Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Laura, but Launette was a nickname given to me years ago and it stuck.
I was brought up on a wholesome diet, sweets were few and far between, but I have a strong memory of carob drops being a regular treat. I can fondly recall the health food shop we used to visit, two men, dressed in utilitarian aprons, behind a wooden counter with floor to ceiling jars on shelves, full of exciting, fragrant things. The carob drops would be weighed out in brown paper bags and I would savour them all the way home. Later, I discovered real chocolate, or what I thought was real chocolate. In my first year of Art school, I think it is what kept me going, cooking wasn’t a priority, going to gigs every night was. In my twenties, I would rarely be without a large bar of dark chocolate, I’d buy organic stuff because I was health conscious, but woman cannot survive on chocolate alone!
After graduating, I threw myself into music, singing in a band and DJing. I’d always be the one nursing a flask of herbal tea backstage, the cause of much teasing from fellow bandmates and dance-floor buddies alike, hardly rock and roll! Whilst on tour, I’d make a bee-line for the nearest health food shop, but rarely felt excited by what was on offer. It wasn’t until 2008, when I first had a taste of raw chocolate, that I was inspired. Overnight I was intrigued, fascinated, and delighted! I wanted to learn more about this incredible food, cacao, though my journey of discovery also led me to learn about diet, nutrition and living more consciously on a deeper level. I would stay up all night reading, researching and teaching myself how to make chocolate and then test it on friends and family. Soon enough I was encouraged to start selling my creations. So, in 2009 I set up my first business making and selling heart shaped delicacies in little brown boxes. Painstakingly made and packaged, I would deliver my wares by bike, all over London. My first logo was designed by a dear friend of mine, capturing my love of all things 70’s & folksy, romantic & whimsical with a nod to Victoriana. An aesthetic I still hold dear.
Around that time I also started catering events and festivals, journeying deeper into the world of nutrition and delighting in the creativity of it all. I also held my first workshop in 2009. I got so much satisfaction, sharing in the joy of people experiencing cacao’s uplifting properties for the first time. I still love teaching so much, its beautiful to see people’s creativity come out with an almost child-like joy (because it’s chocolate!)
In 2010, after a chance meeting with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall a year or so before, I was asked to take part in his Channel 4 ‘Veg’ series. At the time I was working on a regular supper club alongside fellow chef Chris Massamba with his unique take on African inspired raw vegan cuisine, myself on desert and chocolate duties. We hosted an event showing Hugh what we meant by “raw food”, which at that time was a quite a radical concept. To my delight, the episode we filmed received very positive feedback and I was overwhelmed by the response. Fast forward a few years and the health food and wellness scene has exploded in this country. It’s inspiring to see so many people taking positive steps to empower themselves and think more deeply about where their food comes from and questioning farming methods and sustainability.
I’m well aware that nobody has ‘the answer’, ideas and theories are ever changing and evolving. The truth is, we are all different. I firmly believe in tuning in to yourself, eating seasonally, organically and sustainably. Of course some of the foods we all enjoy are from more exotic places, including cacao, however I believe if we can commit to buying as much of our fresh produce from farmers markets and veg delivery schemes or better still, growing our own, it will make a big impact.
So from childhood memories of old fashioned health food shops, to discovering raw cacao. I now find myself a mother to twin boys, living in the countryside. Still learning, still creating and eager to share. I’m excited to have this platform on which to navigate further still, with like-minded souls.