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Stories: Your Pasta's Alisha Bennett and David Kaplan

Stories: Your Pasta's Alisha Bennett and David Kaplan

Your Pasta is a Brooklyn-based food brand committed to nourishing our Earth. We launched our companies around the same time and feel very much aligned with the mission of founders (and husband and wife team), David Kaplan and Alisha Bennett, to minimize their carbon footprint and donate to local causes - not to mention the challenge of trying to juggle many roles in and outside of work!

It was a treat to sit down with David and Alisha to learn more about their story and to celebrate food as a source of joy and connection.   

Beanstory: Alisha, you’re a social worker, mom, and therapist by day. And a pasta business co-founder by night! Dave, you went from working in one of the most sought after restaurants in New York to not only running your own food brand, but also making the pasta yourself. Plus being a dad of a toddler. How did you both decide to launch your brand? 

AB: COVID! We were at home, eating lots of pasta. Before the pandemic, Dave had been running the pasta room at Misi (with Missy Robbins) and when things came to a halt, we had to figure out what to do. We both have a history of working in restaurants and the food industry all over New York City and had always wanted to open a restaurant of our own. But, when things were shutting down during Covid, we knew that wasn’t an option. So, we turned to the next best thing.

DK: We were expecting our first child at the time (our daughter was born in May, 2020) and I was cooking up a lot of pasta when we were all stuck at home. It was our comfort food. During that time of so much uncertainty, pasta made us feel better - and we wanted to share that feeling and bring better made pasta into the world. 


"During that time of so much uncertainty, pasta made us feel better - and we wanted to share that feeling and bring better made pasta into the world." 



B: What makes your pasta so good?

DK: Good, simple ingredients and no additives. Our pasta is handmade in small-batches using organic semolina flour and filtered water. That’s it. And our flour is sourced domestically from North American farms. We're not importing any of our ingredients.

AB: We learned in building our brand that many pastas that are “made in Italy”, source flour from the U.S., have it produced in Italy, and then shipped back to the U.S. This seemed wild to us, and not in line with our environmental goals as small business owners, so we made sure our flour was from the U.S. 


B: That does seem crazy - and wildly inefficient. But if there are no additives in your pasta, how is your pasta shelf-stable? 

DK: It’s about the drying process. I’m learning a ton and it’s a work-in-progress - there’s a very specific window in terms of how long to dry each batch. 


B: That reminds us of beans. Our farmers can grow all season and have beautiful crops, but they have to get the timing just right for harvesting. If beans dry for too little, they might be soft and not hold up, too long, and they crack. What do you do with all the pasta that isn’t dried properly?

AB: We donate a lot of pasta - but all of our pasta gets properly dried. That is a standard we make sure to follow for safe consumption. For batches that may be overdry which can result in some breaking of the pasta shape, we do donate that because it is completely edible and safe for anyone to eat. Just doesn't hold the shape as we want or expect it to. Organizations we have worked with are Global Empowerment Mission, San Antonio Food Bank for Uvalde Community, and Elmhurst Community Fridge. We try to donate to communities globally that have been touched by tragedies as a way of sending comfort through food. Part of our business model is to donate 5% or our annual revenue to various organizations who are doing racial and social justice work. And we’ve partnered with the Black Chef Movement, providing monthly pasta donations to reduce hunger and food injustice. 


B: That’s amazing. And your beautifully made pasta gets put into your beautifully designed bags. It’s your packaging that attracted us to your brand before we even knew your story. What was your intention with your packaging?

AB: First and foremost we wanted a bag that was sustainable. There’s so much greenwashing in this space. But we couldn’t bring ourselves to add another plastic bag to the world. So, we went through unbelievable lengths to find a bag with a window that is completely plastic free. What we ended up with is a bag that is compostable, biodegradable and fully recyclable without having to deconstruct any part of it. From there, we wanted to have a bag that was fresh and fun. So much of the pasta packaging out there feels old and stodgy. We wanted to mix things up. 



B: Your bags stand out, in a lovely way. And there’s a lot of overlap in our stories, so we’re excited to cook together. Dave whipped up some Pasta e Ceci with Your Pasta and Our Beans:) A delicious combo. Thank you so much for sharing your story, pasta, and talents with us. It’s not every day that we get a Misi alum to cook for us! 

AB + DK: Enjoy this one. It’s a go-to recipe in our family and we hope you all enjoy the power of a good pasta (and beans) to lift our moods. 

Visit Your Pasta to snag some bags of pasta and try David's Pasta e Ceci - hopefully a new staple in your homes, too.  

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