We had the good fortune of connecting with Francesca Pittaluga and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Francesca, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind our success is heart. We started this company from a humble and meaningful place, with intention to bring communities together at the table and in the kitchen.
The heart behind Ciao Pappy was inspired by memories of our family together, the food we cooked, and the conversations we shared.
My father has a true gift when it comes to cooking and we looked forward to what he would create each and every night. The heart that went into eating together was a team effort – my mother prepared, my dad made his magic, and my brother and I…well, we ate! Until we began to learn how to cook from scratch ourselves.
I’ve carried this feeling of heart in the kitchen my whole life and the reason I love cooking so much. I believe sharing (or cooking) a homemade meal is one of the most loving things you can do for another person. Not to mention, the intangible value that comes with it – laughter, storytelling, music, a glass of wine, connection, and even mistakes.
We took care in each and every detail, from the packaging to the balance of flavors, all intended to bring joy. We made these sauces so people could have a piece of heart in their home and my father’s magic touch could exist in as many kitchens imaginable.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I knew from a young age I wanted to work in fashion and in a role where I could be both creative and social. I love connecting with people, so I found myself working towards a career in fashion marketing and public relations.
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and had interest in earning my own money at an early age. I started working when I was 13 as a waitress in a retirement home, a deli slicer at an Italian specialty shop, followed by 10 years waiting tables. Earning my own income gave me the freedom to see the world, take risks in my career, establish independence, and learn to hustle.
When I graduated college in 2008, I moved to Los Angeles with no contacts. I worked nights and kept my days open for interviews, freelance work, and internships. Eventually, I landed opportunities with fashion brands such as BCBG, AG Jeans, and Brunello Cucinelli. These jobs gave me some of my most memorable life experiences to date. I had the opportunity to live and work in Los Angeles, New York, and Milan…every city I had dreamt of being.
Today, I’ve come full circle. I have taken my exposure in fashion, food, and culture and put it towards building our company. We wanted to create a product with exceptional quality, superior taste, aesthetically pleasing to the modern family, celebrates Italian culture, and ultimately brings happiness.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
After living here for over a decade, there are so many gems to share.
The best thing about LA is the yearlong sunshine and the beautiful nature. We would be remiss not to fit in a couple of hikes. I love Griffith Park for its views and is the perfect amount of exercise. We’d stop for a quick visit at the Observatory and get a clear view of the Hollywood sign. Going oceanside and to get a peek into Topanga, I love the Los Leones trail.
For dinner, we would make a stop at Oste. They have some of the best Italian food in town and the atmosphere reminds me of New York. I would also take them to Botanica, Republique, and Night + Market. All some of my LA favorites.
If we are lucky enough to catch a live music show, we would go to the Hollywood Bowl or the Greek Theater. I also love Hotel Café for discovering talent and enjoying a more intimate music experience.
One afternoon, I’d explore LA’s museum scene. My favorite is the LACMA or the Getty museum not only because of the art, but the indoor/outdoor experience. You can spend a whole day there and even bring a picnic! If they’d prefer to venture downtown, the Broad Museum is really special as well.
A best kept secret is the korean spas in LA. It is heaven and a true pamper. I am biased towards Olympic Spa. I always get their Godess treatment and schedule it just before lunch so I can enjoy a bimpap at their delicious Korean cafe.
Lastly, we would have to do a beach day! Either a day in Malibu with lunch at Neptune’s Nest and an afternoon wine tasting at Malibu wines. Or, a trip to Laguna Beach. The ocean and views are too breathtaking to miss.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband gets a BIG shoutout! He has a gift of seeing what I can’t see, pushes me to be my best, and continues to encourage me until I do it. If it weren’t for his vision, creativity, and ability to see beyond face value, Ciao Pappy wouldn’t have happened. He saw things for the company before anyone else truly realized our potential. He has been a silent leader and an unconditional supporter in our success.