About Alisa Barry

About Alisa Barry

 

Alisa is an artist, author & entrepreneur. Her passion for food and love of beauty is evident as an artistic and aesthetic expression in everything she creates.  Living in Europe and travels through-out small hill towns instilled a love of taking time out to savor life’s most simple luxury: cooking and eating.

 

Honing her culinary skills in San Francisco, Berkeley and the California wine country, she formed a food philosophy that continues to inform her simple, yet sophisticated cooking style.
 
 She believes it’s not only about what you eat, but also how you eat. When we take time to slow down and savor, we can enjoy food as a simple luxury in our daily life. 

 

After opening a small, European-style lunchtime café in Atlanta, Alisa expanded her offerings from locally sourced seasonal and organic menu items to a line of beautifully packaged pantry provisions.  Her inspiration for the hand-crafted artisan-made food she creates comes from ingredients she finds locally and in other regions of the country, where she scours farmer’s markets for the most unusual finds.

 

Her love of beauty and respect for restraint has attracted retailers from all over the world to showcase her artful food and gifts.
 
Alisa’s sensibility for simplicity and elegance extends beyond her culinary expertise.

Winning numerous prestigious industry awards, Bella Cucina has garnered the attention of the media over the years. A highlight has been a feature on Oprah’s most popular “Favorite Things” show {twice!}, O magazine, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Garden, and Cooking Light.

 Alisa regularly contributes to a number of publications including the Edible Communities, a national culinary trade magazine with regional affiliates in most major food cities throughout the US.

 

 

Alisa and her designer husband, Smith Hanes, enjoy returning to her culinary roots in the quiet food mecca of Yountville, California and visiting her favorite places in Tuscany, Italy. 

 

 

 

Q & A with “Bella”

 


 

What inspired you to create Bella Cucina?

 

There's nothing more that I love than sitting around the table sharing good food with friends.  Small bites  and a glass of wine. That's the way I like to eat and entertain.  

From oven to table and jar to platter, you only need a few fresh ingredients to make it a festive feast. 

And, I believe how we eat is just as important as what we eat.  From sweet little plates that fit in the palm of your hand, to hand-carved wooden serving pieces as elegant accoutrements. They all enhance the experience.  

 

I first fell in love with the art of eating when I lived in Europe many years ago. Every time I returned, I was reminded that taking time to savor is one of the simplest luxuries we can afford ourselves, everyday.  Bella Cucina first started as a small lunchtime café.  Inspired by Alice Water's philosophy of using what's in season, I would buy whatever the organic farmer's harvested for the week and create my menu around the ingredients.  I was the cook, the caterer and the clean-up crew.  

Soon after we opened, customers were asking how they could enjoy the flavors of the food in their own kitchen.  Within a short year, I was bottling up freshly picked basil pesto, baking Death by Chocolate cookies and  and preserving a Mediterrean condiment called preserved lemons.  Within a short time, I had a complete line of Italian-inspired pantry provisions. 

Fast forward a decade and some years later;  Bella Cucina has become an award-winning artisan-made product line sold around the world. 

 

What makes Bella Cucina products  different from others on supermarket shelves?

 

Bella Cucina makes over fifty different products:  from antipasti appetizers to our famous pestos, pasta sauces and dolci desserts.  Everything we produce is made by hand in small batches.   

All our recipes start as experiments in my kitchen which I call  il laboratorio. It's where all of the creations begin. 

 

Where is this product manufactured?

 All of our products are crafted by hand in small batches in Atlanta, Georgia.  We're purists at heart, so we never use any preservatives in our products and everything is ALL NATURAL. 

 

What do people love about using Bella Cucina products?

 

Simplicity is the new luxury and entertaining can be so easy!!  With just a few simple ingredients and serving plates, you can put out an impressive spread that will delight your guests with a feast for the senses.   There's nothing to more do but linger around the table with good food and friends. 

 

What do you love about what you do?

I love shopping in farmer's markets for inspiration and creating new products.  

It is an artistic expression of my creativity.  When I create a recipe that really works and people are delighted with it and use it in their own way, and e-mail me HOW the used it in their kitchens, feeding their family, that carries a big reward, I just Love that part of my work. Hearing their stories and seeing the photos of their own creations. 

 

How would you sum up your aesthetic & design philosophy?

Simplicity. Restraint. Beauty. 

 

What are you working on next?

I'll be working on a new cookbook in 2015.   My first cookbook, La Bella Vita,  sold over 30,000 copies! It will be a new and fun challenge to get back into the kitchen and write in the studio. I'm also finishing up a book about being in business called "The Art of Entrepreneurial Enlightenment." It's about how our work can be a vehicle for artistic expression, creative collaboration and personal transformation. 

 

 
What’s your dream job, other than your current occupation?

No matter what I do, who I am is an artist at heart.  I love encouraging other entreprenrial artists to pursue their passion and realize their dreams. Food will alway be my passion, but writing is my love.  Check out my website HERE for ideas, inspiration and entrepreneurial enlightenment.