How Cooking Eggs Made Me A Better Entrepreneur
And the other things I’ve learned from the professional food industry.
I have an in-depth focus whenever I find a new hobby to take up. It’s like I’m addicted to learning the craft and perfecting it on my own.
This is just the third month of the year, but I’ve already over-exposed myself in the professional food industry. Though there are quick videos that teach you how to cook in “5 Simple Steps,” what really attracted me to cooking was the MasterChef Professional series.
This series of the MasterChef is not the popular edition in the U.S. However, this competition is highly acclaimed in the U.K. For this special edition of the MasterChef, they invite professional cooks to join in. That means, you have contestants who cook for a living. You would be amazed to see professional cooks and chefs that work at events, Michelin-starred restaurants and even local bars compete and even make mistakes.
I was instantly hooked. I have a knack in pulling in challenging tasks in front of me — and this one certainly looked challenging. What I loved about cooking is the arts and sciences behind it.
You got the artistry of the MasterChef blending the sweets and the spices altogether to create one masterpiece. Then, just like the world-renowned Heston Blumenthal’s his molecular gastronomy (I really hope this guy is who I get for my wedding!), you get to see the science behind the food.
That’s when it hit me. Entrepreneurship could be the closest thing you can compare to the professional world of culinary arts.
Let’s start with the eggs.
Lesson #1. Everyone can have an egg, but not everyone can make a masterpiece out of it.
Here we go again with the eggs.
Just stay with me for a moment. You have to know that eggs are one of the most elementary ingredients in cooking, but only great cooks know how to utilize them well.
We have eggs in our kitchen and we cook them almost everyday. You have the scrambled eggs, the sunny-side-up and the boiled ones. These three are the most common way of cooking eggs.
However, throughout my pro cooking immersion, I learned that you can use eggs to make mayonnaise, eggs Benedict, choco mousse, fresh pasta cream, scotch eggs and many more!
In retrospect to entrepreneurship, your eggs are your resources. Everyone can have 24 hours in everyday, but not everyone has the guts to study, learn and practice how to be an Olympian. Everyone can know how to write, but very few get to become successful novelists. Every single person on earth can have $1 million, but only the dedicated ones will grow it to a billion.
We can get other people’s resources.
“If I only have the funding like she did.”
“If only I was born in a family like his.”
“If only I had an internship in New York like they did.”
BUT, IT WOULD NOT MATTER.
They could have all of the training in the world, but they will not have the guts and the grit to create and sustain a business. They could have graduated from the most luxurious universities in the world, but they will not have the patience to deal with the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.
I have met people from all walks of life and I have rarely been truly impressed. I see people with all of the resources in the world, but they do not use it because they are not brave and creative enough to turn their “eggs” into a “hollandaise”.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Do not envy people who have a chicken farm or thousands of baskets of eggs. Instead, study hard. Practice well. Fail fast and learn up. Then, buy an egg and make your very own masterpiece out of it.
Lesson #2. Mastery is a Life Pursuit.
You have heard about him. He’s all over the news and the television. He’s the guy who’s favorite hobby is to shout at people — or so we thought.
Chef Gordon Ramsay. The internationally-acclaimed chef with 14 Michelin stars up in his belt. With restaurants in London, New York and Hong Kong, Chef Ramsay has the right to be called “The Toughest Chef in the Word,” and, arguably, the best. Well, his daughter, Tilly, kids he’s only #2… after Jamie Oliver.
I know BS talk when I see one. I know when I see someone just masquerading the bling-blings without any substantial experience to back “it” up. I used to get fed up with these people, then I learned how to smile from the inside and walk away.
But, I also know when I meet someone GREAT. Chef Ramsay happens to be one of the “greats” I will always look up to in my lifetime. To really appreciate my sentiment, and for you to move past his “celebrity antics”, you need to understand his background.
Chef Ramsay had an addict father and brother. Instead of succumbing to the same type of lifestyle, he took his butt up and worked as hard as he could to build his dream up. He started working as a bust boy, or as we know, a garbage boy, in a restaurant. Then, he moved his way up by learning from his mentors.
Chef Ramsay beat every roadblock by just working hard and respecting the craft. If we’re to simplify the formula of success, it could just be those two. He then earned his very first 3-star Michelin and continued his way to dominating the world by launching one restaurant after the other — with almost every single one earning a Michelin star of their own.
As I try to learn as much as I could from my new idol, I dived into thousands of minutes of his YouTube channel. Here, you would not see him shouting, but you would see him in his best self. I highly advise to not only watch the recipes and the ingredients, but the man himself. Just like the egg analogy, there are thousands of YouTube channels that can teach you how to cook a beef wellington, but only in Chef Ramsay’s channel will you appreciate every single step and every single ingredient that makes the dish complete.
Chef Ramsay has a delicacy in the way he handles food. It’s like watching your favorite NBA player practice before playoffs. Chef Ramsay this instant connection with the food. He knows why searing the onion for a minute together with the thyme would make your chicken tastier.
You should also see his Kitchen Nightmares series. I know it has been advertised as the Supreme Ramsay Screaming Arena, but it is more than that. You will see Chef Ramsay giving these soon-to-be-failures a second chance. You’d see “nobodys” stand up to him, but never did he brag about the stars he already has and the millions he earn from his restaurants compared to the small-scaled players he is trying to help. It shows you that his value and integrity as a person, which then translates to all of his success.
Chef Ramsay has the chops to be the world’s Celebrity Chef simply because he earned it.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Chef Gordon Ramsay is an inspiration. From the lowest staff level in the kitchen to dominating the world, he made sure that he is always moving higher and higher. He may have been the MasterChef host and producer, a 3-Star Michelin chef and a successful restaurateur (a businessman who focuses on the restaurant industry), but every year, he pushes all of his restaurants forward to earn 3 Michelin stars (just so you know, some of his restaurants have 1-star and 2-stars only…so why not make it all three?). For Chef Ramsay, it is simple. Give it your best… in everything that you do.
Lesson #3. Innovation is Necessary To Leaving a Legacy. One-time Success Is Not Enough
You may be familiar with Chef Gordon Ramsay, but he is not the only superstar in the culinary world. Last year, Chef Joan Roca was just awarded The Chef’s Choice Award.
This just goes to show that one Michelin star is not the end goal. It could be one of the goals, but you are not to stop there. What I love about Michelin stars is that they get revisited and renewed every year. Chef Ramsay even lost his stars in one of his restaurants in New York. It was reported that he cried when this happened. Hard to imagine though, right?
Going back, to be the best in the world is already a difficult feat. But, being the best every single time, every single year, requires patience, and most especially, innovation.
2 Michelin Star Chef Marcus Wareing, co-host of MasterChef Professional, actually trained the whole staff, including movie star Bradley Cooper, in the movie Burnt. This is a movie inspired by the lives of Chefs Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre.
Burnt tackles the struggle of aiming for the Michelin stars. After falling through the cracks, Cooper’s character, Adam Jones, tries to get his name back on the map by reinventing a new restaurant.
After a series of ups and downs, Chef Adam Jones was able to reinvent himself and his food. When the Michelin “men” went in to visit and see how good his new menu is, he was no longer fazed by the pressure of the critics. Instead, he focused on making his innovation work.
KEY TAKEAWAY: In the world of culinary arts, just like in business, innovation is a necessity. It is not enough to earn a step up the ladder. Continue to flow with time. Time moves forward and it requires a cycle of reinvention. Consistency is very important in both industries, but stagnancy is where you fall. The moment you feel lenient with your work, the moment you think you are already the best of the best, thus there would no longer need to learn and improve, is the moment you fail.
And to think that we all started with eggs..
I will never be a Michelin star chef. I know my strengths and I know where I should dedicate my life. But, I will forever be in awe of these real-life master chefs.
Still, as a try to become a better entrepreneur, I am grateful to have a sneak peek into their life and passion. They have given me a better footing on how to improve myself as well.
In due time, I will also learn how to cook good enough that I can turn simple ingredients, like eggs, into homemade masterpieces.