IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - This is literally a sweet story about how a local mom in Idaho Falls has taken the 'guilt' out of eating chocolate.
As I sat in Kelsi Petersen’s kitchen, she began to share with me how a quest to eat better and live better turned into a successful business.
“It all started because of my mom,” Petersen said. “Her intestines flipped over and she's always been on a quest for health her whole life, but then when this happened she knew that she needed to find a way to eat cause her body wouldn't digest food anymore.”
At the age of twelve, Petersen decided to join her mom on this quest.
“I watched her for about a year and I was like ‘you know what…I actually like what she's doing’ and at twelve I decided I was going to eat like that,” Petersen said. “I gave up sugar…no candy…none of that.”
The two even traveled to the Anne Wigmore Natural Health Institute in Puerto Rico to become certified raw food chefs. They soon returned to Idaho Falls and began teaching cooking classes throughout the community.
“After a while, people would tell me ‘I actually love what you are doing. Can you just go ahead and make them for me?’" she said.
It was actually Petersen's husband who thought of starting the business, with Kelsi’s mom encouraging the idea. Petersen said her mom was her biggest supporter even after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS.
“She would even go to all of the stores and buy out all I had," Petersen said. "I thought I had a lot of customers, but I think it was my mom at first."
Three months after her diagnosis, Kelsi’s mom passed but the business lived on in her honor.
"I found Kelsi on instagram and I saw she was making these chocolate bites and she was based in Idaho Falls and I reached out to her,” said Kelsi’s business partner Cassandra Hume. “I said ‘I love what you're doing and I'm super interested in doing a project or business of my own. Are you interested in potentially having a partner?’"
Hume has been a huge part of getting KK’s Cocoa Bites into stores across the region, including Utah and Wyoming.
“The bites are made with just five ingredients, no gluten, no dairy or soy,” Hume said. "Kelsi and I would meet up at about 7:15 right when my baby went to bed and her kids had dinner and we would work all night.”
The two have even been features of Good Things Utah on ABC 4 in Salt Lake City, close to their new commercial kitchen after the business started booming and the business outgrew the facility in Idaho Falls. But the ties to Idaho Falls remain the same, as 10% of their proceeds go to ALS research and support.
"Most people have probably heard about ALS or Lou Gehrig's or have a friend of a friend whose mom is diagnosed, but to have it be such a personal connection and something that is in need of research and in need of support... it seemed like too good of a fit to pass up or ignore,” Hume said.
To find out more about Kelsi's Kitchen, click here.