Cristina grew up in New York in an Italian American family, spending lots of time in the kitchen with her grandmother learning about food. Initially thinking she would become a lawyer, Cristina started off working at a law firm before deciding to attend culinary school in Florence, Italy.
After gaining experience as a culinary professional, Cristina joined an investment bank where she organized events and roadshows. What she truly longed for was a position that would combine her diverse skillset, professional experience, and love of food. Then, along came Eataly Flatiron!
In 2010, Cristina began at Eataly as an Events & Education Manager. She was part of the original team that created and launched La Scuola – our popular cooking school. During this time, Cristina gained vast knowledge of our products and forged meaningful relationships with our producer partners and in-house experts, leading to her promotion to Eataly Flatiron’s Retail General Manager.
In 2015, Cristina transitioned to our Corporate Team to become the first Director of Fresh Products. Her role was to streamline purchasing as our company was rapidly growing. Today, Cristina is the Vice President of Product for Eataly North America and currently leads a team of over 20 people, responsible for products from the moment of procurement to sale.
What does the Product Team do?
“Our team oversees product procurement, vendor relationships, retail and quick service operations, internal supply chain, and some facets of inventory control. During new store openings, we work with the Development Team on concept development for the market and counters/cafes. Our team’s scope is extensive and dynamic – which is something we all appreciate – wearing many hats. We work closely with design and construction, marketing, and our in-store operational teams. We partner with hundreds of knowledgeable and passionate Italian and American food producers. There is literally never a dull moment.”
What makes Eataly’s products different than those at other marketplaces?
“I don’t think you can find any other marketplace that has such high-quality products across all categories. There’s literally nothing I wouldn’t buy, eat, and share with my kids from Eataly, over and over. Their only complaint is that I don’t bring home even more sweets! Plus, the fact that we truly retail/sell the same products that the restaurants cook with is key. It sets us apart. Once you really get to know this quality level – bronze extruded pasta for example – it’s very difficult to go back to what you were eating before.”
What is the coolest part of your job?
“I really enjoy new store openings and have participated in opening seven new Eataly locations. Seeing it all come together just a few days before opening is amazing. What you have written months earlier, in a concept development presentation or a planogram, becomes a reality.
Another aspect I love is launching new product lines at Eataly. It’s fun to say, ‘Okay, there’s an Italian brand that’s not in the USA yet. They have an entire product line that’s great. Let’s be the first to have them. Let’s work with marketing to design a storytelling campaign.’ Then, we watch. In some instances, after not too long, the brands pick up their own distribution and their high-quality products can also be found in other marketplaces. Eataly has helped so many Italian brands gain awareness in North America, and it’s gratifying to be a part of that.”
What do you enjoy about working at Eataly?
“I’m entirely motivated and constantly impressed by the talent and team around me, and not only the Product Team, but the entire company. You can accomplish so many great things with a culture and a team where everyone’s driven and passionate about what they do. There’s sort of a healthy competitiveness here at Eataly. Everyone wants to succeed. No one wants to let one another down, and we have fun working along the way. I really thrive on that and don’t take for granted that it’s unique. At Eataly, not only are my teammates hardworking, passionate, and smart, they are highly knowledgeable in their respective fields. I truly don’t know any other company in the food and beverage industry where you have this much knowledge and talent under one roof.”
Outside of Eataly, what do you like to do?
“I love to cook, entertain, and dine out alongside family and friends. Honestly, almost everything revolves around food! Outside of eating, my family and I love spending time at the beach.”