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74 WINTER 2014 K KEENELAND.COM pasta guys your background and my background, I think we can make this happen." That night Lexington Pasta Company was conceived over a bottle of Chianti, a plate of local veggies, and fresh spinach fettuccine. Ultimately abandoning their corporate careers, they launched their pasta production business in Gonzalez's basement in 2009. Adding an electric pasta cutting machine to the original basics of the KitchenAid mixer and rolling pin, they followed the pasta-making process of mixing, fattening, and then cutting; turning out about a pound of fresh pasta per hour. Fired up with the enthusiasm of entrepreneurialism, they would make 5 pounds (fve hours work) of pasta every day and then visit various restaurants in town trying to break into that market. Their typical promotional line would be: "Hey, we are a new business in town making fresh pasta. Give us a try," and they would leave samples in a Ziplock bag. At frst they heard a lot of "no thanks" or "we make our own" or "we don't need fresh pasta." Then, after several weeks of persistence, they got the call they were waiting for. It was from Andy Myers, Bellini's chef at the time, who called and said, "Lesme, I like your product. I know you guys use 100 percent semolina four. Can I have 20 pounds for tomorrow?" Again the response was "sure." At this point they were still working out of Gonzalez's basement, and they still only had equipment that produced pasta at the rate of one pound per hour. With no shortcuts when it comes to making pasta, it took the requisite 20 hours to fll the order. Gonzalez shared that toward the end he was just beating and almost weeping on the dough he was so exhausted, especially when, after 19 hours of non-stop production, their lit- tle machine started to emit smells and sounds of protestation. Romero says they even started talking to it — "please don't stop, please, please, you can do it …" Two days later Bellini's ordered another 20 pounds. The original Bellini's order sold for the same price per pound that Lexington Pasta charges today. Above and right, Fani Diaz makes ravioli at the company's shop on North Limestone Street. Lexington Pasta produces 2,000 pounds of pasta a week.

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