TOWN 'N COUNTRY — Lizette Rivera was diagnosed with Celiac Disease three years ago, which meant that she quickly had to change her diet and eliminate any foods that contained gluten.
"I started looking for other snacks," said Rivera, who began eating a lot of popcorn since it's a gluten-free food.
When she started bringing flavored popcorn to her daughter's softball games and noticed how much everybody loved it, the idea for her company quickly came to life. Rivera worked with her friend, chef Dianelly Agudelo, to create a variety of flavored popcorn, and then opened up Chef Inspired Popcorn Company in Town 'N Country.
Located on Hanley Road, the store offers more than 20 varieties of gourmet popcorn. Flavors range from sweet varieties such as caramel, strawberry and green apple, to savory flavors like jalapeno and buffalo blue cheese. Rivera said her most exotic popcorn flavors are passion fruit and guava.
"That's why we have a variety because not everybody is going to like every flavor," said Rivera, vice president of operations.
Chef Inspired Popcorn Company offers popcorn bars and party favors for special events such as weddings, birthdays, quinceaneras, corporate events and marketing.
"We do gift baskets and holiday baskets," Rivera said.
The popcorn is also available for fundraisers. Rivera has already worked with local youth sports teams, and is planning on working with schools.
Chef Inspired Popcorn Company is located at 7004 Hanley Road, and is open Tuesday-Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The store is closed on Monday. To place a custom order, call (813) 559-1292, or visit cipopcorn.com.
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