Category Archives: written word

the business of chef’s table: experience matters more (2 of 2)


Atmosphere is Everything

I have a favorite question I love to ask friends (new and old) to get to know them better. I am curious about their most memorable and enjoyable food experiences. What I inevitably find, which is absolutely true for myself, is that the most memorable food experiences had to do partially with the food and partially (perhaps even more?) with the experience and the ambience.

A few highlights from my history of eating food (I’ll probably do a follow up post on these)…
1) An authentic crawdad boil in middle school.
2) A hole-in-the-wall Chinese place blaring 90s rap & hip hop.
3) Lobster bisque that was mind-melting.

Watching the most recent season of Chef’s Table was a reminder of this intuitive, although looked-over, fact of business / life / etc. Crafting a meaningful experience is equally as important as the product you put out into the world. The best chefs are finding ways to tease out multi-sensory experiences that are unexpected. This is what sets them a part. A lot of people can make fantastic food.

To be clear, one doesn’t function without the other, but both of them working in tandem (product & experience) is where the magic happens.

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Read the first post in this short blog seres // “the business of chef’s table: scale isn’t everything”

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the business of chef’s table: scale isn’t everything (1 of 2)

chefs table france

Don’t Buy Into the ‘Scale’ Myth

I just started watching the newest season of Chef’s Table on Netflix. It’s a must watch series in my opinion, but don’t start with the most recent season. Start at the beginning. It’s better that way.

While watching the first episode of Chef’s Table: France, I was struck by a very specific notion: scale isn’t everything. Too often in our society today, people imply that building something meaningful means to build something BIG. Something with scale and reach and influence seems to be desirous above most (if not all) else.

Then, you watch chefs who care so deeply for their craft that they choose explicitly to not make business decisions for the sake of efficiency and growth. They run their own gardening operations and they don’t set a menu until the day of service just to see what vegetables are going to be the absolute freshest for that day. Write that business plan in your MBA program and they would laugh you out of the room.

I believe this sort of uncompromising approach to food is above all an issue of integrity. For a chef to sacrifice nearly everything else to deliver on the promise of incredible food and a beautiful experience, is to see a person honoring their craft with all they have. This is what I admire most of the world’s top chefs, and what I find most inspiring…

They are not letting others dictate what success is for them. They are pursuing their passions and people happen to want to partake in the action.


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finding my voice, again


We’re too measured. I probably shouldn’t speak for you, although this most likely applies. I’m too measured. If I’m going to write, I want it to be the best. I will pour over photos selecting the one that will connect most deeply for whomever views it. It’s broken though.

Then, when I do try to express myself creatively or in some unexpected way, I fear coming across as though I tried to hard. Because isn’t it all supposed to be easy, right?!

It’s what caused me to not post on this blog for months. At least partially. The rest of it was a combination of being extremely busy at work and enjoying the first year of parenthood with #clivegreyson.

I want to write. I want to create. And I want to do it for the sake of exploration and practice.

Here’s to that.

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why would you go to mars?

Legacy, Abandonment & Giving Up

Mars One is a non-profit organization with the goal to establish a permanent human settlement… on Mars. In 2018, they are sending their first unmanned mission, and in 2024 they are planning on sending 4 people every year. Even more, they are now running a contest to identify the first 4 people to send. This is what the mini-documentary above explores.

What is so fascinating to me is the WHY? behind each person’s explanation. Of the people interviewed in the documentary, you hear a spectrum of reasoning. One person wants to leave a legacy, another it’s a further exploration of freedom, and yet another is ready to throw in the towel on the current situation on planet earth. The gravity of this situation is so intense because this opportunity to go to Mars is a ONE-WAY ticket. These people will never return.

When asked if people who are willing to do this are “crazy”, one contestant responded in the following manner…

“Define crazy. Crazy is the unfamiliar. Crazy is the different person. What is crazy for people?
For me… my sister is crazy for having her dream to be to have kids and have a husband and grow up and die.”

We all have a unique set of influences that formulate our decision-making and rationale. I think a good way to understand what yours is about is to ask yourself the question… Why or why not would you make the decision to go to Mars and never return?


If your conclusion is to go to Mars, you can apply to be one of the Mars One Astronauts HERE

mars one astronauts

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you’ll never make it

I was speaking to a group of aspiring entrepreneurs at a local university in Southern California recently, and a specific insight seemed to resonate with the group (and with me) above everything else. Q&A has the power to bring up ideas or concepts that you haven’t thought about in a long time and this was one I wanted to share…

You will never make it. You will never arrive at the point where you have it all figured out, and the sooner you can wrap your head around this the better.

It’s easy for all of us to put others on a pedestal. We wonder about the secret combination of inputs that cause people to be wildly successful. We idealize and romanticize about getting to a place where our businesses magically run themselves. I know when I was starting KK intl. there was always this underlying notion that if we could just make it to the next milestone — i.e. If we could be sold in that one great retailer — the rest would follow suit.

As with almost everything, it’s the same with life as it is in business. The best thing we can do is to realize the beauty in the process and understand that even those milestones we will reach come with a whole new set of challenges. As we embrace the minor victories and celebrate the fact that we have greater challenges (because my goodness we’ve actually grown our business!) we will be able to give grace to ourselves and to see others in a new lens.

No one has it all figured out. We are all just improving in incremental steps, that hopefully add up to something meaningful.

{The above photo is from an Instagram post that illustrates
this same point in a different way}


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