It may seem like a stretch, but entrepreneurship and America's hit culinary television show do have a few things in common.
One of the most effective techniques for innovation and outside the box thinking is to take the ideas and approaches from one craft and apply it to another.
Becoming a top entrepreneur and a top chef require skills learned in the real world rather than school, what distinguishes winners from losers is grit and creativity, and most endeavors end up in failure.
Those who do dare to endeavor do so out of passion more than money.
But when you win, the financial outcomes can be great.
Who knows better about the food world and being an entrepreneur than someone who has lived it.
I sat down with David Feller, the founder and CEO of Yummly, a food discovery platform, to talk about takeaways that entrepreneurs can learn from Top Chef.
1. Keep Your Cool
Those Quick Fire Challenges on Top Chef really showcase the amount of pressure possible for chefs and entrepreneurs alike. Dave says it is important to keep your stress under control by managing your energy. Energy dictates what you'll do with the amount of time provided. Just remember to stay positive and confident in yourself during these times of high pressure.
2. Assemble the Right Team
Like on the TV show, you might end up with people who you just don't get along with. He recommends finding individuals who have with good character and who share your values. You can always teach them the necessary business skills along the way.
3. Find Your Special Sauce
Coincidently that's a name of a conference room at Yummly! Dave says that successful entrepreneurs should figure out their secret ingredient and what separates them from competitors and notes that you "make sure you do something you care about then find a new, unique way to share it with the world."
4. Watch the Clock
In Top Chef, if you are not finished in time you are out of the challenge. The same holds for entrepreneurs. If you are not watching your cash burn rate and achieving your milestones, you are out of the game.
5. Be Ready for Surprise Ingredients
When Tom Colicchio comes around, you know something is about to happen. As an entrepreneur nothing goes smoothly so you always expect surprises. Dave says "you might also find that a project is a lot harder or time consuming than expected. Just be aware that things might not go as you've planned."
6. Learn from Your Mistakes
Sometimes mistakes can be showcased in the form of brutal complaints from reality show judges or unhappy customers. Take these complaints as a learning tool because these can be the greatest teacher. Dave feels it is important to work on fixing your mistakes and you'll be on the road to success in no time.
7. Don't Be Discouraged
This can be one of the hardest things for an entrepreneur, but Dave says "sometimes your business might not go as far as you imagined, but if you're passionate keep going until you find what works." Never give up if this is your dream. Take Bene from Season 11. He was eliminated pretty early on but still manages to run a successful catering and event planning business in New York City.
8. Presentation is Key
Every chef gets the opportunity to share talk about their dish. Make sure you are presenting the best thing you can with confidence. Dave says that "you need to believe in yourself and what you are offering. Don't sell yourself or your product short."
The relevancies between Top Chef and today's budding entrepreneurs are hard to ignore. Both require an individual with perseverance, determination, and passion. They also allow an individual to reflect upon his/her strength and weaknesses for the purpose of improvement. However, with the right tools and mindset, an individual, reality show contestant or otherwise, can achieve his/her goals with success.
Do you have any other takeaways you have seen from the Top Chef show? I'd love to hear more. Comment below!