Livio Colapinto is the co-owner of Zest of Italy, a company founded in 2008 with Kathrin Fehervary that focuses on delivering quality food and wine tours throughout the various regions of Italy. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors, and is a Certified Ambassador of, the World Food Travel Association. We spent a few minutes with Livio recently to get to know him better.
Livio was born in Torino, Northern Italy, with Apulian (located Southern Italy) roots and great passion for the cooking of his mother, aunts and grandmothers. At the age of 8, he was cooking his first meal for the family and since then, he has never stopped searching for the best foods.
After his engineering studies and some 7 years of work in finance between London, Zurich and Tokyo, he returned to his origins. He paused his career in international banking to get a Master’s Degree in Food Culture and Communication from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. He was the right-hand of Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini for two years, which prompted him to attend the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences, and supported Oscar Farinetti, with the opening of the original Eataly stores in Italy and Japan. Because of this relationship, Livio was able to invite Oscar to appear on a recent Eat Well, Travel Better podcast produced by our Association.
Livio got started with the World Food Travel Association almost 6 years ago when he penned a chapter, Food & Drink Manufacturing, in the Association’s Have Fork Will Travel book. For Livio, being a part of the World Food Travel Association gives him a broader perspective about the food and beverage tourism industry. He finds the networking one of the most valuable tools the Association offers.
As for his favorite food destinations, Livio has a fondness for Japan, which he obtained when he lived in Tokyo, in 2006, to open the Japan office of Slow Food. Livio is also fascinated by New York City and Los Angeles due his numerous trips there for meetings with food retailers and restaurateurs (think: Nancy Silverton, Eli Zabar), who use Livio’s services to source quality Italian food and beverage products.
As for what’s next for Livio and his company, he’ll be working to develop new travel programs to Italy with both passionate food travelers and foodservice professionals, many of who originate in the USA.