This Foodie Friday, it’s some words from Curtis Stone that are our topic today. If you’re any kind of foodie you’ve seen Curtis on any number of cooking shows. You might also think that he’s there (as are any number of people on various food shows) because he is a pretty face. Probably not, since he has serious cooking chops, having worked in some of the best kitchens around the world as well as under Chef Marco Pierre White for many years.
I was listening to an interview with him on Eater (link here) and while much of what he had to say was fascinating, one quote caught my ear and I think it’s relevant to any of us in business:
If you think about celebrity chefs, television competition shows, all this stuff that has happened — it’s shining this big light on our industry, which has made it famous somehow. And suddenly cooks are cool. And it’s amazing because it means we have people coming into our industry. But, to your point, they’re coming in for sometimes the wrong reason, and they get in there and they’re like, “Well, I don’t want to peel those bags of onions,” like I was complaining about earlier. But you don’t just get given the gift of being able to use a knife properly. You get it from practice. Kitchens are historically a really tough place to work, and you have these kids coming through that want to be the next contestant on Top Chef, but what they’ve got to realize first is that there’s all these steps to it.
In other words, there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be the best but you must be prepared to pay your dues. Every business has a set of fundamental skills that serve as the foundation for everything else. Learning those skills isn’t optional. Ask, for example, any lawyer about law school and they’ll tell you that what they learned in law school has little to do with being a lawyer. They’ll also tell you that they’re better off for having gone to prepare for the more applicable skills they learned next. Doctors leave medical school but aren’t allowed to practice on their own. There are many skills they need to hone and to develop before they’re ready for that.
Compare that with business. I’ve had the experience of a kid with a couple of years’ experience under their belts wondering why they’re not being made vice presidents. I’ve worked with founders who are younger than my own children wondering why people might have some qualms about investing in their venture. It’s fine to aspire as long as you recognize that patience is required while you learn your craft and pay your dues. Hey – I’m 40 years into my business life and I’m still learning and honing. Care to join me?