Sister’s legacy lives on as skinnypasta included in Oscars swag bag
Calgary’s Margot Micallef is preparing to brush shoulders with Hollywood elite during the 2016 Academy Awards as she continues to promote healthy eating through the company she founded alongside her sister.
Micallef’s company, renamed Gabriella’s Kitchen following the death of her sister and cofounder Gabriela three years ago, has been selected to supply products from its skinnypasta line in the Oscars swag bags presented to the nominees.
“It does seem a little bit surreal,” said Micallef. “I’m very excited. I always have a sense of what is possible so I have no idea I’ve never done anything like this at the Oscars before. I have no idea who’s going to come through our booth. I do anticipate that everybody’s going to love the pasta because I think it’s amazing.”
The pasta line was inspired by the dietary restrictions Gabriella faced throughout her battle with cancer.
“The whole idea for me is to build this company that actually fulfills the dream that she and I had and that dream is to create products that are delicious and nutritious,” explained Micallef. “What we learned when she got sick, was that if people choose or must eat on a regimented diet they become quite isolated unless the food is delicious and everybody can share it with them.”
The company expanded into the United States in March 2015 as an unknown commodity. Micallef secured a food truck, branded it with a skinnypasta wrap, and travelled throughout southern California giving the product away for free. Micallef says response to skinnypasta has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People generally get very excited when they learn about the nutrient content of our pastas, they love the taste, and they can’t believe that it’s got the kind of nutrients that it does have.”
The buzz surrounding the company somehow made its way to the team selecting the Oscars gifts.
“The people that were putting the swag bags together learned about us and approached us to ask if we wanted to be a part of it and we were floored,” said Micallef. ”We said of course.”
Mohammed El Hazzouri, an assistant professor of marketing at Mount Royal University’s Bissett School of Business, believes a product’s inclusion in the Oscars gift bags could lead to an exposure boon.
“Celebrities do have credibility as in whether we like it or not ,” explains El Hazzouri. “We like them, we follow them, we pay attention to what they use, and sometimes we do trust them.”
“In the age of Instagram, celebrities are sharing their everyday lives and definitely they’re sharing the brands that they are using.”
The CEO of skinnypasta wants everybody to love ‘her baby’ and knows the right endorsement could expand the reach of her message.
“We would love if even one celebrity fell in love with the product and couldn’t give it up and was constantly tweeting about it and posting and excited about it,” said Micallef. “That would be fantastic.”
skinnypasta is available locally at select grocery stores and organic markets.
With files from CTV's Kathy Le