Milestones and More Great Things to Come

Well my friends, 2013 is here and it’s definitely been a hectic start for me. This month, when people asked me how I was doing, I had to ask, “Would you like the good news or the bad news first?”

To get the bad stuff out of the way first: Finally after almost 19 years in this country, I got a little taste of what “Fighting the System” means. I want to stay positive and it’s a bit complicated, so instead of explaining in detail, I’ll just say that it was not an easy kickoff to 2013. In the end, everything turned out OK and it’s behind us. But MAN OH MAN, fighting the system can be a real trip.

dalailama

One of my greatest memories was catering a reception for the Dalai Lama.

And now, THE GOOD STUFF! Most importantly, let me thank all of you – friends, clients, family members, vendors, charity organizations…everyone really. Without all of you, our company wouldn’t have had a great and successful 2012. We kept growing and we kept moving in the right direction. My slogan “Follow Your Vision” guided us forward in many ways.

Just like in the past few years, we had the privilege of catering some amazing charity galas, as well as some of the most elaborated weddings. There were incredible private home parties, which were fun and very interactive. Even our large corporate events increased as the economy shaped up for local businesses. On top of the great catering events, our three cafes had a solid year, especially Caroline’s, a place that still blows my mind every time I go there.

Salem in Puerto Vallarta

Salem in Puerto Vallarta

I took some pretty cool trips, starting with a visit to Cuba which made me realize how good we really have it in the U.S. We had a great Summer trip to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate Salem’s Birthday. I took a few days with some colleagues for a restaurant tour in New York City, and ended the year skiing the Colorado mountains. On each trip I was able to taste some amazing dishes and learn much more about our limitless industry. Though I missed going back home this past year I can tell you that I am truly satisfied with the amount of traveling and discovering.

Between business and travel, I managed to squeeze in a few other interesting activities too. I did some cool educational cooking videos for EHOW, had several appearances on the local networks, and got interviewed by local and national magazines. I did a few triathlon races (nothing pretty though) and started a new way of training and of course eating. I had a lot of fun teaching spinning at the new Breakaway Training after spending the last 7 years at La Jolla Sports Club. All of that, and I can already tell 2013 will be even bigger and better!

Want to learn how to make Italian Bruschetta With Feta Cheese? Click on this eHow video or choose others in my Divine Dishes series.

Want to learn how to make Italian Bruschetta With Feta Cheese? Click on this eHow video or choose others in my Divine Dishes series.

Before I go into that, I want to extend a special thanks to a few people in particular who helped me a ton during this past year:

  • Our PR Agency, Beck-Ellman-Heald Media, for all the good exposure they created
  • Our Marketing and Creative consultant, Glynn Selesnick, for all our beautiful materials and of course for editing all my “Giornale” (which is not an easy job…lol)
  • My wife Salem (our company CFO) for putting up with the SYSTEM during the toughest moments
  • All of our employees for their constant effort in making our company better by the day and keeping us on the A List in the city
An idea for a new possible project came from our culinary tour of New York

An idea for a new possible project came from our culinary tour of New York

….there are so many more people that I should thank, but the list would take much more than a Giornale, so again thank you all for a great 2012 and cheers to a great 2013 ahead of us.

WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON

Even though nothing is official,  we may surprise you this year with some new locations. Nothing is set in stone, but I’m very excited about some great possibilities and I’d love to see more quality locations added to the fold.

My PEERS group picked a great cause to benefit from this year’s gala, which will take place September 28th 2013. (Save the date.) I’m proud to announce that our 5th PEERS BLACK TIE GALA will help support the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).

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The Challenged Athletes Foundation believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.

This year, CAF also celebrates a milestone, since 2013 marks 20 years since the organization began helping people with physical disabilities participate in active lifestyles and competitive sports. We couldn’t ask for a better organization to celebrate, and obviously the work that CAF does touches my heart in particular.

In fact, CAF’s signature annual fundraising event, the amazing Million Dollar Ride from San Francisco to San Diego, takes place in October. You guessed it:  I am doing it. YES I am, and I’m going to bug you all to help me accomplish my fundraising goals before I take off. So STAY TUNED. We’re going to have some fun with this one.

Other notable events for 2013 include:

  • Giuseppe Restaurants and Fine Catering celebrates our 10th ANNIVERSARY this year. How time flies! We can’t wait to roll out some of our anniversary plans as the year gets going, and we can’t wait to celebrate with all our customers and friends.
  • Our continuing team sponsorship for Breakaway Training. Team Breakaway Training earned top results all around the world and we’re proud to support the team’s ongoing success.
  • Galas, galas and more galas! We have booked some of the COOLEST galas in the city, and we’re still working toward more, which makes me really proud. It’s a good measure of our great partnerships with San Diego’s most amazing organizations. Truly, it’s these strong relationships that make all of our hard work worthwhile.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE FOODS

While still trying to get back in top shape, I started to pick the type of foods that I really enjoy eating, and I found out what the most important parts of the day are for me. Of course I try to eat the best nutrients all day, but there are two essential parts of the day that are critical: How I feed myself before my crazy training sessions, and how I eat at the end of a super active day.

All my favorites

All my favorites

Since so many people ask me how I eat while I’m training and what habits help me stay healthy, I want to share with you some of my favorite foods that are delicious and beneficial for your health.

START OF THE DAY

  • For my pre-training sessions, I really enjoy a slice of DAVES KILLER BREAD spread lightly with my all-time favorite Nutella.
  • Just like anyone else who is training and trying to keep the weight down, I alternate my meals. So my bread option when I need to tie the belt  is an actual Gluten Free bread UDI’S which is really good and extremely tasty
  • That is pretty much how I start my day, at times I enjoy some really organic eggs from Sunday’s Farmer’s Market mixed with some local Avocados and my favorite O’BROTHERS HOT SAUCE drizzled over the top. Delicious.
  • Another great option to start my day is local berries with greek yogurt and some of our Signature Granola.

END OF THE DAY

The important part for me is really the end of the day. After waking up early, training hard, and working at full blast all day, night time is when I really try to relax and calm down so I can actually have a good night of sleep to recharge.

So two things that are essential for me before going to bed:

  • GREEN & BLACK’S Organic Dark Chocolate made with fine Trinitario Cacao beans…just a couple of little pieces to satisfy my sweet tooth.
  • JAY’S “DEEP SLEEP” TEA, a special blend created by my actual personal trainer Jay Hoehn. It consists of a  mix of Chamomile/Valerian Root/Passion Flower/Cinnamon/Orange Peel

Speaking of Jay, I just have to tell you how much this man has changed me and changed my habits. Since I started working out with Jay and following some of his nutritional tips, my endurance level has really improved. Even though I had a huge setback with a torn ligament in my ankle, I was still able to accomplish my goals… all the way until right before the holidays, then as you may remember….BUMMER I fell off the wagon.

Now I am fully committed to getting back in shape for the racing season. I believe that Jay is one of the very best trainers and most inspiring people in the fitness industry. If you want to learn more about him, visit Armone Core Connection which is the gym where I train with him.

In addition to training, you always need to know what fuel your body needs. I took some time to visit MD Revolution and after going thru their testing, including my DNA, I learned so much about my body with things that never crossed my mind before. MD Revolution’s concept is to change the old model of reactive disease care to a more empowering type of proactive health care. It was such a helpful experience that I believe everyone should try it. Most of the time I’m pretty conservative about my opinions for these type of businesses, but I can assure you 100% that taking this step will change you forever and for the best.

I am now so much more aware of what is good and bad for me, I know exactly what my body needs/wants during heavy training sessions, and I am more productive. The best part is that I just started, so moving forward I will be able to share more goals with you and keep you in the loop.

DISH OF THE MONTH: Farro con Vegetali D’Inverno

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For this dish, I simply pan-roasted a piece of Organic Salmon and drizzled fresh made pesto.

One of my goals is to combine protein/fat/carbs all in one to keep a good balance of nutrients in the main meals of the day. It’s not always possible for various reasons, but this month’s dish helps me stay disciplined.

One of my favorite ingredients is Farro. Composed of the grains of certain wheat species, Farro is sold dried and is prepared by cooking in water until soft, but still crunchy. Some eat Farro plain, but it’s mostly used as an ingredient in salads, soups, pasta or bread.

This specific recipe can be prepared year-round, but it’s versatile enough to incorporate the best seasonal ingredients. It’s easy to prepare,  tasty and healthy, plus it makes a convenient snack when you’re on the run. You can chose your own accompaniment when it comes to protein or you can just eat it as a vegetarian meal.

Download the recipe here. Enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful 2013.

And remember… Mangia bene e vivi meglio ~

Giuseppe Ciuffa

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