Gaia Guidi was one of the first people I met when I moved to Los Angeles a decade ago. At the time, she was working for Tod’s, and then later for Bulgari—and always looking fabulous. Simply put, she has always exuded good taste. These days, she’s turned that good taste into a super successful business and has founded Gaia’s Goodies making the most INSANELY delicious cookies (like the flourless cocoa walnut cookies, above) for sale at finer food markets around town. And of course, she still looks impossibly glamorous while doing it. Pick up a bag of Gaia’s Goodies (retailers listed at end of post) for a deliciously tasteful hostess gift. I love how Gaia made the switch from fashion to food (a true foodinista!), and so asked her a few questions about “launching her line” as it were…
What inspired you to make the switch from fashion to food?
Gaia’s Goodies basically started at home – where all good things come from! There was of course a love for baking and pastry making and a growing obsession with the craft. One night, after having made a batch of cookies for dessert, my boyfriend, Marco, insisted I put them on the market…and so it began!
Though I had been out of the fashion biz for a little while already, it wasn’t as much a “switch” as it was a “realization.” Being from a food/ wine importer Italian family and one with a serious tradition for cooking and baking, all things food and drink run through my blood! I am definitely happiest in the kitchen and when people are pleased by the things I make, and I especially crave the precision and concentration I apply when baking. Call it therapy! So really, it had been as plain as the nose on my face for years – I just wasn’t seeing it for a long time.
Couple these factors with a dream team of cheerleaders and supporters (all with relevant experience, mind you)– my parents, Marco, my sisters, a fellow baker and many friends offering a helping hand with setting up a business, and there you have it. Oh yeah – and the will to get up earlier than I am used to!!
Having said all that – I may wear ugly shoes by day, but get me out of the bakery and I am back in my old fashion days’ get-up! [Foodinista note: Gaia does not look ugly by day.]
What flavors of cookies do you currently offer?
Flourless Cocoa Walnut
White Chocolate Apricot Oatmeal (pictured below)
Oatmeal Cherry Mixed Chip
….and more to come in the new year!
How are the flourless chocolate so damned good without flour?
Sometimes, ya just don’t need flour! Think if it as baked chocolate mousse. But also, as with all my children – I mean, cookies, we only use the very best ingredients. I just wouldn’t be doing this if I couldn’t make a cookie, or anything for that matter, that I didn’t think was perfectly delicious myself. As a food snob, that means excellent, natural ingredients – period. The other factor is method. The Flourless Cocoa cookie in particular is very challenging to make in large quantities, and this took many months to perfect. All the cookies are made by hand though, and in single batches.
A growing list of wonderful gourmet markets and cafés around town where you can find cookies and much more – Santa Monica Seafood, Wine House, Wally’s, Simply Italian (Woodland Hills), Hunger Market café (W.Hollywood), Bellissimo (Venice), Café Bello (Santa Monica) – for example. And, of course, at Guidi Marcello – Dad’s import biz in Santa Monica. They’re also available online at Olio & Olive.