It Never Fails!

I have interviewed dozens of creative professionals over the last 18 months and no matter what they do, no matter what their concentration, the same tenets of success always ring true.

Today I had an uncharacteristic interview with a local chef named Melissa Zuniga, the Executive Chef at Cities Lounge in LA. This was not a conversation I would typically have on my show, but she has a tremendous Instagram feed, and her pictures enticed me enough to ask her to come talk to me.

As the conversation got started, and we talked about her short but stellar career as a chef, I noticed some interesting parallels.

Hard Work is Everything

She puts in 10 to 12 hours a day as a chef, because that’s what is expected. It’s grueling work at times, but the results come, both in the food, and in your career, if you put the time in.

Keep Good Company

She spends a considerable amount of time volunteering to work with other well-known chefs because it will only make her better at what she does. Also, she extends her network, which can lead to bigger things in the future

Always Be Learning

Finding out new techniques, working with new ingredients, and studying those that came before you is one of the best ways to grow as a professional. Learn new things, and then go apply them in your work.

Strive for Excellence

When putting things together for other people to eat, it’s not just about making things tasty, or making them pretty. Your job is to wow your customers to a point that makes them want to share you with others. The best compliment she gets is when people take pictures of her food and share it on social media with their friends and family.

Learn to Play

Never stop experimenting with how things work. You work can be art, and can be fun if you let it. It’s when you stop playing that the work gets stale, and people stop coming to see you.

My conversation with Melissa was one of the most rewarding I’ve personally experienced. It gave me new insight on some parts of business, and also validated many things that I hold true.

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