Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

In this episode with Chef Deb Paquette, we discuss:

  • How helping people is what drives Chef Paquette.
  • Identifying those who are with you for more than just the job, and helping them through their career.
  • Discovering mentors through books.
  • Working in the industry for others for at least 5 years before trying to open your own restaurant. You've got to make sure its what you want to do, plus you gain more clarity over time.
  • Understanding that not everyone has the same experience as you. What might be common sense for you is not common sense for everyone.
  • How to show someone the right way to do something.
  • Approaching angry tables with positive energy.
  • The key to good to communication is asking questions and listening.
  • Understanding value in an industry of small margins.
  • The significance of trusting and believing in your people.
  • Learning that not everyone is going to love your style and to not take it personally.  Don't let the negative reviews get you down.
  • How to defuse awkward and difficult guest.
  • Taking jobs early on that will teach you about management, systems, and structure.
  • A female potty mouth's opinion on #metoo.

Chef Deb Paquette has been working in Nashville for 30+ years. After graduating form the culinary institute of America, she became the first woman in TN to qualify as a certified executive chef.  She’s won countless awards and accolades and was the chef/owner of Zola – named in Gourmet Magazine as one of the Top Sixty Restaurants in the United States. IN 2012 Chef Deb came out a short lived retirement to join forces with 4-Top hospitality as Executive chef at ETCH. Four years later the partnership opened a second location, ETC.

Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

"You need work ethic and to be a nice person."

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • Work Ethic.
    • Humor.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Patience.
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • "Do you you play nice with others?"
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • The lack of work ethic from the new generation.
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.

    • Communicate everything.
    • If you don't know the answer to something, ask.
    • If you did something wrong, tell me.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?

    • Being knowledgable servers.
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  8. Share an online resource or tool.

    • The Google Machine
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

  10. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?

    1. If you're not having fun, dont do it. be Be happy.
    2. Eye contact.
    3. Love your family.

Contact Info



Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Deb Paquette for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 462_Deb_Paquette_3_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST