I do comes from the perspective of a professional chef that has been an avid home cook for 30 years.  This is the beginning of our next chapter - Bonicelli Cooking Club.

Now, a little history….I was born in northern Minnesota in the small town of Chisholm. My Grandmother taught my sisters and I to make pasta, ravioli, and gnocchi. Her food was simple and authentic. My father loved perfecting recipes, such as his meatballs and chili. He also LOVED holidays - which was when his special apron would come out! My mother was more of a baker than a cook. I still think her potica is the best I’ve ever had and her pies were absolutely wonderful! So - all of that started my interest in food and cooking. Oh - I should mention that Chisholm had a lot of great cooks - many of which were friends of my parents….lucky me! I, by the way, sang in bands from the age of 14 and later studied classical music and opera. The first recipe I ever wrote was my Cranberry Granola recipe. I was 17. It remains one of my signature recipes.

As a young mother I started to become aware of the tremendous shift in what Americans eat. Less and less cooking and more and more convenience food. TV dinners, McDonalds, boxed macaroni and cheese and hamburger helper were all considered A-OK. I did do a lot of cooking, but not really to avoid those things. It was more about creating an environment for my family and I just loved doing it.

Then I went to Italy. There was no supermarket culture there at that time and no need for an organic classification because Italians wouldn’t ever consider putting chemicals in their food. If food was imported - it was always the best product available or they wouldn’t bother with it. I was and am so influenced by their culture. From that trip going forward, I started investigating where food comes from locally as well how it’s grown and managed. I began to develop local resources and put the farmers markets at the top of my shopping list. I committed to making everything possible from scratch myself.

In 2008 I decided to start a food business focussed on fully prepped and delivered meals. That decision came right after a trip to Italy. I know that’s a big surprise. It took a year or so to test everything and get it up and running. Also during that time my husband, photographer Mark LaFavor, and I shot a lot of cooking videos. One a week for a year to be exact. I launched the business and I finally landed my first steady client with then Senator of Minnesota Mark Dayton. I cooked for him during his campaign right until he became the Governor of Minnesota. He made the business real and because he never took a break because of the campaign - I really had to figure things out. Catering was always very much a part of the mix, meal delivery grew, and eventually I opened a restaurant. So - lots of food - lots of clients - lots of recipes - and most of all lots of learning. So here I am with the Bonicelli Cooking Club.

They say the best teachers are the students that never stop learning. It’s a big world out there and it’s full of food!

Let’s get cooking!

Chef Laura Bonicelli