Photo Credit: Daina Falk
Daina Falk is no stranger to the sports world, nor is she a stranger to food. She grew up around sports all of her life and is the founder of the Hungry Fan brand. Merging her upbringing in sports and passion for food, she is the foremost expert in fangating. Falk joined us for a Q&A session about her upbringing in sports, career and the Hungry Fan brand.
CC: Your father is a legend in the sports agent industry. How has he helped and supported your career?
DF: “My dad (and my mom) gave me my first taste for sports. I like to jokingly tell people that I have been a sports fan from the womb. Joking aside, it’s actually true. I was with both of them traveling with an NBA exhibition tour through Italy when I was in my mother’s stomach. Growing up, I tagged along with my dad to sporting events all the time and loved it. These experiences are why I knew I wanted to work in sports in some way, shape or form.
Since launching Hungry Fan, my dad has been very supportive in many ways. (My mom too). And he gives great advice.”
CC: You went to Duke University. How did campus life and being in a state known for its pulled pork influence your career?
“Lol. I went to Duke for one reason: to be a Cameron Crazy. That was my goal. The BBQ was great at certain spots. And I did definitely cultivate my pre-established love for Carolina style barbecue while there (I’ve been bouncing back and forth between NC and SC since I was 10). But going to Duke didn’t really influence my career path from a food perspective. It was simply being a Cameron Crazy that reinforced my love of being a sports fan/of sports fans. I have always loved sports fans. I think they’re the greatest people on Earth. And I knew I wanted to create something to celebrate them and to help them enjoy being sports fans even more than they do currently.”
CC: You’ve been able to combine two pillars of American culture in sports and food. As an expert, what makes these two cultural icons such a great combination?
“Sports brings people together. In a big way. So does food. Their powers combined…? Huge. And at a time when things seem to be fairly tense in this country, when there is a lot of division, I am especially excited at the opportunity to take advantage of how sports and food unite us.
On a lighter note, one of the things that I love about the sports+food combo is that not everyone is a sports fan but everyone can get behind some yummy food. So when you add food, watching sports becomes more social. Those who want to watch still can—and those who want to be present and socialize around their friends or family who are hardcore sports fans can too. Food makes it easy and unites everyone—sports fan or not.”
CC: Your cookbook,”The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook,” is a No. 1 best seller on Amazon.com. What inspired you to write the book?
“I have been writing game day recipes for years now and had the great fortune of being asked by some wonderful folks at Time Inc. if I would be interested in compiling them into a cookbook. Of course, I said yes. I was super honored. And the process for writing it included not only some (previously published on HungryFan.com) recipes, but also the creation of plenty of new ones. That part was fun and quite yummy.”
CC: Any successful person has experienced many late nights and working long hours. How rewarding has your journey been?
“I am a vampire basically. Late nights are my middle name. I work 7 days a week. I am a machine. It’s all about the hustle. You’ve got to do it. It’s networking events and pitching and getting a lot of no’s and rejection on the regular. But you grind it out and when you get the “yes”, you crack open some prosecco and celebrate. If you don’t have the will to wake up every morning and attack it until it works, then you’re in the wrong business.”
CC: How do you see Hungry Fan evolving in the future?
“I will be working on growing the product line and working with some new partners to bring fans some great game day products and food items. I will also be working on some great content so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, I’ve got a new bookazine that’s on newsstands through November so check it out!”