The Story of Evento
Virtual and In-Person Pasta Making and Cooking Classes
About This Video Project
Learn about Sam and Andrea’s journey to bring the Italian culinary experience to the U.S. with a New York City twist. From their meeting in Boston to the creation of Evento, they’ve been on a mission to share their love for Italian cuisine. With pasta making classes, virtual cooking experiences, and in-person events, Evento has partnered with top companies like Google, Meta, Spotify, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Bank of America, and Cisco. Contact Evento to learn how to cook pasta and pizza for your next corporate event and have a blast with their diverse team!
Sam and I met in Boston because I came into the U.S. in 2007 to study at Berklee College of Music Drums. So you were still coming to my show since Boston. Yeah, yeah. He’s a groupie. I’ve been coming to your show. This is how we should introduce. I’m the drummer, he’s the groupie, and then I graduated. I moved to New York in 2010. And Sam, at that time, working in tech, we’re moving to this fantastic loft together. We were really like great friends. Like we would hang out in the apartment, we would throw parties. I mean in our apartment like a hundred people parties, we had a DJ, we had live music. And then, you know, I move out of the apartment. Like we kind of lost touch. You know, as a musician I was doing other kind of jobs. I was doing catering. I was doing high-end events. You know, bartender at the Met Gala. And the idea came when I was stuck in an apartment with two Italian scientists during a snowstorm. But we cook the crap out of it. Like for three days we made gnocchi, we made lasagna, we made polenta, we made tiramisu. And then people living in the neighborhood were coming over to eat. Then I was like, wait a minute. This is what I should do. I want to just like bring this experience to the Americans, but with a New York City twist. I’m going to do pasta making classes with like burlesque. The first one was like actually in Seoul at Clique. It was a gnocchi event. It was fantastic. It was sold out. But then Sam, he became a groupie of the pasta making parties. I was working in tech. You know, I had been really focusing on growing and advancing my career in technology. It was more about the lifestyle and the stability more than it was about like the actual work. But you know, I made great friends. I learned a lot. I did get to a point where one company I was working for particularly I just didn’t like. You know, I had been to a couple of the pasta classes. And you were like, Andre, I think you have something going on. And this can be amazing. And I want to help you out to expand in the corporate world. I had been to, you know, a thousand team building events in my six or seven years. They were either like, you’d go to these happy hours and you would just stand with the three or four people that you know. Or they were like super structured, over the top, like relay races or like, you know, just something that was really corny. When I went to the pasta events, I was like, these are perfect because everyone likes doing it. There’s a team building component. But at the end of the day, it’s just a party where people hang out. But you’re actually interacting with people that you don’t normally interact with. So I said to Andre, I’m going to start selling them. I’m just going to use like my tech selling strategy and see if we could, you know, make this work. And I was like, yeah, sure. Yeah, whatever. Yeah, whatever. Just do whatever you want. I was like a poor musician. I didn’t care. I was like, just do whatever. You know, like, make me make pasta. Yeah. You know, force me. Actually, Sam came up with a name. Let me tell you this. Sam came up with the name Ovevento. Let’s talk about the name Ovevento. Yeah. So I would literally go on Google Translate and Google like, what does plate mean in Italian? What does cooking mean in Italian? What does together mean? What does communion? And it was always like, piatto, mangiamo, all cheesy words, all these like hard words. And then I was just looking for that word that like looked English and Italian. And when I put in the word event, I just put in, I remember putting in event and then just on the other side of the translation, evento. And I was like, that’s the word. That’s the O word I’m looking for. And then I remember we spent like 500 bucks building out a Squarespace website and we built the website. And then one day I was on the train home from work and I got like, somebody actually filled out a form on our website from WeWork. And I was like, oh, I got so excited. I got off the train on the wrong side. You were shivering. You called me. I wasn’t crying. Oh my God. But I got off the train like at the wrong stop. And I immediately called the person and I was like, oh my God, like, let’s, you want to do a pasta? I had no idea what, you know, we were going to do, but I just figured, okay, we’re going to do it. I have no idea. I just, I just think I made it up. You’re the perfect salesman. I just don’t know how he does it. I mean, you love food, you cook, but like in a second, you learn like about Italian cuisine, about pasta, about pizza, and now you’re like the best, the best seller of pasta making parties and pizza making parties and Italian culinary experiences. High five, high five. Yeah, no, you’re the best. I remember I went over to the event and I saw everyone smiling and thinking of us and I was like, oh my God, this is like, I actually got to sell something that I felt proud of and was passionate about. So then we’re like, here we are, you know, Sam and I tried to like run this business. Leads were coming in. It was booking pasta making classes and it was amazing. And then we were growing, but we were like mobile. So we would rent spaces all over the city and blah, blah, blah. And then COVID happened. Sam and I were looking at each other’s like, what the heck is going to happen now? And we’re like, how, how can we keep doing these? I just sent a cold email and said, hey, we’re doing these virtual cooking classes. I’ve got, you know, an amazing Italian chef who will teach you to make traditional Italian pasta. And I sent out a hundred. I was like, let’s see. You know, when you send a cold email out, you expect one, two. I had like 20, 30 people wrote me back. What’s your phone number? I need to call you. My boss just asked me to set up a virtual event and I have no idea what the heck to do. And he called me again. So excited. Oh my God. And at the time it was like two man shows, you know, like it wasn’t a computer. I was actually in Canada teaching those classes and it was, it was in New York selling. And they were like, Oh, this is working. Yeah. We start hiring people and we expand. When we could count Google and Meta and Spotify and LinkedIn and Salesforce, I mean, tech companies and banks, Bank of America, Cisco, as Andrea said, as some of our repeat clients, I mean, right. Like, that’s what you dream of when you’re starting a company is to get these larger accounts. And we were getting them like right off the bat. To me, it was mind blowing. I mean, like, you know, I, I would never expect like whatever I started to turn into this like amazing, I mean, amazing company that we, that we have now. I mean, like, I was like, wow, this is great. 2021, we did over 600 virtual events, so we more than doubled up. And then 2022 was a pivotal year because we transitioned for the first time doing in-person and virtual at the same time. So figuring out the in-person was like another task. So at first, what we started doing is I just built a network of people who owned event spaces in New York City and we were rotating, we were just bopping around. Whenever we would get a client request, I would call five different event venues to see who is available. And then I would pitch that one to the client and that, you know, worked for a little bit, but it’s phenomenally expensive to rent on a, you know, on a case by case basis to rent a space in New York City. So, but we got to a point where we took out a more long-term lease when we knew we had the demand. And in 2023, we’ve already done almost double the amount of in-person events just halfway through the year as we did all of last year. And we’ve expanded to not only doing private events, but we do public events and we’re doing collaborations with DJs and artists and photographers and just making these pasta parties that have an element that are really unique to, you know, to Evento. We get to do something where really people come together and they enjoy spending time together and we’re building those connections, whether it’s online or in-person, you know, having human interactions, nothing brings people together like food. So you’re not scared that like AI is gonna, is gonna take over and we’re gonna lose business because of AI. No. We are in the one business that AI cannot kick us out of. Seeing, like, our team growing, like we have beautiful pasta teachers, we have beautiful cooks from all over the world. Of course, we have Italians, we have people from Mexico, people from Colombia. We’re being like a fantastic team that loves to work together and everybody that comes to our event are like, oh my God, Andre, your team is amazing. Like I love, like it’s such a, like when I come in, it’s such a fresh air, it’s loose, but it’s at the same time, it’s organized. Like people are having a blast. And they’re speaking French and Italian and Spanish and English. It’s really like an environment that’s, you know, diverse and unique and that’s really important to us. And there’s, you know, people of all, just like of all kinds of backgrounds. Yesterday, we had a conversation, a quick conversation. Where do we see Evento in the next year, in the next two years, the next three years? But then we were like, okay, Andre, I know it’s, we should take the time to like really think of like how blessed we are. Sometimes to sit back is like, we built something amazing, you know, we should be so proud of it and grateful because you never know, you know? So yeah, you know, here we are now and we’re, we’re lucky enough to be able to continue to host people at amazing events and make pasta together and cook and argue and figure things out and, you know, our, accomplish our mission, which is to cook pasta with everybody in the world. In the world. Come make pasta with us. Come make pizza with us. Come have some fun. And I don’t know. Ci vediamo presto. Ci vediamo presto. Ciao ragazzi. Thank you.
To learn more, visit: https://www.ciaoevento.com