Remarkable Lessons from the Food Channel

Posted on by in Business, Remarkability

Since I had a chance last week to watch way too much of the Food Network while my back was recovering, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on what makes each of the shows I watched so remarkable—and here’s my list.

1. Passion Rules – Each chef I watched, at least appeared to be, passionate about what they did.  There was none of that, "I’m just doing my job." stuff.  If you don’t believe me, just listen to Mario Batali talk about food from some particular Italian province and you’ll hear passion come through loud and clear.

2. Plating Matters – Or to put it in more politically acceptable business terms, it’s all about design.  You never see a chef just throw food on a dish or platter—they plate it.  In other words, they make it look great.  And in Emeril’s world, he always finishes his plating with either Essence or parsley around the dish with his famous trademark, "BAM!" as his final touch.

3.  Differentiation is Everything. Even though every show on the Food Network is about food, they all have their unique twist or brand.  Sandra Lee is about "Semi-homemade".  Rachel Ray is about "30 Minute Meals."  Bobby Flay (also an Iron Chef) is about Barbecue.  Partyline is about entertaining.  Sugar Rush is about desserts.  Giada is about "Everyday Italian (in America)" while Mario is about "Authentic Italian (from Italy)".  Everyone has their own niche and specialty.  It’s not 40 shows about food that all look and sound alike.

4.  All Business is Show Business.  Each of the chefs realizes that they’re on TV so they work overtime to entertain and make it an enjoyable experience for those of us who are watching.

Now, chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably not a chef (though that would be cool if you are!).  But even if you’re not, the lessons from the Food Network still ought to matter to you and your business.  So just turn the four lessons around into questions.  For example, "Does passion rule in me and in my business?" If not, why not?  And then, how can I get the passion back? Why? Because passion drives remarkable effort.  Rarely does remarkable ever proceed from exhaustion or indifference.

Or take the differentiation lesson and ask, "How is my business distinctly different than all of my competitors?"  And then, "Do the people in my target market know the difference?" If your tire shop is just like every other tire shop, you’re in trouble.  You have to be clear on how you’re different and then make sure that everyone in your target market knows that difference.  So, do they?  If not, how can you communicate that difference?

And then do the same thing with the experience lesson and the design lesson.  Every business/organization/association/governmental agency/educational institution and church needs to live out each of these four lessons.  Why? Because if anyone of these groups of people isn’t remarkable, they’re in trouble.  So, how about you?  How can you make sure that all four lessons are true of you and your business?

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2 Responses to “Remarkable Lessons from the Food Channel”

  1. Mark 5 November 2005 at 5:46 pm #

    Great commens about the chefs, and all so true.
    I spent 11 years in foodservice, 9 as a chef. I now work full time as a design engineer for military aircraft. 2 completely different fields, still same passion.
    To remark on your points as far as chefs go:
    1) From Creation to mouth-watering dishes to fighter jets, nothing really great was ever done without passion. Kitchen work is very challenging, not for the faith of heart, so you really need that passionate drive.
    2) You eat with your eyes first. when it looks creatively appetizing, it gets teh appetite going.
    3) God has created us so uniquely, we should be different in our music, our writing, our food, and teaching and preaching. Anyone doing anything with real passion can’t help but to be diffrent, it is too innate.
    4) For restaurants, your first impression is everything, next is consistency. Doesn’t that sound like church?
    Being a chef is one of the careers where your work will either bring instant gratification from a job (meal) well done, and the exact opposite for a job done poorly.
    I would say that many of these comments relate especially to our ministries too.
    I loved being a professional chef, my family and friends enjoy it to this day even more (tomorrow’s Sunday night fellowship has Chicken Marsala and roasted red-skin potatoes with rosemary in the menu).
    I truly thank God I have that experience and passion to be able to bless others through.
    Grace and peace,

  2. djchuang 5 November 2005 at 6:34 pm #

    Differentiating works as long as you can still find a large enough of an audience! I’m pretty sure my website is very differentiated, but I feel more marginalized than differentiated :)


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