Four Former Experienced Soccer Gamers Tackle The Environment Of Italian Cuisine

ElevenTwelve is an e-commerce organization specializing in Italian foodstuff and wine established by 4 Italian-born American soccer gamers. Via their passion for American soccer and Italian food stuff, co-founders Giorgio Tavecchio, Vincenzo D’Amato, Davide Merlo and Paolo Tempo are on a mission to share their society and community with the United States.

“Our intention is to be the premier Italian way of life knowledge in the United States. There are quite a few Italian importers, but we supply special and genuine activities as opposed to just delivering products and solutions,” points out Giorgio Tavecchio, CEO of ElevenTwelve. 

“Our mission is not to sell Italian items but to educate shoppers to comprehend and appreciate the Italian way of everyday living. To do this, we are continuously including to our bouquet of merchandise, picking out not only based on high-quality, but also on uniqueness and specialness. We are an American Dream sharing the Italian Dream!” 

Tavecchio grew up involving Italy and the United States. Though he believed his route was to play colligate soccer, he was offered a past minute wander-on spot on the Cal Berkeley football crew. “As the Godfather famously said, ‘it was an provide I could not refuse.’ I confirmed up on campus three days before the 1st game and finished up starting up for 4 yrs — a genuinely unusual event,” he recollects. Tavecchio ended up continuing his soccer career in the NFL, enjoying for 6 groups in 9 many years. 

Tavecchio fortuitously fulfilled each and every of his co-personnel as a result of the game of football. It has been their love of Italian meals and wine that has solidified their bond, previous just friendship, and into the earth of business.

“We designed a deep bond of friendship which appeared to middle around the table that distinctive time and place in which we shared life alongside one another. Reflecting on this deep feeling of relationship, two fully different worlds — American Football and Italian meals and wine — seemed to unite fantastically.”

We chatted with Tavecchio on how ElevenTwelve arrived collectively, his enthusiasm for Italian cuisine, the ElevenTwelve workforce, and more. Here’s what he had to say.

How did you go from professional soccer to co-founding ElevenTwelve? When did you make a decision you wished to make the move into this new industry?

Potentially the most impactful experience from my formative college or university many years was my friendship with Vincenzo D’Amato. His tale is really similar to mine: born in Palermo, Sicily and moved to the US about age 9, he also grew up enjoying soccer but observed his route to college having the condition of an American soccer.

In a rare stroke of coincidence, had been the only two Italian-born higher education soccer gamers in the overall nation: at the exact college, at the exact same time, actively playing the very same situation (kicker). 

However we competed for the setting up spot on the area, we turned the best of close friends off the field because of to our shared values and cultures, usually hosting substantial workforce dinners ourselves. After four formative yrs at Cal Berkeley, I had the superior fortune of continuing my football journey into the NFL. Because of our distinctive soccer backgrounds as Italians, Vincenzo and I would return to Italy to aid coach football clinics.

It was at one particular of these clinics in 2018 (even though I was on the Oakland Raiders) where we satisfied Paolo and Davide. And just like the serendipity of my and Vincenzo’s conference in university, we right away felt a shut relationship to Paolo and Davide, expending very long hours about a supper table sharing stories and reliving (… and exaggerating) our soccer glory times.

We identified that daily life is greater when lived jointly, just like playing greater when playing as a crew. Like in a football huddle, we appeared at each individual other and mentioned: ‘Let’s play this recreation so we can share this emotion with other people’.  In this way, two worlds united into a person bring about: enable other people today rejoice existence, a person meal at a time. 

The seed planted in Italy then sprung fruit in the United States as we released ElevenTwelve in 2019. Whether kicking field aims in the NFL or creating tackles on dust fields in Italy, we chose our jersey figures to symbolize our brand name: “Eleven” soon after Davide’s jersey variety and “Twelve” immediately after Paolo’s jersey selection. We personified our union of American soccer and Italian foods by making the first at any time soccer-shaped pasta!

Chat about your passion for Italian delicacies and tradition. Did you expand up cooking or in the cafe sector?

Yes, each my parents are great chefs so I have vivid childhood reminiscences of sitting all over long tables total of food items and spouse and children, ingesting and chatting for hrs on conclusion. I came to cherish these activities as they were truly existence-giving!

1 issue I fondly keep in mind when returning to Italy as a kid was the each day simplicity of Italian food stuff. The actuality that each and every minute at the desk — regardless of whether a distinctive situation at a restaurant or a mundane Tuesday lunch — could be specific. The key is simplicity: a handful of high-quality substances with small preparing, like Tagliatelle with Excess Virgin Olive Oil and Parmesan cheese (… original Parmigiano even though), can be unbelievably fulfilling and built in below 5 minutes!

Also, my mother arrives from a restauranteur family so I grew up in-and-all over kitchens my full life. In simple fact, when I turned 15 my mom told me: ‘you have two weeks to locate a job or I am discovering a person for you,’ so I in a natural way gravitated toward getting a bus-boy at the community Italian restaurant.

Finally, in addition to inheriting my mother’s curly hair, I also inherited her ‘hanger’. As these types of, most of my day is centered all-around foods and conclusions normally designed with my stomach.

Has professional soccer prepared you in any way for what you do now? Has your enthusiasm for this sport carried into your team’s passion for ElevenTwelve? Converse about what each and every of your co-founders brings to the desk.

Football has taught me to be resilient and keep on being committed to a aspiration and to a crew, just like in Al Pacino’s halftime speech in “Any Given Sunday”. Our workforce is committed to aiding other people celebrate existence 1 meal at a time! Like any other group, we each provide distinctive capabilities to the table.

Davide has invested additional than 30 many years in the wholesale foods and wine acquiring market in Italy and has personal information of and connections with artisanal producers in Piemonte. Paolo’s track record in finance can help framework our enterprise and his deeply charismatic persona is the soul of ElevenTwelve.

Vincenzo brings a southern-Italian flare to our group, handling considerably of the in-human being obligations whilst I take care of considerably of the advertising and business development ingredient. Our passion for dwelling everyday living fully is what introduced us with each other and is the pleasure we desire to share with many others, particularly all over a desk!

Have you experienced to pivot in any way due to the fact of COVID?

Of course, our first method concerned a additional B2B and foodservice (restaurants, caterers) method for strategic and financial causes. However, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our launching into e-commerce, where by we are equipped to transmit much more of our own mission and function to consumers by using our inventive written content.

Theresa D. Begay

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