How to Work Your Way Up From the Bottom

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Ralph Scamardella, this week’s guest on Masters in Business, began at the bottom of the restaurant industry, washing dishes. He persisted, working his way up to assistant chef to head chef. He cooked at legendary venues like the Plaza Hotel’s French restaurant and at Polo under superchef Daniel Boulud. But his focus was on the business side of what’s known in the industry as the back of the house.

He now is head chef and partner at Tao Group, one of the biggest fine-dining restaurant outfits in the country. According to industry trade publication Restaurant Business, Tao Group has seven restaurants ranked in the top 100 in terms of revenue, including No. 1 Tao Asian Bistro in Las Vegas ($42.5 million), plus two others in the top 10, including Tao Downtown in New York (No. 3 at $33.4 million) and Lavo New York (No. 7 with $26.8 million).

Every great chef has to not only be a very good cook, but also understand equipment, personnel management, budgeting and costs, logistics, hospitality and more. It’s much more complex than most people realize. More important than being a great cook is having an excellent eye for spotting talent.

The transcript of our conversation is posted here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on iTunesBloombergOvercast and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunesStitcherOvercast and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Rick Wilson, the conservative Republican campaign consultant and author of “Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President.”

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

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