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First-Of-Its-Kind Kitchen Provides Businesses An Opportunity For Growth

MOUNT WASHINGTON ( — From Sonoma to Los Angeles, Leah Ferrazzani's love of food grew while living up and down the California coast.

But as an avid cook, she noticed something important was missing at the grocery store.

"I was pregnant with my second child and really realizing that I didn't have a lot of time to make fresh pasta anymore and wanted to find some locally made dry pasta to feed my family and couldn't," she explained.

Ferrazzani decided to teach herself how to make fresh pasta in big batches.

"As I was doing my research, not only did I find out that there was only about a dozen small dry pasta manufacturers in the country, but that most of the pasta that we import from Italy is made from American wheat," she said.

Within two years, Ferrazzani created a home food business called Semolina Artisanal Pasta.

Semolina, of course, is a kind of wheat.

Ferrazzani makes everything from shells to spaghetti and her kitchen has been certified by the health department.

But like many small-batch producers, Ferrazzani has outgrown her own kitchen, which is where LA Prep comes in.

LA Prep is a food production center that houses businesses ready to reach a higher level of production by renting out kitchens. It's the only venue of its kind in the country. Before, people like Ferrazzani, had to use a co-packer or build a commercial kitchen, which could cost more than $200,000.

"They're putting together all of the steps so that once you sign your lease, you're applying to the state and city permits so the day you move in, you can hit the ground running," Ferrazzani said.

Ferrazzani presently makes 200 pounds of pasta a week but when her new kitchen is ready in March, she'll be able to double that.

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