Lynne Rosaia: My Nonni's is all about family

Lynne Rosaia says her Italian frozen food company is all about family. </p>

The dishes that Rosaia distributes through My Nonni’s Italian Foods have come to her through several generations of her family, starting with her great-grandmother, who opened a restaurant across the street from the historic Ferry Building.

“Nonni” is an affectionate Italian term for grandmother. Available in retail stores since 2006, the line’s name was inspired by comments from Italian women at a celebratory dinner for her cousin in Tuscany. According to Rosaia, after tasting her food, those women said it was “just like my nonni’s.”

The dishes were in good company, too, she said.

“While I was there I had unbelievable food. We were there for three hours and didn’t even have dessert yet.”

Because of the importance that the recipes she uses have in her family history, Rosaia said she takes the integrity of her company’s product very seriously. This was a factor in her decision to turn to frozen food, according to her, which leaves the product in the same state when the consumer purchases as it was when it was made. She prides herself as well on keeping her ingredients local.

“The only thing I import is organic cheese,” she says. “The meat is all from California’s Central Valley.”

Rosaia has a clientele in mind for her product, and it’s not the kind of people who frequently dine in at gourmet Italian restaurants.

“I’m very empathetic with working mothers who have trouble getting dinner on the table,” she says. “With my products they can get a good dinner on the table in a couple of minutes. I’m all for families having dinner together again. I love to spread my family’s recipes to new people.”

My Nonni’s is available in 170 stores. The brand currently is only sold in California and Nevada, but Rosaia is eager to share her family’s recipes with those who wouldn’t be lucky enough to attend one of her family dinners. She hopes to soon make her products available throughout the West Coast.

BUSINESS

New project: Cheese ravioli

and organic marinara sauce

Last project: Meat ravioli

and Italian meat sauce

Number of emails a day: 30-40

Number of voice mails a day: 10-15

Essential Web site: mynonnis.com

Gadgets: iPod

First job: Selling computers

Career objective: Entrepeneur

PERSONAL

Hometown: South San Francisco

Sports/hobbies: Cooking and entertaining

Transportation: Lexus

Favorite restaurant: French restaurant in San Francisco

Vacation spot: Italy

Role model: Lidia Obstani

Reading: Historical fiction

Worst fear: Failure

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