We had the good fortune of connecting with Giacomo Pizzigoni and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Giacomo, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have always believed taking risks is an essential part of a successful, adventurous and fulfilled life. That’s why I always dreamed about being an entrepreneur since I was very young. When I envisioned Ambrogio, together with my partners Andrea and Luca, we knew that incredible amount of risks associated with starting a new venture at our young age in a different country, with a substantial investment (monetary and non). We dropped our corporate careers (we all were working for consulting companies), our safe salaries, our home and our families to embark in something new and out of our comfort zone. And even with all the difficulties, we loved everything single moment of it. The thrill and excitement of seeing all our efforts making a difference and our dreams coming true was incredible. And it’s taking those risks that made all the difference,e because knowing that we couldn’t fail pushed us beyond our limits. That’s why when I am occasionally invited as a guest speakers in different universities of San Diego (SDSU, USCD etc.) I like to share our approach with the students and remind them that big gain only comes with big risk. Obviously you need to do all your research and pur your effort, creativity, skills and resources to reduce the amount of risk, but this will never go down to zero and you need to live with it. But at the end of the day is the risk that gives you the adrenaline that we need to push boundaries and create new things. I always like to share with everyone my favorite quote since I was in business school, by the famous Ray Kroc:” If you’re not a risk taker you should get the hell out of business” It summarizes everything I believe when It comes to be an entrepreneur.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I founded and own Ambrogio15 Restaurant Group (and now also two other stores/concepts called Semola Pasta and Ciao Ciao Piadina) together with my best friends Andrea Burrone and Luca Salvi. WE (I always like to use the WE as i would not be where I am without them, we are The Team) put all our hearts, passion, skills and sweat into creating something completely new in the restaurant industry, the first Pizza Dining Experience, where we elevate the concept of pizza from fast food to fine and “slow food”, pushing the boundaries of culinary creations to evolve the concept into a real gourmet experience. In fact, while we pivoted and improved the concept from the inception to the opening of our third store in Del Mar (coming February 2021) we built a very important partnership with a Michelin Star Chef from Milano (Silvio Salmoiraghi from Acquerello Ristorante) to create a sort of a Michelin Star experience on pizza where the dough is canvas that the Chef Painter will turn into a beautiful masterpiece
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Food is very important for me, of course hehe so I have a list of restaurants, bars, speakeasy that’s ready for every friend that comes visit and is constantly updated. Ciccia in Barrio Logan, Oltre Mare in PB and Civico by the Park are my picks for Italian food (of course I won’t mention my own Ambrogio here), Himitsu hands down the best sashimi, I loved the wagyu A5 at Huntress, the fun experience of table-side food and cocktails at Born and Raised, and the Xiao Lon Bao at Din Tai Fung (hopefully I didn’t misspell this dish) Best cocktail bar? Ironside, Craft and Commerce, Polite Provisions and and Noble Experiment (I guess CH Projects dominates in this area ahahah).
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?
I believe I had several mentors that shaped me into the man I am today. But above all I need to mention my family, in particular my parents and my grandparents, I owe it to them if today I can consider myself a successful entrepreneur. The values, the freedom, the support I got from them is priceless. They have been by my side in every choice I made, from getting into an MBA program abroad at the age of 21 to opening a restaurant instead of sticking with a more traditional (and safe) corporate career. I’d like to mention also my work mentors Roby Vigilucci, Alessandro Pedrazzani and Daniel Brunner from the Vigilucci’s Restaurant Group, they gave me a huge change when I was a kid out of business school and they played a huge role in the creation of Ambrogio15. Finally, all my professors at SDSU, it’s been incredible to see how much they supported me and helped me grow my company from scratch, even if I was a foreigner. Most of them are today great friends of mine