Local food products, talent can spawn national industry
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Daniele Inc. co-owner Davide Dukcevich said “incubator kitchens” could allow innovative food ideas to flourish in Rhode Island.
COURTESY DAVIDE DUKCEVICH
By Patrick Anderson PBN Staff Writer
As a young man, Davide Dukcevich wasn’t interested in making cured and processed pork products as his father and grandfather had and followed his own path into business journalism. But after years profiling companies, Dukcevich decided he could have a greater impact helping run one himself.
After returning to Daniele Inc. in Burrillville, Dukcevich realized the storytelling skills he learned as a reporter are now essential to building the narrative of his third-generation prosciutto and sausage-making company in today’s gourmet food market. Recently Daniele launched a local line of products featuring meat raised in Rhode Island and the company’s local prosciutto and mortadella were recently honored by Good Food Awards in a blind taste test in California.
Daniele is currently in the midst of a $60 million expansion. Dukcevich believes Rhode Island can use its reputation and resources as a foodie hub to become the “Silicon Valley of food.”
PBN: What is the latest with Daniele’s expansion project?
DUKCEVICH: We started the expansion last year and it is such a giant project it will not be completed until the fall. We have the shell in place and are slowly progressing. It is going to be the most sophisticated charcuterie factory in the world. It will be incredibly modern and all white, like the first scene in Star Wars where you see Darth Vader.
PBN: Is the expansion focused on volume or expanding product lines?
DUKCEVICH: In general, volume. The story in the U.S. is really interesting. When my dad got here in 1976, the foodie culture didn’t exist and the seeds of it were just starting to germinate. When my dad got here he anticipated the gourmet-food tidal wave that washed over the country. The Food Network is a huge benefit to us, because people see all this stuff on TV. But in general, as late as the 1980s in New England, the deli counters would just have baloney. Now the delis are the cornerstone of most modern supermarkets.