SFU alumna and entrepreneur Margot Micallef escaped relatively unscathed after her appearance on Dragons’ Den last night, where she pitched Gabriella’s Kitchen, the health food company she started with her sister.
Micallef, who holds a degree in psychology from SFU as well as a law degree from UBC, entered the business world after her sister was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003. The two began cutting certain foods from their diets, but struggled to find products that fit their new lifestyle.
“I was looking for a high quality, healthy, low-carb and low-calorie pasta, and none existed,” Micallef told The Peak. “So I hired a chef to create one for me!”
Micallef’s efforts resulted in the creation of SkinnyPasta: a high-protein, low-carb pasta. She later expanded her line to include a gluten-free pasta, eventually renaming the company Gabriella’s Kitchen after her sister.
“The dragons have a wealth of knowledge and having them as partners would be awesome.”
Margot Micallef, SFU alumna
“We want to empower people to eat well without compromise,” replied Micallef when asked about her goals with the company. “That means without compromising taste, convenience, affordability and health.”
Twelve years after starting her business, Micallef found herself in Toronto, descending the stairs into the Dragons’ Den to pitch her company to five all-star investors.
When asked why she decided to apply for the show, she replied, “The dragons have a wealth of knowledge and having them as partners would be awesome. I believe we are never too old to learn from others.”
Micallef spent almost an hour in the den with the Dragons. “The time flew by,” she commented. “The piece that gets aired is quite short relative to how much time we spend in front of the Dragons.”
Despite her lengthy pitch, Micallef left without an investment from the Dragons.
“I was disappointed at the time that the Dragons chose not to invest,” said Micallef. “But I’m a big believer in playing the cards we’re dealt. So I don’t usually linger too long on ‘what was,’ but focus more on ‘what is.’”
Since doing the show, Gabriella’s Kitchen has expanded their business across Canada, and Micallef is excited about their impending US launch.