We recently had the chance to sit down with one of our amazing local vendors here at the Urban Farmhouse, Elizabeth “Liz” Kiniry. She is the founder of Chace Chia Bars and is very engaged within the Richmond community as a distance runner, chef, and writer.
Easy one, first: Can you just tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m a trained chef, so my background is in classic culinary arts. I have worked for chefs like Bobby Flay and learned from Jacques Pepin, and a lot of wonderful chefs up in New York City. After I worked in Bobby Flay’s pastry kitchens in New York I went on to work for Wine Spectator and Food Arts magazines and then I came back to Richmond once I had my first child. I taught cooking lessons in Richmond and I’ve done a little freelance writing.
What made you want to start making Chia bars?
I started making my chia bars when I was training for a half marathon and I couldn’t find healthy nutrition that worked and tasted great at the same time.
What exactly is Chia, and why is it so good for you?
Chia seeds have a lot of really good nutrients. One of the best for runners is they give you sustained energy. It’s not like a burst of energy you would get when you have caffeine – it’s sustained energy that keeps you steady for a while. There is a lot of fiber in them, a ton of protein, and iron – a lot of really good things that make you feel great while you’re exercising.
Have you found the running community and general fitness community to be supportive of the “Chia movement”?
So far so good, yes, I really have. The biggest thing for me is getting people to try my bars since I am a newer product on the shelves. Typically when my runner friends, and strangers alike, try them, they really like them.
So what is your vision for the future for Chace Chia Bars?
Right now we’re still small enough where there is so much possibility and excitement and everything is just changing constantly. As far as the future goes, we need to do a lot of educating – like doing demos and tastings so people taste and learn what chia is, and why the bars are so beneficial to them. We recently expanded into Northern Virginia and are very excited about that potential and continued growth up there.
What have been the challenges and adjustments with starting your own company and transitioning from being a chef to making just Chia Bars?
One of the biggest things is working in Richmond, which is completely different than New York City. One challenge with making the chia bars is sitting down and writing recipes. Spending countless hours tasting the different flavor pairings and figuring out the flavor combinations – it’s as much of an art as it is a science. Creating these recipes can be one of the hardest parts yet one of the most enjoyable. The other big difference is getting used to the business side of everything. The chef part of the business is what I’m used to and I know – learning the business approach is completely new and different; yet, it’s exciting to see where we can go.
For more information checkout their website: