Chef Vitaly Paley hails from Belarus the former Soviet Union. In the 1970's Paley immigrated to the United States to pursue a career as a concert pianist. After a life training and many years at Julliard studying piano, Paley traded in his keys for a chef knife.
Paley would go on to study at the French Culinary Institute in New York, work at some of the New Yorks finest restaurants, and apprentice in France.
In 1994 Paley made the move to the Portland, OR to take advantage of the regions bountiful produce. By 1995 he opened his first restaurant, Paley's Place.
Over the next 10 years his hard work would earn him the prestigious James Beard Best Chef Northwest.
Today, Chef Paley, is a respected cookbook author and Owner of 4 restaurants: Paley's Place, Imperial, Headwaters, and The Crown.
Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.
"Enjoy the moment."
In this episode with Vitaly Paley, we discuss:
- Why you need to enjoy the day to day.
- The impact of working with a passionate team.
- How behind every great restaurant is a great person. seek out and learn from those great people.
- How the REAL learning process starts after you graduate culinary school.
- What Paley learned about business while working for Danny Meyer.
- The benefits of working with your spouse.
- The power of journaling and documenting life lessons.
- Relocating to a market where you have a better shot a being the best.
- If you do relocate to a new market, the first order of business should be integration into the community. Get involved with other restaurants and grow your network. Your network is your net worth.
- Staying lean, especially in the early days.
- Being careful not to do too much too fast.
- Staying focused on doing a few things really well instead of everything thing really well.
- Not treating all your team members like "employees" but instead being a transformative mentor.
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Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
- Being in the right place at the right time.
What is your biggest weakness?
What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
- Discover whether or not they like people
- Lack of ego.
What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
- Young people not willing to put in the time to learn.
- Slowing the process down.
Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
- Stay positive.
- Ask, "How can I do this?"
What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
- Never be familiar, but always exp ress you're friendly.
- Being as knowledgeable about the food and the restaurant.
What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
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Share an online resource or tool.
What's one piece of technology you've adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?
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?
- Do what makes you happy.
- Do what makes you happy.
- Follow your bliss.
Paley's Place, Imperial, Headwaters, and The Crown.
Thanks for Listening!
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Huge thanks to Vitaly Paley for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!
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