232: Chef Bruce Kalman | Be Humble & Make it About Your People


Bruce-Kalman-AboutBorn and raised in northern New Jersey, Bruce Kalman began his career at a local pizzeria in New Jersey, and later attended a small and hands­om culinary program at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, NJ.  Chef Kalman is a James Beard nominated Rising Star Chef and has appeared on television shows like Food Network’s Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Esquire Network’s Knife Fight,  and Bravo’s Best New Restaurant. Today, Kalman is a partner in two restaurants, Union in Pasadena and Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

Show notes…

Today’s Sponsor


Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

This is a people business. You can’t do it without incredible people and incredible teams.

Whats Your Purpose, or Your “WHY”?

Being a great mentor to his team.

Your “It” Factors

  • The ability to evolve, learn and grow personally.
  • Ability to create trust
  • Understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around the chef.
  • Knowing that we is great than me.
  • Ability to effectively communicate.

Career Challenge or Failure

When Chef Kalman opened his first restaurant he had not yet gathered the experience and knowledge to manage the business side of running a restaurant. In his words, he was “flying blind.” He was trying to tackle too much with not the right amount of support. The lesson learned: get the experience

Knowledge bombs

1. What advice do you have for funding a restaurant?

  • Find partners who are looking for talent. Search the industry for those looking for the skills you have.
  • Take the time to vet your investors. They have to be the right people for your culture and vision.

2. Success is so dependent on your people. Whats your advice on hiring, managing and retaining people.

  • Have high standards.
  • If someone expresses the interest in learning and getting better, be patient and work with them.
  • Do something that is exciting. Create something that people WANT to be a part of.
  • Provide opportunities for growth.
  • Focus on spreading culture.


3. Recommended book?

7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change 

CLICK  HERE to get a FREE audio version of this Book

4. Recommended tool or technology?

Chef Tec– Recipe & Menu Costing, Purchasing. Inventory Control, And Ordering.

5. With all the knowledge you have now, if you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of business advice, What would it be and why?

Be humble. Make it about your people and not about yourself.

6. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?

Q: What are your thoughts on having a quality life?

A: In order to be a great chef you don’t have to work a ton of hours. This industry is about taking care of other people, and you cant take care of other people if you’re not taking care of yourself.

Contact Info

Twitter: @ChefBKalman

Instagram: @ChefBKalman

Website: brucekalman.com

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 Chef Bruce Kalman for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!