Chef | Dietitian | Restaurateur | Author
Laura Pensiero is the founder, owner, and creative force behind Gigi Hudson Valley (Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Catering.) Since Gigi's inception in 2001, Laura has developed a brand that embodies her career-long mantra: healthy local ingredients and Mediterranean flavors go hand in hand. Her background as a chef and registered dietitian combined with a strong connection with the culinary bounty of the Hudson Valley reflects the Gigi Hudson Valley Mediterranean style of cooking, marrying what is fresh and in season with simple yet bold and elegant flavors.
Laura is also a partner of Just Salad, a collection of more than 70 healthy "quick service" salad restaurants in the metro New York area, Florida, Chicago, Philadelphia, North Carolina, and Dubai. From 2008-2016 she developed the menu and recipes and oversaw the quality and nutrition of the brand.
A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Laura is also a registered dietitian who has worked at premier teaching hospitals such as NY Presbyterian and Memorial Sloan Kettering. After leaving acute clinical care, Laura began merging her background in nutrition and cooking, co-authoring The Strang Cancer Prevention Center Cookbook (McGraw-Hill 2004; Dutton 1998).
In 2009 Laura wrote Hudson Valley Mediterranean: The Gigi Good Food Cookbook (HarperCollins), sharing her flavorful and practical approach to wholesome and healthy eating. She frequently contributes to national magazines and shares health news, recipes, and cooking tips in her Laura's Corner Table column with Sanctuary Magazine. Laura has served on various private and public boards, including Vaughan Foods and Healthy Children, Healthy Futures.
Laura focuses on supporting her community via Gigi Hudson Valley and through her work in writing and education. She believes the best education is putting delicious, healthful food on the plate. Throughout her career in food and wellness, Laura has demonstrated that eating healthy is accessible and attainable, Hudson Valley Mediterranean style. Her efforts were recognized in the Fifth Anniversary Issue of O when Oprah Magazine named Laura among the 'Five Most Giving and Gifted Food Professionals.'