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More than a dozen entrepreneurs from Endeavor’s Food and Beverage (F&B) community gathered in New York City June 25-28 for the Specialty Food Association’s Fancy Food Show, North America’s largest food trade exhibition. During the week, the group of entrepreneurs, hailing from seven countries, also participated in Endeavor-exclusive content, company site visits, networking opportunities, and of course, delicious meals.
Endeavor F&B Entrepreneurs at Eataly’s flagship location in the Flatiron neighborhood of New York.
This was the third F&B tour hosted by Endeavor, following February’s Gulfood Exhibition in Dubai and last September’s tour in Louisville, Kentucky. The tour was part of Endeavor’s ongoing initiative to offer entrepreneurs industry-specific, enriching programming.
Each tour aims to shed light on a different aspect of the food industry and on a unique food capital of the world. Catering largely to food retail and CPG companies, the NYC tour focused on issues around branding, packaging, product innovation, distribution, and much more.
Jackie Miller, Director of the Chobani Food Incubator, showed the group around the company’s office and coworking space in Soho, which houses six innovative food startups and this yogurt hall of fame.
Highlights included: a private tour of Eataly, the largest Italian marketplace in the world, with Global Head Buyer and Expansion Director Dino Borri; a visit to the US Headquarters of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, with Global Trade Marketing Director Fabio Chamis; and an inside look at the Chobani Food Incubator, an initiative of the unicorn Greek yogurt company to promote purpose-driven food startups, including Endeavor Detroit Company Banza.
The information-rich content sessions were washed down with even richer food experiences around town. The group took an excursion to Chelsea Food Market, the historic urban food hall; shared tapas at West Village’s Tertulia; tried Le Pain Quotidien’s new all-organic, plant based restaurant, Le Botaniste, with Head Chef Laurent Francois; and enjoyed authentic Mexican fare at Tacombi with founder Dario Wolos.
The tour provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs and mentors in the F&B space to exchange ideas, connections and lessons learned, generating much food for thought! In attendance was Yiannis Terpitsas, Creta Farms (Greece); Thomas Douzis, Ergon (Greece); Alaa Hashim, Cilantro Café (Egypt), Jalal Abu Gazaleh & Amgad Sultan, Gourmet Egypt (Greece), Santiago & Diego Arroyo, Don’t Worry Merengues (Mexico); Nicholas & Alexandros Christodoulou, CHB (Greece); Nirmal Rajaram, Cita Rasa Prima (Indonesia), Gianni Tzika, Konva (Greece), Christos Papadimitriou, Papadimitriou (Greece); Asli Tanugur and Taylan Samanci from Beeo (Turkey).
After four action-packed days, the group left with fresh insights, new contacts, prospective business partners, and very full stomachs.
The 3-day Fancy Food Show featured miles of 30,000 food vendors from all over the world hawking their wares at the Javits Center in Manhattan. Three Endeavor Entrepreneurs exhibited at the show: Nicholas and Alexandros Christodoulou from CHB (Greece), Carlos Ramirez from Powerful Yogurt (Miami), and recently selected entrepreneur Santiago Peralta from Pacari (Ecuador).
Laurent Francois (right), Head Chef and Managing Director at Le Botaniste, explains the strategy behind Le Pain Quotidien’s new vegan restaurant concept as the group enjoyed some seaweed tartare, beet caviar and coconut ceviche. Next to him is Ted Xenohristos, founder of Cava Grill, a fast-casual and fast-growing Mediterranean chain backed by Revolution Growth.
Over tacos and margaritas, founder of Tacombi Dario Wolos talked about his journey from driving his beaten food truck around Mexico to opening four top-rated restaurants in New York in the same number of years. The group was joined by Endeavor mentors, Alaa Hashim (center left), partner at Transcendium Group in Egypt, and Andy Pforzheimer (right), CEO and Co-Founder of Barteca Restaurant Group.
Fabio Chamis discussed the strategy behind Anheuser Busch InBev’s aggressive R&D and M&A activity before treating the group to complimentary beers.
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