My Life as a Cat Herder

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cat herder

Remember that meme from a couple of years ago? The one that said, “What I Think I Do” vs what everyone else thought you did? I am an entrepreneur – always have been and always will be. But when someone asks me what I do I say,  “I herd cats.”

It would be nice to travel at 30,000 feet and divine trends.  But when you are an entrepreneur like me, it’s easy to end up in the weeds, like a cat, dealing with day-to-day adventures. 

Because I am the owner of the business, I need to see the bigger picture no matter what’s happening. It’s my job to envision and facilitate what’s needed to take us to the “Next Level.” How can you get it done when there are so many people to manage?

Trust and develop your team

At Calvetti Culinary Creations, we set schedules and really try to stick to them. But you know how that goes sometimes. That’s when I go into cat-herding mode, just like those cowboys in that old commercial.  When things start to “tilt,” I start herding. I check in, ask questions, and do my best to get us back on track without squelching creativity and initiative. 

Get a reality check

It’s always a good idea to have a team member that will shoot straight with you. And I have one of the best.  Cathy Hayes in my office is that person. She’s our Vice President of Customer Success (how do ya like that title?). She’s been with us for longer than either of us would like to admit.  Cathy is the person I go to for a reality check when I am managing the chaos. She sees the glass as half-full, and I sometimes I am not so sure. So we’re always balancing each other out, and that’s incredibly helpful. 

Understand what they’re doing and why

In 1975, Bob Dylan got together with a bunch of musician friends and went on tour as The Rolling Thunder Revue.  Sometimes that’s what it feels like we’re doing as a team. We’re a bunch of talented people on a bus, traveling from town to town, putting on an intimate show for our customers. Like Bob – It’s my job to keep everyone together and make sure we do a great show each and every night.  I gotta herd those cats while at the same time keep the “Big Picture” in mind. 

We are always learning and I’m always herding because it works! 

Truth be told, I think I am a better leader than I was even 5 years ago when we started Calvetti Culinary Creations. I attribute that to working as a team member and team leader. I’m no longer the Lone Ranger or the smartest guy in the room. I make it a point to hire people who know more than me. When I’m in cat-herding mode, I think, “What can I learn from these cats?” As a leader, I should always be learning – and your team will always have something to show you. I know they have things to offer me, and I know that I have something to offer them, so it’s a matter of offering our differences in the right way – and in the end, everyone improves.

Have a tip for herding the cats in your business? Share it with me!

Calvetti Culinary Creations Spotlight: Carlos Chavez, VP of Operations and R&D

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Carlos Chavez, our Vice President of Operations and R&D, has been with us for nine years. He’s always on the lookout for innovative trends and appreciates the fact that the culinary industry is always changing: “Flavors, seasonings, cooking methods are in constant movement.  As the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus used to say, ‘Change is the only constant in life.'”

How the industry has changed

It’s this change that inspires him daily, and he appreciates that the rules aren’t as static as they used to be. “The culinary industry and the R&D of the past used to be guided by strict rules.  Now the industry is shedding those rules. The thought is, if it tastes good, who cares if you are mixing African spices with South American ingredients? At the end of the day, have you created something special?” When he’s coming up with ideas, he looks to his Peruvian roots and the chefs who have inspired him. “Gaston Acurio, Virgilio Martínez, and Mitsuharu Tsumura. They taught me that when it comes to food, you should always be creative, fearless, and a rule breaker.”

“We always say we’ll give it a try.”

When he’s at work, he especially appreciates the culture we’ve built here and is constantly amazed by our team work, tenacity, and creativity. “We never say it can’t be done; we always say we’ll give it a try.”

And outside of Calvetti, Carlos enjoys spending time with his family, first and foremost, though he geeks out on technology: “I love computers, programming, and design.” He also maintains an active lifestyle as well, playing racquetball and soccer, and going running or for long walks.

We’re proud to have Carlos on our team!

How to Make Things Happen in Your Business

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As a company leader, you’ve got a lot of tasks to take care of day-to-day when you’re running the place. At the same time, you’re thinking of the long-term, big picture moves that will benefit you and your entire team. So how do you decide how to make things happen in your business? When should you depend on your team, when can you make an executive decision on your own, and how do you know when to take risks?

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What’s The Best Beef?

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If someone asked you, “What’s the best beef?” the answer might depend on where you’re from. A large majority of Americans favor grain-fed, while Australians love grass-fed, and Japan is known for wagyu. When it comes to buying the best beef, what do you usually go for at the supermarket or if you buy online? A lot of us think back to our mom’s recipes and try to get the product that will produce that same taste. Some of us worry about the cut and grade. But even if you’re going for nostalgia or trying something new, there are so many options when it comes to red meat and a lot of it comes down to the diet of the cow. Red meat is one of the best sources of protein out there and is full of heme iron, zinc, and various B-vitamins. And in today’s market, there are so many choices out there depending on where you live and what you like. Is there a difference between organic and grass-fed? What about wagyu? What are the tastes like? Let’s talk about the differences and why you will see differences in taste.

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Our Food Manufacturing Vision for 2019 and Beyond

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food manufacturingRecently, we’ve started working on some exciting projects at JC Meats, Inc. and Calvetti Culinary Creations. We’ve partnered with local businesses and large corporations in roles from R&D to full-service food manufacturing. These opportunities challenge us in the best ways and make us more creative. Every day, we’re finding new ways to bring culinary innovation to the forefront – and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Read More

2019 Food Trends: Embracing Innovation

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2019 food trendsAt Calvetti Culinary Creations, we’re always innovating and trying new ideas, new dishes, and new flavors. As we round the corner into 2019, we’re excited for the 2019 food trends that will take the food and beverage industry by storm in the coming year. Some are comforting, some are just plain weird, but we’re ready to embrace the innovation and see what happens.

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Fulton Market: How Times Have Changed

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Before Fulton Market became the restaurant and corporate office mecca it is today, it was home to meatpackers and food distributors. Though many of the historic buildings in the district were built between 1880 and 1929, its roots go all the way back to 1850, when a municipal market hall was constructed in the middle of Randolph Street as a food market.

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