Happy holidays from dueminuti!

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After two very hectic months, this holiday period was a great occasion to rest a bit and spend some quality time with friends and family.

As some family flew in from Italy to spend these holidays with us, we organized a Christmas eve dinner party to honor their arrival. We prepared a three-course meal based on fish and shellfish (no oxtail ragout this time!) inspired by Southern-Italian recipes. We started with stuffed mussels and stuffed calamari as an appetizer, then rigatoni “alla polpa di granchio” (Dungeness crab) and shrimps cooked “alla catalana”. For dessert, Italian panettone, followed by a shot of espresso and a selection of Italian liqueurs including limoncello and amaro (Italian herbal liquor).

Cooking for the people we love the most was a memorable way to spend Christmas. We are blessed for being surrounded by such a large and supportive family, and we are more energized than ever for what’s coming next year. We truly hope that you all had a chance to spend Christmas with the people you love and celebrate with a joyful home-cooked meal.

Happy holidays from the dueminuti team, and see you all again starting from December 27th!

Filippo & Davide

 

 

Painting our story on canvas

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We haven’t exactly done a great job in updating the blog lately. We have been incredibly busy building the team, connecting with farmers and evolving our menu, and these efforts are not over yet! Nevertheless, we’ll try to do better moving forward as lots of stuff is happening at dueminuti and we want to share it with you.

For instance, this week we started working with Morgan Gilbert, a very talented artist who is helping us illustrating our story on the  empty 13 canvases that are hanging out in our dining room. You can preview some of her work here.

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artist in store

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P.S. You can see Morgan’s portfolio here: https://morganelizabethart.carbonmade.com/

Dueminuti’s back… stronger than ever :)

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Dear all,
It has been a while since we last updated this blog. Some of you might have wondered: what happened to the dueminuti project?

Truth is, during the past two months we worked relentlessly to bring healthy pasta to Seattle. But we also had quite a few setbacks, so to say 🙂
Before we tell you the full story, here’s the good news: 2 weeks ago we took possession of our restaurant space in Capitol Hill (412 Broadway E). Constructions to remodel the space have already started, and we’re on track to open the store on October 1st. We couldn’t be more excited to bring our vision to life!

Now, here’s what happened during the last two months.

In mid-May, after signing a contract to take over our new restaurant space, Filippo went back to Italy to apply for his visa. All our paperwork was ready, and our immigration attorney was confident that everything we could get everything approved by early-June. This estimate didn’t account for Murphy’s Law. Firstly, Filippo’s visa interview was scheduled with one month of delay. But the worst part was the interview itself: after a few minutes of Q&A, the officer told Filippo that due to his academic background (PhD in Nuclear Science) his visa would be denied to allow additional “administrative processing” (just another word for Security Advisor Opinion, SAO) to be done on his account. What’s worse, even his tourist visa was suspended until further notice.

Shocked by this news we did some research online and we found out that such processing generally takes 6-8 weeks, but in some cases it could go on for months, even years. Disaster! With Filippo unlimitedly stuck out of the country, we were about to start paying rent. Meanwhile our constructor, tired of the uncertainty around our project (and also certainly not excited by our tight budget) decided to drop the project.

We went through several options. We considered carefully what would happen if Filippo’s visa would not be approved. Could we still bring this vision to life? Maybe somewhere else, outside of the US? It was just mind blowing to us how being overeducated could actually be a challenge – we had always considered Filippo’s scientific background as a key asset. During those stressful weeks the support of our families, friends and investors has been priceless, and it gave us the strength not to give up, if not for ourselves, for all the people that believed – and invested – in us.

Luckily we didn’t have to take any crazy decision – the background checks closed faster than expected, the visa was issued and Filippo arrived in Seattle on August 8th – with a gigantic smile on his face.

This is all we have to say about those crazy weeks. Now we’re working 24/7 to launch the store as soon as possible. Our constructor is fantastic, and so is our architect. The place is starting to take shape, but more on that on the next post.

P.S.
Follow our journey on FB: facebook.com/dueminutipasta and Instagram: dueminuti

Flight ticket to MIT

Two weeks at MIT, fears and excitement!

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It’s 5am in the morning in Chicago but my body is still on Seattle time, so it’s basically 3am. I am at the airport waiting for a connecting flight that will bring me to Boston then Cambridge-MIT area for about two weeks. My suitcase is full of many different kind of flours. I’m wondering what would happen and if a cop stops me and I’ll have to explain what am I doing with so much white powder! I still cannot believe that dueminuti is doing so well that is participating to two start up competitions at MIT.

We started to talk about a pasta restaurant three years ago. We first planned to open in Melbourne, Australia. Davide was working in Sydney and I was still a PhD candidate in Nuclear Engineering in Beijing. Right, Nuclear Engineering! During all my studies MIT has been a reference point as for almost all the engineers in the world and I was no exception. When I was evaluating schools for my PhD I considered MIT carefully, as some of my fellow colleagues went there. I met students and professors and I almost got admitted, but I did not want it enough (and they did not want me as well!) so I ended up in China at Tsinghua University. And now, a few years later, I am finally coming not as a student, but as a part of the innovation that permeated that environment!

Our company received a lot of great feedback and some of the industry leaders we’ve met have shown a great deal of interest in our idea. We are competing against some of the most brilliant student startups in the US for 100K of funding, crazy stuff. When we feel the pressure of living up to such high expectations we tell ourselves:We are MIT’s first pasta start up! This has already been a success for us and no matter how these competitions will go, we’re energized to make this healthy pasta company true.

Davide has been amazing and organized so many things for us: focus groups to refine our products, groups of students working on our branding and strategy, meetings with possible mentors and advisors. I could not have a better partner, when it comes on how to play the cards that he receive in a hand he never miss a good call. I am going to learn a lot. I am going to work with smart people, smarter than me and even more prepared. Some of them will expect me to provide guidance, leadership and motivation… When it comes to creating expectation Davide is unfortunately a master so I am a little concerned of what this bright people will expect from me. It will be a hell of a two weeks!

I am ready not to sleep much, to cook a lot and to collect as much sincere feedback as possible. There is still a long way to go for our venture but I am sure over the next couple weeks we’ll move a few steps in the right direction!

Filippo

mit davide macchi

MIT’s first pasta startup

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When it comes to startup ecosystem and resources for entrepreneurs, it’s really hard to beat MIT. And as a MBA student at the MIT Sloan School of Management, I had full access to this extraordinary ecosystem for almost two years.

Entrepreneurial coursework is just the beginning. We can meet with professors, some of which are global experts in their fields, for consultations pretty much anytime. We have a dedicated working space, the MIT Trust Center for Entrepreneurship, where to meet with fellow entrepreneurs from the MIT community and provide each other’s feedback and encouragement. Entrepreneurs-in-residence offer us mentorship, support, and access to a broad network of industry contacts. Business Plan competitions, Mixers, Conferences happen almost every day. The beauty of this environment goes beyond the MIT campus. In the Kendall Square area, a short walk from Sloan, you can find the offices of hundreds of startups and of some of the best VC firms in the country.

MIT had a major role in the development of dueminuti, and we are really proud to be MIT’s first pasta startup. The first pitch ever of the dueminuti concept happened in 2014 in a Sloan class, Prof. Ed Roberts’ Introduction To Technological Entrepreneurship. Our first business plan was built on an Excel template from the Trust Center. I can’t even remember how many of my classmates have provided me feedback and helped me develop our idea further.

This is my last semester at MIT and the support we’re getting from this community doesn’t stop to surprise me. A team of 5 students from a Branding class is helping us to engage with customers and to develop our strategic positioning. A team from another class, Entrepreneurial Strategy, is giving us strategic advice. Trust Center’s EIR Trish Cotter is connecting us with many industry leaders to build a board of advisors.

And, last but not least, we’re semi-finalist in the “MIT 100K Competition“, one of the largest and most famous business plan competitions in the world!

We’re working very hard to bring dueminuti to the market very soon. It’s an exciting time here at MIT!

Davide
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Developing an healthy pasta

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Making the most out of the beautiful spring day here in Tuscany, I am still working on the development of our product to bring you the best flavors packed in a nutritionally balanced pasta. Pasta made of durum wheat dates back to the 11th century AD. It has long tradition and not many people have attempted to change this ancient staple.

At dueminuti we are committed to improving the nutritional value of this amazing product without changing its flavor and texture. We endeavor to look back at our Italian roots to understand who we are and where we come from and simultaneously embrace new flours that advanced milling technologies have made available. From the ancient grains of the Etruscan coast in Tuscany, the best Semolina from the durum wheat of Sicily, the Khorasan Kamut from Egypt to super foods like Quinoa, Teff, Flaxseed, Hemp and Soy flours, we aspire to create a nutritionally balanced and yummy product with deep foundations in the Italian tradition. From our headquarter in Seattle we are looking at our Italian culinary history with critical eyes and not with nostalgic ones. We are committed to bringing to our customers only the best of our Italian roots and tradition.

Filippo

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