Ever since I've discovered Chef's Table, a documentary series created by David Gelb, I have been enamored with the show. It goes inside the lives and kitchens of the world's most renowned and inspiring chefs, and it shows the passion and drive of the chef's, as well as the struggles they had to undergo to be where they are today.
Here are the best things I learned from Chef Massimo's story:
1. Within every adversity is an equal or greater opportunity. Adversity can serve as both a learning experience and a masked opportunity. The key point is to develop the habit of actively seeking a silver lining in every difficulty.
2. In life, to move forward, you must learn from your mistakes. A mistake can in fact transform into a masterpiece.
Backstory: Two identical tarts were leaving the pastry counter, when one slipped out of the pastry chef’s hand, and slid across the counter, breaking the plate and crust into a golden mosaic. The ingenious chef managed to recover from this misstep by giving the pastry an unusual twist... "Oops! I dropped the Lemon Tart". "It’s imperfect,” says Massimo, “in a perfect way.”)
3. Big visionary goals will always meet opposition and resistance from doubters.
Backstory: When Massimo started to modernized the Italy cuisines, the whole Italy was against it. He was considered a traitor, because Italy's food is bound by tradition, and people didn't want the tradition to change. For a period of time, he struggled with a failed restaurant business. Thankfully, he didn't give up. And now, he is deemed as the best chef in the world.
4. A natural leader seeks out new experiences and ways of thinking. In a competitive and rapidly changing world, creativity is an increasingly important quality for leaders to cultivate to keep their businesses or ventures ahead of the curve. A creative leader is one who keeps an open mind.
Backstory: Chef Massimo's success formula is a combination of art, music, place, ingredients-- It's the whole concept behind the food that makes it into something far more interesting than just food." says Faith Willinger, a renowned food writer. Massimo cooks for the palate, the stomach, the heart and the mind.
5. Passion is the key ingredient between being good and being great. "There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it's the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson." - Anthony Robbins
Backstory: Massimo's wife, Lara, describes, "He's an exciting, dynamic guy who seems to ready to go 24 hours a day. Always excited about food, excited about wine, excited to communicate to you what he knows about Italy."
6. The enormous value of a great partner. A supportive life partner can propel you professionally and make life richer and more meaningful.
Backstory: Lara, Massimo's wife, would always encourage him to hold fast to his dream. He was able to open his mind. Thanks to Lara, who took him out of provincial Modena. She showed him a new world, showed him art, showed him other aspects of life. "She's helped me to be a better person." says Massimo.
7. A great leader has the ability to recognize and utilize talent.
Backstory: A woman named Lidia came to Massimo and asked him for a job. Although, she had a vision problem, but he didn't turn her away -- Massimo thought she was like an angel who came down from the sky to help him.
8. Treat your team like family.
Backstory: "If you have success and you have incredible moments of happiness, the happiness is much much more deep and big, if you share with others. When you are getting the point together, is like the happiness and the feeling is exploding, is double." says Massimo.
"Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." ~ Orison Swett Marden