Berkeley College graduate Daniel Fiorica has always had the desire to create and grow a business.
As a teen, he sold necklaces at local flea markets. In his 20s, he marketed small-batch beef jerky to butcher shops. So when Fiorica’s long-time friend and professional chef Andrew Riccatelli (of Chopped fame) suggested a virtual cooking experience, his entrepreneurial interest was piqued.
“It was mid-2020, during the height of the pandemic,” Fiorica said. “Restaurants were closed – everything was closed. Chef Andrew dropped off a box of raw ingredients to me and five other friends. Everyone logged onto Zoom and cooked an amazing three-course meal. I immediately wondered if there was a market for a service like this.”
Six months and several monumental decisions later, Peppr (https://cookwithpeppr.com) was born, founded by Fiorica, Riccatelli and friend Alexia Merlo. The business has connected hundreds of aspiring chefs with culinary experts across the country, also offering a fresh way for employers to engage their teams remotely.
It was an opportune time to launch a business, as Fiorica was enrolled in the Berkeley College Master of Business Administration in Management program, which would provide the input he needed to establish a successful business plan.
“I’ve had many conversations with professors and subject matter experts at Berkeley who were able to give me objective feedback,” said Fiorica, 36. “They poked holes, asked questions, provided guidance and insight that was extremely valuable.”
Peppr’s business model also supports Fiorica’s passion for environmental sustainability.
“Behind the scenes we are very intentional about creating processes to minimize waste,” said Fiorica, a resident of North Brunswick, NJ. One example – the ice packs that ship with Peppr’s ingredients can be used as plant food.
“I want to make the world better,” Fiorica said. “I too often observe that ‘better’ exists – better supply chains, better communication, better strategy. I’m motivated by a frustration of how things are, and my vision of how they could be.”
Fiorica will graduate on Friday, May 13, 2022, during the Berkeley College Commencement ceremony at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. He said he experienced the power of a college degree firsthand, by observing the sacrifices made by his parents. His father took classes in the evenings while working during the day as a purchasing manager with Con Edison, and his mother completed four master’s degrees in education while working as a teacher and administrator and raising Fiorica and his brother.
“My parents and partner, Jess, are my greatest sources of motivation and support,” he said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity or desire to raise my own bar higher.”
Fiorica, an amateur astronomer, said his mantra comes from NASA – specifically the Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February 2021: “Dare Mighty Things.”
“Obtaining a degree is a marathon comprised of many sprints,” he said. “It takes a tremendous amount of time, attention, effort and mental perseverance. This moment symbolizes the end of a journey, and the beginning of another one.”
Photo Caption: Daniel Fiorica, a 2022 Berkeley College Master of Business Administration graduate, displays his graduation cap. The image depicts the parachute of the Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February 2021 and reads “Dare Mighty Things” in binary code.
Commencement Interviews: For more information on Berkeley College Commencement speakers, honorees and available interviews, click here.
About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers continuing education programs to enhance career credentials.
Berkeley College has campuses in Midtown Manhattan, NY, and in Newark, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, NJ, with more than 4,000 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online? serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for nine consecutive years. U.S. News & World Report named Berkeley College (NJ) one of the Best Regional Colleges in the North in its 2022 edition of the Best Colleges Survey. In 2021 Berkeley College (NJ) was also recognized for the first time as a Top Performer on Social Mobility among colleges in the region. The website address is http://www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.