Before Laura Briscoe, the founder of Lauraâ€™s Gourmet Granola, a local company with a 16-year history, became an entrepreneur and a chef, she worked in the tech industry. Burnout led her to leave the industry and pursue her passion for cooking. She went to culinary school and upon graduating, started her own high-end catering company, becoming one of the Valleyâ€™s most well-regarded private event chefs. Her knowledge of cuisine and culinary instruction led her to become a regular presence on local news and talk shows as Chef Laura.
As she found success as a private chef, Laura also began experimenting with a granola recipe that could provide the taste sheâ€™d always loved but with less fat and sugar than other granolas available at the grocery store. This constant experimentation led to the creation of her first granola flavor, Vanilla Almond Crunch. After perfecting Vanilla Almond Crunch, Laura armed herself with handmade bags of granola and started her grassroots approach to getting her product on store shelves â€” by tirelessly visiting local markets, talking to store managers and leaving them with samples.
Finally, Arizonaâ€™s largest specialty food retailer agreed to carry her product and today, Lauraâ€™s Gourmet Granola can be found on shelves at grocers such as AJs Fine Foods, Whole Foods, Safeway, Kroger and more. Her granola is also used as a foodservice option and is featured on menus in restaurants around the country. Locally, it can be found on menus at Scramble, The Phoenician, the Wigwam Resort, Over Easy, Breakfast Club Cityscape, Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade, Berry Divine AÃ§ai Bowls, Farm and Craft, and various Fox Restaurant Conceptsâ€™ restaurants.
â€œOur sole focus always has been to make unparalleled, classic granola using only all natural ingredients and prove that healthy and delicious can coexist in every artisan crafted, gluten-free bite,â€ Laura says. â€œWe are committed to creating granola flavors that will delight the palate without compromising oneâ€™s health or sending one to the dictionary to understand our ingredients. We have done this for more than 15 years with seven flavors and look forward to more.â€
Possibly ahead of the curve when it comes to many of the important dietary needs that health-conscious consumers are looking for today, Lauraâ€™s all natural granola is gluten free, dairy free, soy, cholesterol and trans-fat free, and always has been. Four of the flavors are nut free and vegan, using agave in lieu of honey. After the initial product launch of Vanilla Almond Crunch, Lauraâ€™s Gourmet Granola now offers other flavors including: Sinful Cinnamon Crunch (the brandâ€™s newest flavor), LocoCocoNut Crunch, CherryRific Crunch, AppleLicious Crunch, Honey Roasted Peanut Crunch, and the seasonal Pumpkin Pecan, available September through December.
Lauraâ€™s Gourmet Granola is now in its 16th year of business. In 2019 the company celebrated its 15th anniversary with a new and expanded location in Tempe, where all of her products are artisan crafted daily, packaged and shipped to distributors. The new location at 1032 West 23rd Street is triple the size of its previous facility and, in August 2019, was also designated kosher with rabbinical supervision by Kosher Supervision of America (KSA). Lauraâ€™s Gourmet Granola is also thrilled that it has landed its first national specialty retail distributor and, over the last six months, her reach has expanded to multiunit chains in Texas, Chicago, and Milwaukee, plus independent retailers throughout the country.
As the company continues to grow, Laura is evaluating new flavors as well as enhancing existing flavors with plant-based protein options. However, she remains dedicated to providing her clients with consistency and quality throughout her line of delicious, healthy, and all-natural artisan granola. Laura encourages home cooks and professionals alike to think â€œoutside the bagâ€ and explore recipes â€” from super healthy to a bit indulgent â€” that feature all of her granola flavors. As a â€œgranola straight shooterâ€ she adds, â€œItâ€™s pretty great right out of the bag, too.â€ Laura has a number of delicious granola recipes on her website from salads to pancakes.
Lauraâ€™s Gourmet Granola can be found throughout Arizona in retailers including AJâ€™s Fine Foods, Whole Foods Market, Safeway, Queen Creek Olive Mill, Williams Sonoma at the Biltmore, and select Fryâ€™s. For more about Lauraâ€™s Gourmet Granola, visit http://www.laurasgourmet.com
By Molly Cerreta Smith
Photo Courtesy of Lauraâ€™s Gourmet Granola