Tag Archives: Food Network

Chopped

I went to make dinner the other night and was scouring the refrigerator for inspiration.

Chopped (TV series)

Chopped (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eggplant, chicken thighs, some leftover San Marzano tomatoes were what greeted me. What would you have made? I did a chicken/eggplant curry – it took all of 25 minutes and was delicious. I thought about that as a topic for our Foodie Friday Fun and was reminded again about it as I watched “Chopped” on the Food Network. That show is a cooking competition where the chefs are given a basket of ingredients and told to make something using all the ingredients in the basket, generally in 30 minutes or less. The twist is that there’s always something in the basket that doesn’t go with everything else – flounder, lemons, capers, and olive loaf, for example. Perfect for business thinking, right?

The key to being successful in this sort of improvisational cooking is to step back and think more broadly – and very differently – about the ingredients.  Olive loaf as a seasoning, for example, and not as a protein.  It’s how successful companies think about their businesses.   The iPhone wasn’t thought about as a phone per se but as a communication device with the Internet as an important form of communication.  I suspect it was thought of in an even more broadly way – a handheld computer with voice connectivity, perhaps.

We live in a non-linear world these days.  Thinking in straight lines may move us forward but it may mean we’re missing some fantastic opportunities.  You might think of your company as being in the tech business.  Maybe you need to focus on being in a solutions business.  How does that change how your technology performs or is designed?  The folks in sports realize they’re in the entertainment business – that opens up many new challenges but a ton of new opportunities.

I like Chopped.  Improvising solutions under pressure with seemingly incompatible ingredients is what business today is all about.  It’s inspirational to me.  You?

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Dirty Hands

Our food theme today is getting one’s hands dirty.  I thought about this last night as I was watching “Chef Hunter” on The Food Network, a show I really like.  Basically, it’s a job interview for two chefs who want to run a restaurant.  Each chef is given the run of the kitchen for a service and the management evaluates how well they manage the kitchen, the menu, and their food costs.  The chefs also create some special items for the day and the caliber of their cooking is part of the equation.

In last evening’s show, which took place in Hawaii, one chef  generated some interesting comments by the other members of the staff.  The one that triggered my thought may be unfamiliar to you, as it was to me, but it points out an interesting business lesson:  the chef had a high maka maka attitude. Continue reading

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How To Be A Celebrity Chef

Photograph of chef Jacques Pépin at Aspen Food...

Image via Wikipedia

The end of a long week so a business thought related to food.  Actually, it’s related to the food business, and it comes from Jacques Pepin.  Chef Pepin is one of my culinary heroes, and his TV work, both solo and the series he did with Julia Child, ranks in my mind as some of the best cooking programming ever done.  He was one of the first “celebrity chefs” – after he had put in 30 years in the kitchen.  He kind of built the mold – successful restaurant career, TV, books – that many of the folks you see on The Food Network are trying to follow but he actually paid his dues.

Jacques Pepin is very different from many of them and not just because he was a pioneer.  Want to know why?  It’s a great business point for us all. Continue reading

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