What do you do when you find yourself a divorced single mom with no income?
You go out and look for a job, of course!
In 1982, that's exactly what Bonnie Tempesta did. A native of the Bay Area, Tempesta was overwhelmed with fear and the responsibility of starting a new life after being married for ten years. Bonnie also had a healthy respect for the task of raising a little girl by herself and knew that she needed to do something to makes ends meet.
Having a passion for culinary arts, Bonnie's instinct was to seek work in the food world. She landed a part-time job at a high-end chocolate shop in the Financial District of San Francisco, serving espresso coffee drinks.
After working there for a while, it occurred to Bonnie that the Italian cookies her aunt Isa from Prato, Italy, used to make would go perfectly with the coffee drinks she was serving.
She began making the twice-baked cookies out of her kitchen (biscotti in Italian means, "twice-baked"). These biscotti became so popular that soon Bonnie had a hard time keeping up with the demand. It was then that she decided to open a bakery (with the help of her late mother and brother) and make the biscotti on a much larger scale.
This was the dawn of the biscotti age in the United States. In fact, Bonnie is often called "The Biscotti Queen" for being the first to introduce this Italian treat to America commercially.
As if Bonnie's plain biscotti weren't enough of a hit here in the U.S., Bonnie decided to marry her cookie with some of the high quality chocolate from the shop she got her start in and a completely new version of biscotti was brought into the world!
In the years she owned La Tempesta Bakery, Bonnie experimented with other flavors as well -- even having a peanut butter biscotti in honor of Fourth of July. Everything she baked was a success.
In addition to being a fabulous cook, Bonnie also has good business instincts. She was able to build an extremely successful biscotti company (La Tempesta), which by 1995, was seeing revenues of nearly $9 million. Bonnie eventually sold and went into semi-retirement to focus on raising her daughter.
Bonnie remarried in 1993 and would find herself in the divorce arena again more than sixteen years later.
She always had it in her mind to bake biscotti again some day and with her daughter grown and more time on her hands, Bonnie decided she would start a new company. She and a handful of friends began baking the cookies in her kitchen again and -- just as before -- her biscotti is selling like hotcakes!
The company name Bonnie came up with for her new venture is "Boncora," which literally means "Bonnie Again," and it is a combination of her name and the Italian word for again, "ancora."
In the few short months since its inception (September 2012), Boncora Biscotti has been written about in Newsweek, The Washington Post, The L.A. Times, and the New York Times food review sections.
While the biscotti is still all made by hand, you won't have to head to your favorite fine food store or fancy food show to find them. Boncora Biscotti are available online and you can get more information by visiting the site at: www.boncorabiscotti.com
As someone who sees people go through the frightening divorce experience every day, I love Bonnie's story because she faced her fears, undertook something she was really good at and managed to develop a successful career out of it -- not once, but twice!
Other women who have overcome hard times following divorce include California Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, who, with three small children in tow, had to go on welfare following her divorce, and J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series) who went from extreme poverty following her divorce to being ranked the twelfth richest woman in the United Kingdom by The Sunday Times Rich List in 2008.
It goes to show that the darkest transition in your life can turn into the sweetest, most creative and most powerful new beginning imaginable. Make it a point to get through your divorce in one piece and after it's over (and it will have an end), don't be afraid to share your talents with the world.