Laura Laird and her two fifteen-year-old daughters may be new to the Lantana community, but one thing is for certain; Laura Laird will be making a huge impact with her small business, Culinary Immersion Supper Club. Laura is no stranger to hard times and tragedies, and yet she’s used those experiences and turned them into the ability to bless those around her with the gift she was given by God.
While Laura is now a resident of Lantana, she actually grew up in communist Romania where she lived for 24 years. “Growing up, especially in the last ten years I lived in Romania, it was pretty bad. We had to learn to make do with very little. I can remember waiting in line for four to five hours just to get a loaf of bread,” Laura recalled. It wasn’t until summertime when Romania’s equivalent to a farmer’s market would come to town that they would be able to have just a tiny bit more.
“We didn’t eat out. We cooked everything. And whatever we had was what we cooked,” Laura mentioned. Laura grew up watching her mother and grandmothers cook in their extremely tiny kitchen and the food that they cooked was always delicious. When she was just 12 years old, Laura cooked her first meal for her parents. “It was something that I loved doing,” Laura said. From there, her passion for cooking and creating delicious recipes was born.
After 24 years, Laura was finally able to leave Romania. She moved to Paris for 3 months before moving to the United States in 1992. “I was in absolute shock when I moved to Paris. There were so many restaurants and mom-and-pop shops. There were just copious amounts of food! I was in hog heaven,” Laura said. “I remember walking into a store that was a lot like Costco, just not as large, and it was an out-of-body experience. I’d never seen anything like it. I stopped at a table where a woman was passing out fresh cheese. She offered me a sample and I asked how much the sample cost. She looked at me like I was crazy! When she told me it was free I ate maybe half a pound of cheese. She said, ‘you like the cheeses that even French people don’t like.’ Food made me so happy.”
30 years ago in December is when Laura made the move to the United States. Still, 30 years later, Laura can’t seem to walk into a grocery store without a smile on her face. “It’s unusual for someone like me to be able to have so much,” Laura commented.
Laura began voraciously watching cooking shows and reading cookbooks which lead to her experimenting with cooking in her kitchen. “I had to learn the imperial system. We used the metric in Europe,” Laura mentioned. “I began experimenting with crazy things that I would find at the store. I would research them and then learn how to cook them. It was so amazing to me.” This led to Laura beginning to cook for her friends and family.
Finally, in 2017, Laura’s husband, Ken Laird, convinced her that she needed to do something special with this gift that she was given. Laura found the group, SCORE, and started talking to them about her dreams. “One of the men asked me if I knew what a supper club was. Now, to me, people in Texas liked meat and potatoes. A supper club is more refined. I believed that it wouldn’t work,” Laura recalled. However, he begged to differ. People had started looking for more fresh foods and more farm-to-table options. This convinced Laura to test the waters.
She told six friends of the idea of a themed dinner club. “I asked them to come over, but not to come in the kitchen. I wanted them to act as my clients. I asked them to be brutal in their critique. People were going to be paying for this and I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to know what I did right and what I did wrong,” Laura mentioned. Laura spent two days prepping the food and at the end of the five-course meal, when Laura asked what they thought, they had nothing bad to say. Laura had blown them away with her gift.
Laura now hosts some of the most amazing supper clubs. Her most popular is her murder mystery dinner parties, which she writes herself. Unfortunately, her husband Ken, the man that encouraged her to pursue her dreams, the love of her life, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in January of this year. Now more than ever, her business is essential to provide for her family. “This has never been just a hobby. I don’t take this opportunity lightly in any way,” Laura said.
Even though her parties will leave you speechless, the star of the show is actually her homemade scones – and they really are homemade! She doesn’t even use a mixer. She makes a sweet and savory version. Her clients started telling her they would pay for her scones if she wanted to start selling them. Well, Laura delivered on that. She now will prepare the scones and freeze them for you to be able to take home and bake them yourself. She’ll even deliver them right to your door! With exceptional strength, optimism, and service it’s easy to see how Laura and Culinary Immersion Supper Club will be rising up in Denton County.