269: Creating Intangible Assets via Relationships and Hard Work W/ Chef Kevin O’Donnell



Kevin attended Johnson and Wales Culinary Institute and sharpened his culinary edge working at restaurants like Ristorante Zeppelin in Orvieto, Italy, Castle Hill Inn, in Rhode Island, and Del Posto, in New York City. His first role as Executive Chef was served at Restaurant L’Office in Paris, France. In 2012, Kevin arrived in Boston and took an opportunity with owners Michael Moxley and Jim Cochener at The Salty Pig as Executive Chef. Today he remains with the same partners and with the addition of Chef Michael Lombardi and serves as Co-Executive Chef/Partner at SRV restaurant.

Show notes…

Today’s Sponsor


Hospitality Tips From the World's Best (1)

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

-Michael Jordon


Career Challenge or Failure

Chef took the Chef De Cuisine role when he was too young and wasn’t ready. He didn’t have the right goals. He was too focused on climbing the ladder and earning money. He wasn’t thinking ahead, to what he wanted his future to look like. he wasn’t taking action towards what would make him happy and to what was important to him.

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • The desire and ability to inspire and teach.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Compassion.
  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    • Leading by example. Trust your instincts.
  4. What is one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview? 

    • Ask the interviewee why they left their previous job. What you’re looking for is their level of respect for the previous employer. Do they have integrity? Are the badmouthing people in the industry?
  5. What is a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • The transition from a chef to chef-owner. Not only being responsible for creating the dishes but inspiring creativity in others.
    • Be clear about what your brand is and what the food you’re doing is. You need to paint a picture for your team to aim for.
  6. Whats one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well that separates you from other restaurants?

    • Creating a great work environment for the staff.
  7. Whats one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  8. Whats one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

  9. 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?

    • Save money.
  10. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?

    • What does your future look like? What goals do you have?
      • Continuing to focus on SRV and making it better than ever.
      • To make SRV into a destination restaurant.

Contact Info



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Huge thanks to Chef Ken O’donnellfor joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!