Monthly Archives: July 2013

Cooking Lessons

Problem: Cooking at home takes too long and costs too much money.

Solution: Cooking lessons that will reduce time, cost, and waste.

How: Teach how to organize and operate kitchen as restaurant does.

Cost: $150/3 hour session, up to 3 people can attend.

Place: Customer’s kitchen.

Return on Investment: Significantly reduce grocery costs and cooking time. Improve nutritional density and diversity of home cooked meals.

Examples of Class Segments:
* Basic knife skills (to improve speed and safety)
* Advanced knife skills (includes how to open coconut with knife)
* $10 meals for family of 4
* Kitchen organization and prep work
* Chips
* Salads
* Sauces




Ten Worst Reasons to Start a Restaurant/Juice Bar

10. You want to be your own boss.  No you don’t.  Most people don’t.  I don’t.  Most people are followers, want to be led, told what to do. I allow myself 20 minutes of fantasy time per day and I spend half of it imagining being someone’s bitch, being told what to do. I even put a craigslist ad out seeking someone to be my boss.

9. You want to make a lot of money instead of being exploited.  The money can be good. But keep in mind that business owners don’t get a minimum wage or union protection or tenure.  You’d be completely exposed to an unpredictable world. As Marco Pierre White put it, “those bastards can come knocking at any time and take it all away.”

8. You want to run a business the “right” way.  You’re going to show Walmart/McDonald’s/greedyevilbusinessoftheday how it should be done.  You’re going to pay everyone really well and be really really nice to them so they work really really really hard and you’ll all get really really really really rich together it’ll be a big happy family. If it were that easy, we wouldn’t need God.  There’d be heaven on earth. Not saying you can’t run a business your way.  I’ve broken many business textbook rules. Just saying it’s not easy to pull off.

7. You want to be passionate about your job.  So you want to turn your hobby into your job, and you’re convinced you’ll do well if you finally pursue something you enjoy.  No.  Your hobby — cooking — is fun because it isn’t your job, you’re not graded on it by strangers and colleagues day in, day out.  It’s a hobby because there’s no pressure to do well or else.  It’s a hobby because for most, it’s an escape from reality and pressures of life.

6. You think you’ll care more if it’s your business.  No you won’t.  How much you care, your work ethic, depends on habit, not if it’s yours or not.  If you’re doing a shitty job at someone else’s job right now, you’ll most likely do the same shitty job working on your own business. You won’t be able to care about your business until you learn to care about someone else’s business.

5. You want to work less. I need to pee.

4. You think you have a great idea/product.  But ideas are worthless. It’s the force of character behind an idea that matters.

3.  You think you have great recipes, you’re convinced grandma’s meatloaf recipe will make you a million bucks. Most recipes are worthless in restaurant environment.  In fact, they’re often dangerous, can sink a restaurant because they’re so complicated.  And it’s not that easy to develop a menu.  A menu is not a collection of your greatest hits.  A menu is designed to support workflow processes and is based on utilities infrastructure.  That’s why we rarely accept recipes from well meaning customers.    Most don’t know how to hedge risk or how to work with the infrastructure.

2.  You think it’d be glamorous.  Actually, it is, in some ways.  Be sure you enjoy being under microscope.  I had no idea people would care so much about this or that about my life, that I’d be a source of neighborhood gossip.  If you’re an extravert, you may enjoy the attention.  If you’re like me, an intensely private extreme introvert whose idea of fun is playing chess against a computer, you’ll find it emotionally draining.

1. You want to serve God, deliver God’s will and message.  Actually, this is the only good reason to open a juice bar or a restaurant.  This reason will give you the stamina and discipline to keep going during the toughest times.  This reason will significantly reduce probability of you fucking everything up in your own fucked up way.

How to Write a Resume (for Teens); Part IV, Education

Summary of Part III: Work IS education and for most people, what’s learned at work is far more important than what’s learned in school (elementary and middle schools are useful, high school is a waste for most).  So choose where you work carefully.  Don’t worry about prestige or money.  Better to work at a well run and busy McDonald’s than at raw food restaurant with lax standards.  Work at places that constantly push you to do better.  Surround yourself with colleagues who are competitive.

How Much Education?   As mentioned before, most people don’t need more than an 8th grade education to become a millionaire.  All you need is grit, ambition, and discipline.  (If you have those three character traits, you’ll likely become self-educated).  If school bores you, ditch it.  It’ll just make you dumber and you’d be wasting precious resources.  (Go back to school when it makes more sense). If school is interesting, stick with it.  But resist the urge to compare yourself to the average (shocked at how common this is).  Always compare yourself to the best.  You don’t need to strive to be the best.  You just need to grade yourself fairly.  If you compare yourself to the average, you’ll become delusional and provincial.  You’ll never be able to recognize much less face the actual range of capabilities that exists.

How to Sell Education (How I Read It) Some teens emphasize education because that’s all they have to offer, they’ve never worked.  Fine, but many are making too big a deal out of a 4.0 GPA.  They don’t know how to sell it. Here’s why.

Nearly every teen applicant I’ve met refuses to compare themselves to the best.  They instead use their 4.0GPA (or even 3.0, sheesh) to boost their self-esteem.  To those who make a big deal out of their 4.0, here’s reality. You’d probably be at the bottom of the class at a top high school.  The average SAT at a top public high school like Stuyvesant is 1400 (Math and Verbal only).  Thomas Jefferson, it’s 1430.  Exeter, 1400. The dumb jock from Palo Alto high school who is now an NBA starting guard scored a perfect 800 on his Math IIC in NINTH GRADE. Now what did your valedictorian score on her SAT?  When did she take her Math IIC? Are you getting the sense that you’re a big fish in a tiny pond? Sure you ready to face the sharks?  Are you starting to understand that the average Stuyvesant graduate is at least six grade levels ahead of average Mountlake Terrace high graduate?  (Parents, does this bother you, want to do something about it)?

Here’s how you sell a 4.0.  Be humble. Point out that it’s coming from a high school with low or middling standards.  Mention that you didn’t take the toughest course load.  Show me you can put your achievements in a perspective that frames you as teachable employee.   There’s nothing more dangerous than someone with inflated self-esteem.  They can’t learn, they only want to be admired, even worshipped. Put simply, show me you have high standards for yourself.  Whether or not you meet those standards is irrelevant to me.  It’s not like you’re applying for CEO.

Some of you are 2.0 GPA students.  That’s fine too.  Don’t hide it, be honest.  Mention how you haven’t been able to see the point.  That you don’t want to waste time learning bullshit.  I can work with that.

The point is, be honest.  First to yourself, then to others.  Yes, it’ll offend many people, including loved ones — people don’t like it when their praise is refused because it’s a criticism of their own standards —  but if you’re upwardly mobile, it’ll impress those you want to impress.

Putting it On Paper

Some recommend teens to list their education ahead of their work experience.  For my business, I prefer education to be listed near the bottom.  If you’re on a college prep track, list the following:

Test scores (SAT, SAT II, AP exams, etc)
AP courses currently taking
Leadership positions

Don’t try to appear perfect.  Nobody is seeking perfect.  We’re all deeply flawed.  We’re just seeking (and I’m speaking for all small business owners)  honesty.

If you’re not on college prep track, list the following:
Test scores, if available
Relevant trade courses (many high schools have culinary programs)
Leadership positions

We’ll discuss hobbies and references in next section.