We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Chiappetta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eric, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Honestly, it was just for fun during the early days of Covid-19. My girlfriend at the time suggested that we make Chicago Beefs for dinner. The giardiniera was something that I used to make at two of my former restaurants – Larimer Hot House, and Chia’s Breakfast & Lunch Counter. My customers loved it and suggested that I sell it at the restaurant. So, I made giardiniera and garlic dill pickle spears. They sold like crazy. So, I made some for her and I. Being a chef, I struggle with cooking for two and ended up making a few gallons. I jarred it up in big Mason Jars, posted it on Facebook and Instagram and sold out in literally minutes. It was very cool to have such amazing response. So many people from the Midwest immediately ordered, and some folks that had never heard about it wanted to try. I started to think about what I wanted to do next in my life, and this just dropped in my lap. It really invented itself – I’m just a passenger at this point. I’m very lucky.
What should our readers know about your business?
We started in April of 2020, and had no plan other than pickles and giardiniera. But I know me, and I definitely knew that boredom would set in. Doing just those skus would kill my creativity. So, as soon as I perfected the recipes, I looked around to see what I could do next. I had to start asking myself questions like, what was this company? What COULD we do? So, I stared to listen to what people wanted. The farmers markets became this kind of test market for products I was interested in making. People asked for dressings – so I made dressings. People asked about hot sauces – so I made one. One of my purveyors asked if I could make a pesto for their CSA – So I made pesto (It consistently ranks in our top 3 products). I just realized that we really could do whatever we wanted. I named the company Minga! Provisions because I knew far in advance that I gave the company opportunity to branch out because I included, “Provisions” in the name. Now our line is 15 products strong and recently added frozen pizza to our repertoire.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Pony Up is a winner every time. Angela Neri is one of the most savvy operators out there. Il Posto continues to be one of the best and authentic Italian restaurants in the city. Andrea Frizzi is not only an amazing chef, but an advocate for our industry like no other. My Brother’s Bar is my favorite place, ever. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Firstly, the would be no such thing as Minga! Provisions without my ex-girlfriend. She saw something in what ‘could be’ and knew that this made me happy. I’m forever grateful for what she gave and sacrificed to help launch this company. Secondly, I have an investor that moved a big mountain in front of the company when we first launched. She’s my guardian angel. She believed in me. Third, my mom. There’s never been a time when she didn’t question or be unsupportive to my business ideas. I think she just likes the free Blue Cheese dressing. Fourth, the Denver dining scene. No one supports each other more than these brilliant, loving, creative people.
Pictures courtesy of Jeff Fierberg – Sora Digital