On this episode of The Restaurant Prescription™ Podcast we talk with chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur, Terrance Brennan the CEO of Brennan Group Hospitality to discuss what it take to keep a career as bright as his for 35 years!
I am SO honored to have Chef Terrance Brennan on the show! The son of Annandale, Virginia restaurateurs, Brennan began cooking at the age of 13 and rose steadily through the ranks of America’s most renowned and imaginative chefs. Following positions at several Washington, D.C. restaurants and hotels, Brennan served as a saucier at Le Cirque under Alain Sailhac and worked in many of Europe’s greatest kitchens including Taillevent, Le Tour d’Argent, Moulin de Mougin, Gualtiero Marchesi, Les Crayeres and La Gavroche. Brennan’s signature culinary style took form while working under Chef Roger Vergé at Le Moulin de Mougins in the south of France. Inspired by the region’s “cuisine of the sun,” Brennan returned to New York City and refined his art as Chef at Annabelle’s, the Hotel Westbury’s Polo restaurant, and Prix Fixe.
In 1993, Brennan opened his first restaurant, Picholine, which he named after the petite green olives indigenous to the Mediterranean coast. The restaurant quickly earned three stars from The New York Times, and four stars from New York Magazine, and received the Zagat Survey’s Highest Overall Ratings distinction from 1997 – to the present, and is a perennial award winner for its 600-plus wine selections. The restaurant received a James Beard Foundation nomination for the country’s Outstanding Restaurant in 2007, and was awarded two stars in the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 editions of Michelin Guide New York City.
We’ll find out how he keeps improving himself and pushes the edge in the restaurant industry!
“Welcome to another episode of The Restaurant Prescription™ Podcast a show dedicated to talking about ailments and issues that plague the restaurant industry (and we know there are quite a few), we’ll serve the issues up on the plate, discuss the symptoms and we’ll give you the cure to fix it.”
“This week we’re going to talk about self-improvement. Or to be more precise, the lack of personal and professional growth that seems to hold back so many people in the restaurant industry. You set goals and you work hard every day to achieve them. Then what? How does a restaurant professional stay motivated, inspired, and self-driven to push themselves and their restaurants further and farther? In the restaurant industry some of the highest goals and aspirations are to be nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award or to receive a coveted Michelin star.
“To help me find a cure for this I am thrilled to have a chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur who has achieved all those lofty targets. Terrance Brennan began cooking at the age of 13 and rose steady through the ranks working with America’s most re-known and imaginative chefs, he worked at Le Cirque, worked in some of the greatest kitchens in Europe, returning to New York City and there refined his art as the chef at Annabelle’s. In 1993 he opened his first restaurant, Picholine where the restaurant quickly earned three stars from the New York Times and four stars from New York magazine. His restaurant received a James Beard Nomination for the country’s outstanding restaurant in 2007 and was awarded two stars in the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 editions of Michelin Guide New York City.
Terrance, I am SO honored to have you on the show….
I love how you say that your company “brings passion, energy, and Michelin-starred standards to projects”. I hear consultants talk a lot about experience, never have I heard someone refer to energy and Michelin starred standards….can even a small restaurant adopt the mindset of a Michelin restaurant?
It’s really about mindset. It’s about standards. It’s about excellence. Focus on the “Yum Factor”!
Your Experience with the Aliment
“So Terrance, what’s the real cost to restaurants and operators who failed to adopt a mindset of self-improvement?”
You gotta get up every day with a desire to improve. You’re never gonna reach perfection. But you have to for excellence which is the level right beneath perfection. That is where all the top chefs and restaurateurs live.
The industry changes so quickly. You have to be able to adapt and make changes as the market dictates. Competition can be ruthless. You have to focus on constantly improving and all cost avoid complacency and mediocrity.
3 Key points to drive the solution home to the listener. 5 minutes guideline for each key point.
1. Self Care – take of yourself. I meditate, I worked out, and I drink tea. I live a healthier lifestyle that helps keep me energized.
2. Read – there’s so much great information out there. You need to stay interested. You have to learn to grow.
3. Strive towards excellence. Excellence is not a one-time occurrence! I love food and I love to explore culinary cultures by traveling and checking out other restaurants.
Take This and Call Us in the Morning
What one piece of advice would you tell your younger self?
Share the knowledge I had now. Understand that being in the restaurant business it’s about hospitality and nurturing people.
If success was a recipe. What 3 ingredients would you say have to be in there?
1. Fierce work ethic
For a free consultation contact Terrance at:
Any upcoming projects, new restaurants?
I have two fast casual restaurants I want to launch within the next year. I have an Italian concept of looking at, plus I’m working with a resort up in Vermont.
“ Thanks again to Chef Terrance Brennan for joining us on the show today. Just remember change is mandatory, growth is optional. Those few who aspire to reach the top and stay there understand that is up to them to keep the fire of passion and inspiration burning inside. And though there may be times in their career when the fire might seem small and fading, they find ways to rekindle and keep alive the love affair they have carried in their hearts for the restaurant industry.
And with that we’ll sign off.
There was SO many gold nuggets in this interview, you might want to listen to it a few times!