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The Recipe for Success: How Puck Struck Gold
He Built a Good Team: The road Puck walked to success was not one he walked alone. From his wife to his chefs to his business partners, Puck surrounded himself with capable people who he knew he could trust. While remaining hands-on and accessible, Puck allowed his team members to assume the responsibility they needed in order to perform to the best of their abilities. In doing so, he generated loyalty and a sense of family throughout his company.
He was Straightforward: Puck believed that if he was going to succeed, it would be on the merit of his food and not on any ostentatious presentation or elaborate marketing. He preferred simple cuisine whose complexity lied in its ingredients, preparation and taste as opposed to its display. In keeping his business philosophy simply, customers knew they could expect great-tasting food in any one of Puck’s restaurants and kept coming back.
He was Creative: When most other chefs were trying to perfect their individual cuisine, Puck was busy trying to fuse cuisines in ways that had never been done before. Some were discouraging while others were excited to see what he could do, but in the end, Puck’s innovative recipes that combined local and international ingredients and techniques were what gave him his competitive edge.
He was Passionate: “I’d rather just cook,” says Puck. “I don’t want to go out and raise any more money from anybody. I feel like I’m going begging.” Although he was adept in the boardroom, Puck was most at home in the kitchen, hands working a kneading pin and flour instead of a computer and contracts. There is no other place Puck would rather be than in the kitchen cooking, and it was that zeal for his work that gave him the energy and commitment he needed to succeed.
He Recovered from Failure: He lost $5 million on one of his early beloved restaurants in one year and was forced to close it. For many, that would have been enough to give up right then and there. But, Puck picked himself back up again, dusted himself off, learned what he could from that experience and went back to trying to achieve his goals. Over his 25-year career, he would continue to experience setbacks and things that didn’t go according to plan, but Puck never gave up.
Puck is on his way to becoming a brand name himself, if he isn’t that already. Living the life of his dreams, Puck has this advice for others: “Only you can judge your life. You have to live up to your own expectations.”
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