Mark DeNittis responds to lengthy letter inquiring about the closing of Il Mondo Vecchio

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Kalen Deremo
Last week, I posted a letter from Christian Spinello, a guy who lives in Lyons and cures his own salumi at home. His missive, which is lengthy, inquisitive and pointed, was directed at Mark DeNittis, an owner of Il Mondo Vecchio, the artisan salumeria and manufacturing plant that he started three years ago and is now closing due to circumstances that involve the USDA. Spinello, in particular, was curious to know why DeNittis was shuttering his plant, and DeNittis, who read Spinello's letter, has written his response, which you can read in its entirely on the following page. Will it satisfy Spinello -- and a few others who have posed similar queries -- or do questions still remain?

See also:
- An open letter to Mark DeNittis: Why is Il Mondo Vecchio closing?
- Exclusive: Il Mondo Vecchio will close at the end of the month, ceasing its salumi and sausage production

I hope this response to your well-versed, lengthy "Open Letter" finds you well.

I appreciate your opinions on salumi and my former business, Il Mondo Vecchio. I have always produced what I like to call "Old World" recipes that have been handed down in my family for generations. I have also created recipes that I find to make a tasty product that have a unique flavor and texture, using the same simple methods. I believe these recipes and techniques set our product apart from all other salumi available. I have deduced that I cannot continue to produce a similar salumi following the current regulations of the USDA, so the choice to follow whatever recipe we choose is just that: our choice.

While I understand that there are other options to produce a different product, this would no longer be the same Il Mondo Vecchio salumi that I am very proud to have created by hand and to serve to IMV's loyal customers. I find these options will compromise the quality and integrity of the product.

Every stick of salumi I have ever sold has been crafted using every safety step possible to ensure a wholesome product under daily inspection of the USDA. I have worked very closely and openly and honestly with them long before I set up my meat grinder, and I plan to continue my respectful relationship with them in my future endeavors.

I have never been dishonest about my business or the ingredients in my products. The USDA carefully regulates them to ensure that every product contains exactly what the product is and the label ingredients claim.

I am very grateful for the years that Il Mondo Vecchio has had, and for the opportunity to share a product that I am very proud of. I am so thankful to every person who has supported us as a small Colorado business.

I am always available to discuss salumi and techniques with you. Salumi is, of course, one of my favorite topics.

Ciao,

Mark M. DeNittis



Location Info

Venue

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Il Mondo Vecchio - CLOSED

1174 S. Cherokee St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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6 comments
Jon_S
Jon_S

Mark and IMV absolutely do owe the public an explanation. Remember, Mark is the one that went to the media with the story that the USDA was the root cause of the shutdown. However, several people have poked quite a few holes in that explanation. If IMV had just closed with no explanation at all it would be one thing, and he would not owe anyone anything. But he went out of his way to tell an increasingly unreliable story about regulation compromising the product. That hurts consumers, distributors and potential future producers in the market. He needs to explain himself, and this letter doesn't cut it.

 

Let's say you are an aspiring artisan looking to get into the salumi business. You hear the IMV tales of woe as told by Mark. You may very well reconsider even starting your business, because IMV says that the USDA won't let you make your product. Or let's say you were a restaurant or distributor of IMV products. I assume a few of them were left scrambling to find replacements after they closed. Are you going to be as likely to support the next local artisan if you believe Mark's story about the USDA? You may well just save yourself the trouble and keep going with a larger producer and ignore the little guy if you think he'll just be shut down in the near future. Suddenly the local market shrinks and entire public loses out.

 

Let's face it, the USDA was not the main cause of IMV's failure. I have no doubts that the USDA is indeed be out of touch with small producers, and probably even called for additional testing. But IMV refused to spend a maximum of $7k to even attempt to stay open. The Denver Business Journal listed IMV as having $200k in revenues in 2011. They expanded their dry cure room earlier this year to be able to at least double production. That means at a minimum they were expecting to be a $400k a year business soon. If you refuse to invest less than 2% of forward looking revenues to keep a growing business open the reason sure as hell isn't the USDA. Either the financials were so bad that they couldn't accommodate the minimal cost, in which case they were going under soon regardless of USDA regulations, or the owners had no interest in moving forward. 

 

So Mark, you do owe everyone an explanation. Nobody needs to know specifics or details. Something like  "Gennaro and I decided to part ways" or  "The financials weren't where we hoped they'd be" would suffice. This kind of stuff happens all the time in business and there is no shame in it. There is shame in spinning tall tales about "the man" keeping you down, and thereby discouraging the market for other local producers.

 

I loved IMV products and appreciate everything you did to bring these wonderful products to Denver. However, I think you seriously need to reconsider the way you've handled the closing. I think you are undoing all of the good you've done for local artisans, which in turns hurts salumi aficionados everywhere.

 

IMV_Patron
IMV_Patron

Does the closing of IMV affect your life in any negative way? Did you go to restaurants, stores or delis specifically seeking IMV product and will now be crushed and secluded to a life with no cured meats? Did you own stock in IMV, were an investor, or sit on the board of directors? Did Mark DeNittis steal your hopes and dreams for a better America? Have you lost your faith in the human race?

 

Let me say this again: MARK DENITTIS AND IMV DO NOT OWE YOU AN EXPLANATION.

joshlyons419
joshlyons419

That is lame dose not answer anything. Sounds like "I'm taking My toys and going home" to me.

derpy
derpy

.... well, opportunity lost.

eatthepig
eatthepig

 @IMV_Patron It does affect me in a negative way and here is how.  As I stated in my letter, what mark has done to introduce people to a better salumi product is invaluable, and as someone who loves the craft, this is critically important to the overall "world" of salumi.

 

I also live in an area that is filled with people on soapboxes about their food, and their perceived and usually incorrect knowledge about food.  They have a conspiracist theory about everything that is food, but conveniently turn a blind eye when it doesn't suit them.  This lack of knowledge and fully factual information serves to only hurt us all and create a series of unfounded wives tales that take generations to correct.

 

Lets be very clear here as well, I posted this letter on -my- blog, westword decided to post it here, not me.  I'm entitled to my opinion and questions, and to be frank, I still have lots of unanswered questions.  You are also 110% right that Mark doesn't owe me anything, however, he does have an opportunity for education around the subject of salumi.

 

As someone who has worked on farms, worked with food, spent an enormous amount of time learning, researching and practicing with food and farming, the biggest point of contention for me is the selective sharing of information around foods.  There seems to be a convient ignorance as to where we focus our energy and worry as it relates to the realities of food, especially here in the Boulder/Denver area.  

 

I'll spare the thread another lengthy response, but should you all have any questions for me, or even additional dialogue you wish to throw my way, you can do so via email at any time.  

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

 @joshlyons419 OK, enough with the junior-high, poorly spelled, poorly punctuated, poorly thought out responses. If you have something intelligent to say, take the time to use the English language in a way that people will actually understand.

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