The Happy Engineer Podcast

041: Why Passion Must Persist with #chefontour Charles Webb [Part 1]

Can you imagine having had 92 jobs, traveling to dozens of countries, experiencing yet another setback, and still showing up with passion to keep building your vision?

Would you consider passion a key ingredient of success leaders?

In this episode, meet world-renowned #chefontour Charles Webb. Chicago’s #1 Private Chef, he has been trained through his adventurous spirit.

Chef Charles’ career has taken him to Brazil, France, Denmark, Italy, Spain, New York City and beyond. He has rubbed elbows with grand consulates and bartered for spices in markets unknown to the world. He has seared fish in a fire built by hand in the Cayman Islands, roasted duck in Rio, and learned to speak six languages in between.

Chef Charles Webb holds a philosophy that every meal is a journey and should be shared, experienced and savored.

What does all this have to do with building an engineering career?

You’re about to find out.

So press play and let’s chat… it’s time to ignite your passion for LIFE!


The Happy Engineer Podcast




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Sometimes you meet somebody, and you feel the energy right away. 

Their vision is huge. Their energy and vitality is off the chart. They have that magnetic personality, the smile, the eye contact. And it draws you in, makes you want to be a part of whatever they’re doing, even if it’s completely outside the realm of anything in your life, up until that moment.

That’s what I remember from my first interaction with Chef Charles Webb. 

What an interesting nonlinear conversation to go along with the nonlinear thinking that is so important to creating the life that Chef Charles has demonstrated.

This episode is a bit different.  Part “old buddies catching up,” and part, “How can I bring the passion of food and travel and music and people into my engineering life?” 

I hope you got some fun ideas from the conversation. 

Normally in this blog I pull out some of the key learnings and key actions that you can take in your engineering career. But I’m actually skipping this week, because we have a second episode coming up where we both arrive at our destinations (just days after the first interview was recorded). So I’ll bring the entire debrief after part two! 

In the bonus part two, I found myself in copper mountain, Colorado, and Chef Charles in a beautiful corner of Brazil that you’re going to hear about. So don’t miss it, it’s a fun exclamation point on the conversation. 

We dig even further into the concept of lifestyle, how to live with passion, and how to persist in the face of incredible adversity. Setback, after setback, after setback until one day you’re standing right in the middle of the vision that you once held wondering, “Wow. What did I do to deserve this incredible life? And where am I going to go next?” 

Can’t wait to meet you there. Chat soon.

Previous Episode 040: Storytelling is Dead! Build Your Strategic Narrative with Guillaume Wiatr




One could say that Chicago’s #1 Private Chef, Chef Charles Webb, has been trained through his adventurous spirit. Chef Charles’ career has taken him to Brazil, France, Denmark, Italy, Spain, New York City and beyond. Through his culinary journeys, Chef Charles has rubbed elbows with grand consulates and bartered for spices in markets unknown to the world. He has seared fish in a fire built by hand in the Cayman Islands, roasted duck in Rio, and learned to speak six languages in between. All of Charles’s experiences have shaped his critically acclaimed style of cooking. Each meal Charles prepares is a journey through the places that he loves most- filled with complex and approachable spices that make for a one of a kind dining experience.

Chef Charles Webb holds a philosophy that every meal is a journey and should be shared, experienced and savored. Join in with his passion and leave with an experience you’ll never forget.

He is currently focused on filming his culinary travel web series across the globe, and servicing his private dining and special event clients.






Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Happy engineers! You’re in for an incredible treat today. I’m sitting with my good buddy, chef extraordinaire, Charles Webb. He’s got his title here. Chef Charles, who I met years ago at the National Restaurant Association. And we’re going to look at that in just a moment there in Chicago, Illinois.

[00:00:21] And this guy is absolutely full. Of life. And you’re going to see what I mean by that in just a little bit, but chef Charles, thanks for making time to be with me and, uh, the happy engineers out there today. It’s awesome to see you, man. 

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:34] Chef Charles: You don’t have to thank me. I’m thanking you, because look at this, we get a chance to wrap and catch up and here I am.

[00:00:42] at the Admiral’s club, the American airlines, admirals club, and Miami on my way to Rio de Janeiro Brazil. And, we get to do a little mixing up today. So 

[00:00:51] Zach White: yeah. Thank you for having a pleasure. And what I love is that you being in the Admiral center in Miami is just like another day in this. for chef Charles Webb.

[00:01:01] Uh, most people are like, oh, that seems really random, but this is probably hopping around. So, so let’s do this. I think it’d be really curious to hear your perspective about how we met, like your impressions of Zach white on day one. I’m really curious. Take us back to that moment and how we first connected.

[00:01:23] What was your memory?

[00:01:23] Oops. I lost you. You still there.

[00:01:23] Chef Charles: Yeah. But if you saw that one pose that you had before we lost each other, 

[00:01:23] Zach White: I mine mine’s fluid the whole time. I didn’t see it. So I hope you got a screenshot, otherwise that’s just for you brother. 

[00:01:23] Chef Charles: I did it. I did. 

[00:01:23] Zach White: I screenshot it. I love it. Um, I don’t know what you heard. What was the last thing you heard?

[00:01:23] And I’ll jump right back into, 

[00:01:23] Chef Charles: uh, we were about to jump into it, so I didn’t hear 

[00:01:23] 041 – Charles Webb Part 1 – The Happy Engineer Podcast: it. 

[00:01:23] Zach White: Perfect. Perfect. Chef. What I want to hear from you first is your memory, your perspective on how we met that first moment that we connected. What was your Zach white day one experience? 

[00:01:27] Chef Charles: Yeah. I mean, you know, were there pounding the pavement at the NRA show?

[00:01:31] The national restaurant association show about 75, 80,000 people in Chicago at the McCormick place. I mean, they’re, they’re packing them to the brim and there I am and I walk on the carpet over there into the KitchenAid Whirlpool area. I believe it was. And there you were there, you were with your, you know, your colleagues?

[00:01:49] Uh, I think one or some like Columbia and I, I can’t remember. And then like another one was from Michigan. We rolled up and you just had this gravitating energy pool personality, and you were there to serve, you were there to like, let’s connect some can I say F and dots. And, uh, and I, and I was there to have some dots connected.

[00:02:10] So I said, look at this. I mean, And, and, you know, gal that I was with at the time she, on my team, she was running, you know, marketing and some other pieces for us and you guys started to talk and then you and I started to talk and then, you know, the next thing you know, we’re like, Hey, we gotta make sure we go back to here and see that guy, Zach, that dude’s cool.

[00:02:30] Like we like them. And, and that, and that was it. And then, you know, we just, you know, the, the road of life took all of its terms. And here 

[00:02:35] Zach White: we are, you know, I love hearing that and I’m, I’m glad it was a positive impression that the idea of connecting dots. I’m glad that you said that because that’s exactly what I remember about that model.

[00:02:48] And, you know, for the engineering leader, listening, like where are they going with this sort of like, there’s going to be some really golden nuggets in this whole journey of, of how your story plays into our lives. But what I remember the most. Was that in the three minutes that we first started talking, it was obvious that you had a much bigger vision than anybody else I had met that day in terms of what’s possible and how you were putting these puzzle pieces together for something that.

[00:03:20] Not just big, but really like exciting and something you wanted to get behind. that’s just stood out to be like in the first three minutes. And so take us back a little bit to the, the Genesis of you casting that vision. Like where did it begin? Give us some of the Genesis story of what you’re doing with hashtag chef on tour and everything that’s been born from that dot, connecting.

[00:03:46] Chef Charles: Yeah. You know, I mean, it’s, it’s interesting because, uh, 61 months, and a few days ago, I started with an idea to create digital content, uh, around the world. That was extremely fun and engaging. And I was already living a very global life. I was, are pretty in a lot of different parts of the world. I found myself, in one echo during the formula one cooking for, I was actually cooking on the last job that came out of the same shipyard that the Titanic came out of, which was the yacht that they filmed life aquatic receives Izu on, which was not the yacht that these guys who hired me, who were supposed to get.

[00:04:19] Get this beautiful white floating palace and they got this yacht and it ended up that I brought my team in and we were, you know, we thought that we did all the pre provisioning purchasing of everything we needed, uh, for the race, you know, for the three, four days that we were on there. And, there we were running through, you know, uh, nice at 1130 in the morning on Sunday race day.

[00:04:37] Trying to, you get all the, all the products and everything we needed together. And at the end of it, it was just, I won’t even go down that story, but just the gist of it was is that, uh, we, we got everything we needed. can you imagine, like race day in one echo, which is. 30 40 minutes from niece, niece being one of the big hubs to go shopping in and nut and everything is either closed on Sundays or we’re lucky to.

[00:04:57] And so we get things and, you know, there we are. And so my friend said, look, you’re, you’re living a life of like a TV show. you gotta do something about it. And we fast forward, uh, you know, new year’s day and readmission. a real, uh, you know, 61 months ago. And I started to create an idea with this idea in mind of creating a digital, you know, a digital series.

[00:05:17] My idea was that the 60 minute or 30 minute, you know, show that would, but we were going to do Canada. This was before bong, bong, Appetit, and all of that. And my idea was to be able to take it into the cannabis world and do it into parts of the world where it was legal. So we’re, we’re talking about Christiania and Copenhagen, we’re talking about, of course, Amsterdam, we’re talking about, you know, you know, Montevideo and would have Y you know, places that were maybe a little bit ahead of the curve, you know, six, seven years ago, or whatever, whatever that was 6, 6, 5, 6 years ago.

[00:05:45] And, uh, you know, of course they getting along the way and, and I, and I created something called ringmaster, and that’s where the digital series started and we got a little deep into it. And we said that that was not where we want to go. There were a lot of things that were shifting. I didn’t think it was the right time for it.

[00:05:57] And so. You know, I created something called hashtag chef on tour, uh, shortly thereafter. And that was it. You know, we, we were out on, we were out, you know, globe trotting, we too, we did the first one in Panama. Uh, and the reason being was I didn’t want to do it in Chicago, my hometown, where I have all the resources and everything.

[00:06:13] So I said, look, this is going to be interesting. Let, let me tie both of my arms. One of my legs behind my back, let’s go to. And let me take my team that doesn’t speak Spanish. Of course I speak

[00:06:28] So I’ve lived in nine countries in the world. I speak four languages fluently, fortunately. And, uh, but, but the interesting thing about it was. We, we went there and boom, you know, I wanted to see if it was going to work. So any great idea, you need to push it to the depths to see if it’s going to work. And that’s what we did.

[00:06:43] We pushed the idea to the depths we went to, we went to Panama. We walked out of there, I guess like 12 days later I had, I said to my team that did not. That really worked. And I said, we are in for a much bigger journey and 61 months later, a lot of, a lot of slipping and sliding on the slopes. We went to Bogota, we went to Rio.

[00:07:04] We started to work with brands as we were, we were, this is what we were talking KitchenAid. And you know, that’s a, that’s a long-winded intro guys. Are you still 

[00:07:12] Zach White: with it’s awesome. So, so here’s, what’s so cool. And, and I want to tease out what about that narrative? To me is exactly the heartbeat of lifestyle engineering and the work that we do at a Waco with our engineering leader, clients is the fact that you took a part of you’re already born inside you desire and passion and lifestyle that was there and just said, Hey, there’s something here that’s worthy of pursuing with my life’s energy.

[00:07:42] And you created a vision that ultimately that. Iteration looked nothing like what it looks like today and this process of way finding just a willingness to get out of your comfort zone again. And again, and again, that’s, what’s so inspiring about the story to me is like you have that, that absolute willingness to say, I don’t know how this next step is going to turn out, but let’s push it to the edge and find out.

[00:08:10] And so where did that part of Yukon? Chef has that always been there? Have you always been that way? 

[00:08:15] Chef Charles: I mean, if I had, if I had both hands free, I would be dead that at the, then throw the balls up in the air and they’re like, you know, the client up the circus. I mean, I think a lot of that is just improvising it’s it’s, it’s figuring out where.

[00:08:25] Making making lemonade, I guess that’s the best one. Right? Making lemonade out of lemons, figuring out being resourceful, you know, not having a lot of resources and yet making really cool things happen, taking them to that next level, taking it to the next level. And then actually when this all came about, We realistically, it started to mold into my purpose.

[00:08:45] So this is very interesting because sometimes we do jobs or we go through the motions of doing things and that might not be your purpose in life. Maybe it’s a vehicle to get you to your purpose, or it helps you along the way. And, you know, for me, I know that, you know, food and beverage, I’ve had 92 jobs in my life, you know, 70, some odd percent of them have been in food and beverage FNB.

[00:09:07] And, uh, you know, I mean, a lot of that has kind of like brought me into that. it’s not like you could put your finger on it. I think it’s it’s, I mean, life it’s life, right? It’s trial and error. It’s not, it’s not getting, you know, a hundred percent every time, but learning from all of those.

[00:09:19] Um, mistakes and those challenges and, and just getting back up, you know what I mean? Like getting back up and society’s very cruel sometimes to, um, to great us, to, you know, um, to judge us, let’s say, you know, and, and so we need to have, we need to build, we need to build, we need to build more resiliency and, and understand it’s okay to.

[00:09:34] Make these errors to a certain, to a statement center, certain point, I still make certain errors in my life. I mean, this 

[00:09:41] Zach White: is, this is important to highlight, especially for the engineering mind. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. And like you and I came from different, different worlds. And here’s what engineers want.

[00:09:51] People who are just listening to the podcast. Can’t see it, but it’s a straight line. it’s a nice, straight, easy thing. Like I’m just going to just plow my life ahead to the goal. Everything is smooth sailing honestly, Chef. If I showed somebody one a year, promotional videos of hashtag chef on tour right now.

[00:10:08] And that’s all they knew about you. They probably think this guy has it together. He’s always been on a great track. He’s a great personality. He’s famous. He’s this he’s that. But 92 jobs chef. I mean, that’s a lot, man. So, so the trial and error, the willingness to get up and fall and get up and fall. It has not been a straight line for you.

[00:10:31] Chef Charles: Yeah. And that’s it. That’s it. Let me just jump in there really quick. So I think that’s extremely important, you know, I think that you’re, you’re talking about a straight line from an analytical standpoint to think about how you get from point a to point B and then you flip that around and you think about how we live our lives and how we want to think linear.

[00:10:48] But the secret is thinking on the box and thinking non-linear isn’t it.

[00:10:53] Zach White: Yes. I love this. Help help me understand how you practice nonlinear thinking in your world. What does that actually look like for. 

[00:11:08] Chef Charles: Oh, goodness. Uh, it’s not, it’s not something that I’m conscious about, but first off, you know, think it’s just, I, I don’t, I don’t live in a corporate world. I’ve never lived in a corporate world.

[00:11:16] I took a couple of corporate jobs. Um, I had a hard time conforming, uh, being bolded, so certain, certain ways, uh, you know, I w I was kind of a cowboy. Rebel, you know, in others. And I think that that’s, uh, all has a lot to do with how I grew up. Listen, I mean, even, I didn’t even think I was going to go to university.

[00:11:31] I went to, I went to the city college, I mean a community college. And then I went to another community college and then I went to a city college and then I went to a university and then I got the degree there. And then I went to business school in Rome and I got, you know what I mean? So it was nothing.

[00:11:44] No nothing. No, no. There was none of that was like, Hey, go to school for four years, get your degree and go and, you know, get your, get your resume all polished up or your CV. And then, you know, that wasn’t, that, wasn’t how I, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t live that way, you know? How I look at things. And the more that I had that, um, non-linear way of thinking, the more how I saw it, good work.

[00:12:01] It could really work for me and it could not work for me. And I did come from, you know, you think about a chef, a chef is a creative, so that’s the right side of your brain. Right. But on the left side of your brain, what you find is the analytical, the, you know, that the whole analytical side. So I was able to kind of develop both of those spheres and different ways to kind of help me with.

[00:12:19] Zach White: want to say to everybody listening, we’re not no way saying like, Hey, you got to quit your job and be a nomad and run around and do everything. If you went to college for four years straight to be an engineer, you made a mistake like that. That’s not the message here. But what I think is really important to highlight is that when we look around our companies and you know, I coach hundreds of folks in that.

[00:12:40] A really unique perspective into engineering organizations all around the world. And the thing that stands out is everybody kind of looks around and there’s always that guy or that girl who’s breaking some of the rules. Who’s not following the straight line. Who’s doing it different than everyone else and getting.

[00:12:57] You know, disproportionate results. And, and a lot of times people look at them like kind of get frustrated, like, wait a minute, how did they do that? How did that happen? And so what chef Charles is describing what you say it it’s. I think it’s a really important thing for us all to lean into to say, where is the system that the man, maybe if we’re using the cliche phrase, like laid out that analytical linear path, but that’s not actually the only way.

[00:13:22] To move forward this way, finding willingness to press in and do different things. It’s valuable anywhere it’s valuable anywhere. Uh, I mean, if you were sitting across from somebody who really felt constrained in that box shift, Charles, and you were going to give them advice, like how would you. How would you frame it?

[00:13:40] How would you help somebody or challenge them to say like, Hey, let’s get outside the norm, get outside the box. What would that 

[00:13:47] Chef Charles: pep talk look like? I think it’s kinda like, it’s kinda like cooking, you know? Um, so I’d say maybe you should start cooking for yourself. Well, that could be a little overwhelmed.

[00:13:55] Right. ’cause like, where do I start? What’s my starting point and God cooking. What, and, you know, maybe I’m maybe I’m from India and I cook a certain time. Maybe I’m from Northern India, Northern India is different than something Southern India. That’s different than Western, you know? And like, so, or maybe I’m from, you know, different part of the world and like, okay.

[00:14:07] Or maybe I’m, uh, I am in a box of like, I’m a vegetarian or vegan, or I am a carnivore, right. Everything or whatever. And it could all be very overwhelming. So, you know, you just got to kind of figure. How, where it is. Did you start to branch out from that? And you know, what’s the best thing to start the brown shot from?

[00:14:25] Do you think the closest things to you, right. Find the, find the low-hanging fruits, where, where the interests are, where are you excited? You know, I mean, obviously it’s speaking to languages, even like speaking Portuguese, Portuguese was the last language that I learned, you know, and it’s a, it’s a complicated language out of the lot languages.

[00:14:40] And at the time, my ex-wife, you know, she spoke four or five languages. She’s Brazilian. She was educated with Portuguese as their first language. And, but you know, what, what was I, what was I reading? I was reading things that interested me and I was thinking about sentence structure. And I was thinking about Billy vocabulary.

[00:14:57] And I was also thinking about how not to go and use other languages as a crime. For that, you know, cause it’s very easy to do. Um, so, you know, so, so basically figuring out what do you love, but you’re not really doing or what do you like? And, and you can kind of like, you’d like to play around with it and like, You don’t have to be the best at, you know, just kinda like start to go from there.

[00:15:20]  You know, use it as a, as a, you know, you might start with a and ended up in jail, you know, that’s just how it is. I mean, but you need a, you need a good starting point, you know, you need it, you need it. You know, the journey of a million Marles miles starts with one step. Right? 

[00:15:30] Zach White: I love this. You may agree with this statement, what I’ve found with the majority of engineers, and I’m going to paint with the broad brush.

[00:15:37] So of course I’m going to likely upset somebody here, but if there was a level of emotional experience, emotional experience, the intensity of emotional experience that engineers experience, most of us operate in this really narrow band around neutral, you know, life never really gets that exciting. And we do our best to keep it from getting too negative.

[00:15:56] And we just operate in this really narrow band. And then. Complain about the fact that they’re not experiencing passion, they’re not experiencing love. They’re, you know, they’re burned out or they’re just bored or frustrated about their career. They don’t really have any enthusiasm. And so this idea of finding something you love and just start, find a starting point.

[00:16:18] Can you tell us your starting point with food? I mean, you’re a passionate guy period, but, but tell us about how that particular area got started. 

[00:16:27] Chef Charles: I think it’s interesting because food started with me, uh, as a single parent mom, uh, having to go out and fight for her son, me and her, and teaching me how to cook at home, uh, with nine, uh, processed foods and stuff like that.

[00:16:42] That’s kind of how my, mom’s mindset was, but that’s not really where it started. You know, I worked in the kitchen, uh, also later. Not at eight, but I mean later on, later down the road and I, and I worked in places and it didn’t take me long to realize that my girlfriend at the time, who was a waitress, was making a lot of money and, and I wasn’t, and I was burnt and I was sweaty and she wasn’t.

[00:17:00] And I said, I think I could do what she’s doing. And. And so I went in front of the house. So, you know, the trajectory wasn’t necessarily a, it led me to somewhere else. So then it led me back eventually when I figured out how to monetize on it and, uh, or just, you know, I could live on it beyond just living on it, uh, and, you know, finding the passion behind it and.

[00:17:21] Obviously what I learned in between all of that, where a lot of people think the passion and what’s driving it is the food. And it’s really that inmate feeling inside of me to almost serve, to see you, your eyes light up to see your energy, go get to another level when you’ve had something that is really special for you.

[00:17:43] And that’s not just something that you put in your mouth, but that’s the experience that energy that. That’s vibrated along the way through, you know, just different experiences, you know, I mean our tagline for so long and it wouldn’t, you know, it’s not just food, it’s an experience. And no one got that until people started to say, Hey, it’s something where we’re going to create the experiences.

[00:18:00] Cause that’s what people want. And it’s like, yeah, of course. I mean, Say that for five, six years, that’s what we’ve been doing. And then people are starting to dial into that. Does all of that make sense? I hope I didn’t get off. 

[00:18:11] Zach White: I love this. And actually what you just said is super important and, and counterintuitive in a way that may not counter into it.

[00:18:17] I’m not sure what the right word is, but I want to get more into this. The passion for you is not primarily, or maybe foundationally rooted in food itself. Like that’s a vehicle for you to express. This part that’s creative and innovative. And, but the part of you that loves to serve in that way, think that’s super important distinction and engineers, you know, we’ve got your automotive types, they love cars, you know, but, but there’s something about, it’s not just the car and it’s not the suspension system they’re designing, et cetera.

[00:18:53] The thing that stirs up the passion is that feeling. When the Mustang drives down the street and they look at that and say, I had a part to play in allowing that person to experience the thrill of creating a Mustang of driving a Mustang, because I kept sharing. 

[00:19:10] Chef Charles: And you might see that person’s eyes and be like, oh my God, look at that.

[00:19:14] But then you could just feel like, oh my wow, there, they’re kind of all there. They’re geeky about it. They’re excited about There. You know, they’re related to beyond, uh, any it’s just 

[00:19:23] Zach White: totally, you know what I’m saying? And so what happens then is we get into. We show up at work every day we crank out on these projects, we put in the hours deal with all the stress of the projects.

[00:19:34] And at some point you wake up and you’re doing the same thing that you were doing before feeling passion, and you don’t feel it anymore. And so have you had that with food? it’s I just got to cook. I’m just grinding it out. Um, um, and then did you wake up to that or make a change? Like what’s your experience been with passion kind of dying.

[00:19:50] Chef Charles: Yeah, guys, I’m going to tell you. Everybody feels that no matter what. And the question is, how are you, what are you doing for yourself to make sure that you don’t overheat? When people tell me that they haven’t taken a vacation in six years, I look at I’m like, you’re F#*!%ng insane. You’re a mad man.

[00:20:09] You’re crazy. And it’s like, why? Because you’re not recharging your bed. Oh, I worked 18 hours to. You know, I, I remember I was cleaning offices. Yeah. I was cleaning offices, uh, in Denmark, uh, once and we were going into this one, it was a tech company actually. And they were super, super efficient and effective with, uh, like the 37 hours a week that they did.

[00:20:33] And like Fridays was half day. A pizza, drank beer and, you know, hung out and they talk, they just got a big hangout, they were super, super, they, they were just, they, they nailed and exceeded at everything they needed to do. And I, and I think it’s about recharging those batteries and understanding what that means to keep yourself fresh.

[00:20:50] I think that, you know, I, I even have a hard time trying to get my mom to understand that sometimes, oh, you’re going there. You’re going, you’re on a plane, Charles. You know what, but I, we all need to recharge our batteries. We need to come out there. You talk about energy being up and all of that. Sure. But I mean, I’m not running around.

[00:21:07] I mean, no one could run around 24, 7 like that. So we all got to figure out what it is that. That makes us tick, uh, under be, be realistic with yourself. Be realistic with your mind, your body, with your soul, with your outlaw, your soul, be realistic with these things. Come on guys. I mean, you know, these, these are important things to think about when you think better, you feel.

[00:21:30] You know, and you are way more PR I mean, I mean, in the mornings, like when I wake up and it’s 4 35, 5 30 in the morning, and I’m just like, you know, like I am super productive. So, you know, think about when you Excel to those, are, those are some other 

[00:21:41] Zach White: things. The statement to be realistic with yourself. I think that is an area that every engineering leader.

[00:21:51] Needs to sit on for a moment and just ask that 

[00:21:55] Chef Charles: question. That’s right. That’s that’s, you know, that becomes a top-down management. Um, it needs at least issue because, you know, you need to hear that from the top and it’s kind of weird, you know, because they’re, they’re pushing you and they’re driving you and they’re making you leaner and better.

[00:22:10] And all of those things. Sure. I mean, I, I get it, but there’s that whole other part you’re not. But soon we’ll have robots to do it and you won’t have a job. And then you’ll be kind of, so let’s dial into the human let’s dial into the human part of it. Right. So how do we, how do we make humans, uh, hyper effective?

[00:22:26] And you know, it’s about understanding productivity. It’s about understanding and every human is different and being okay with. 

[00:22:33] Zach White: The thing, the, the dance that I think we all face when we’re in a level of leadership and okay, of course everyone is a leader in your own, right? Whether on the org chart, it says you’re, you are one or not.

[00:22:43] But specifically I’m talking about people who have a role in the organization, you know, senior manager, director, VP, there’s a dance between your responsibility to the organization to push people to their maximum. And that is important. We want to challenge. Can we be more productive? How can we be more productive?

[00:23:03] Where’s the waste? How do we cut that out, et cetera. But what I’ve found is that human. Gets lost in that process because it’s easy, easier for the engineering mind to focus on the concept, the idea the, the, the scoreboard, if you will of, are we getting those results and forgetting. Humans with real life, real problems, real challenges are the ones who face the brunt of that pressure.

[00:23:31] And then every single individual starts putting that unrealistic expectation on themselves. Hey, the boss wants more. that must mean, you know, therefore I’m. The capable of producing more? Well, that’s not always true. And sometimes we just take all of that on ourselves. And then I ended up meeting these engineers who are buried under an expectation and a pressure and a burnout that the leader never really intended for you to get into this place.

[00:24:00] They just wanted to. The pinnacle of what’s possible, but your interpretation of it is, well, I must need to be Superman. You know, I’m supposed to work 80 hours a week. Oh. And raise three kids. Oh. And take care of my health. Oh. And sleep eight hours a night. Oh. And cook fresh meals like chef Charles does.

[00:24:16] And, and, and, and it’s like, be realistic. 

[00:24:21] Chef Charles: Yeah. It’s probably toilets, but you know, I mean, even athletes have a, have a lifespan. Even, even athletes have a certain amount of time, it’s a curve, you know? So what’s your, what’s your curve? Think about you as a person, as an athlete that, you know, as that product, you know, like what’s, what’s your curve and where are you at with.

[00:24:40] And are you, are you, are you win a job? Are you in a situation that’s taking care of you monetarily, but, uh, maybe not with all of the other things that you want to be taken care of with, and you know, you have to prioritize what that means, you know, uh, because what good is having a whole bunch of money.

[00:24:57] If you don’t have all a bunch of health.

[00:24:59] Zach White: Cliche statement, but it’s so, so true. And just to get conscious to it. Right now it’s, I mean, it’s valuable. Even for me, I’ve said, build this business and as a coach and really living and practicing what I preach, uh, I’m encouraged by that chef. I want to hear your perspective on this idea of courage  I.

[00:25:23] Uh, it’s a tangential to where we just were and I’ll try to connect the dots, how I got here. So, you know, to, to lean in to, is this realistic for me, if you realize that, Hey, I’m shortening my curve or the answer is no, and I want to make a change to face those. Environments or people or make the decisions to get into a better or different situation.

[00:25:45] I have found means facing challenges, facing fears, getting uncomfortable, having tough conversations, and you gotta be courageous. And you’re a guy who’s done this on the regular, your whole life. So talk to me about your, your relationship to courage, maybe. Like where does it show up? How do you think about that?

[00:26:05] Chef Charles: Oh, that’s a, that’s a multi-dimensional question slash answer. Um, but to keep it, to keep it. Right. Or maybe let’s yeah, I’m sorry. I meant to keep it in the macro, the generalization, right. Let’s think about we’re going with that. I think that even every processes that you do, there is a beginning, a middle and an end, right?

[00:26:24] There is a, there’s a, everything is streamlined, you know where it’s going and then you know what you need to do from there. Right. There’s only so much you can do. You’re talking about cutting costs. You’re talking about cutting back and peeling away. And, uh, it’s probably just looking at it and understanding where things, where the hiccups are going to be, where the obstacles are going to be and how are you going to be able to navigate through that and being strong and being strong with that, you know, being okay with it and.

[00:26:50] You know, you gotta be first and foremost, you’ve gotta be realistic. You gotta be to yourself before you could go out and be realistic to anybody else. That means your significant other. That means your boss. I means your colleagues, you know, in any responsibility that you have, 

[00:27:03] Zach White: when you say being strong, like how does.

[00:27:07] How does that look? W tell us a moment, like when was the last moment that you had to show up and be strong? How does that actually look in your life? 

[00:27:14] Chef Charles: I don’t know. Cause I feel like it’s like it’s happening every day. Yeah. 

[00:27:18] Zach White: So like, how are you strong today? 

[00:27:21] Chef Charles: Well, I’ll give you a great one that kind of parlays with where I’m at being strong.

[00:27:25] I walked in, I walked into December thinking that I was going to have a blockbuster month because historically I have, I did not. I got COVID. Uh, I was weakened emotionally, physically, spiritually got back up, you know, I’d just taken them. I had it. I was good. I walked into January. And there I was in a grocery store and I started to cry and I didn’t, and I’m in, I’m in, I’m in Chicago.

[00:27:44] It’s cold, it’s dark. I don’t normally spend January, February, March in Chicago. Anyway, those days are kind of over. And, but I started and I realized that I was, uh, I was starting to get depressed. And it’s, it’s very hard to, I don’t think I’ve really shared that with very many people, but, you know, that was a moment that I had to be strong, but what I did understand no matter who said what or who thought wander what was going on, I knew I needed to hit the eject button.

[00:28:07] So I injected myself from that situation. There was no, this, that, and the other, there was no taking drugs with it. There was no, uh, you know, moving in one direction. I said, where is my happy place? What makes me, what makes me thrive? I went to Brazil and my S my S my smile was sideways. My posture was off.

[00:28:22] My energy was off. I was bad. The lady who gave me, gives me like Reiki gives me energy massage. She stopped in the middle of the massage. And she’s like, I’m sorry, I’ll be right back. She told me in Portuguese, she comes back into the room. She said, I don’t know what’s happening. You know, your energy’s off and I’m like, she’s like, she, she didn’t say your energy’s off.

[00:28:46] She’s like, there’s a, there’s an energy on you. That’s not right. And I’m like, my energy is off and she’s like, no, your energy is good, but there’s an energy on you. That’s not right. So whatever for whatever that was or whatever that bends, I spent the next two weeks. Working on that. So I needed to have the courage to work through something that you know, was going to hopefully lead me out of this really kind of weird dark space and into a very happy positive space, which is where I’m at right now.

[00:29:15] Zach White: I really appreciate you being willing to share that story and just be, be vulnerable with us about what’s going on. And I know that a lot more people than are talking about it are feeling that way. Dealing with depression, dealing with a dark time, you know, the loss of loved ones, the loss of a job, the loss of your own identity, all these things.

[00:29:35] Well, you know, some people may listen to this and say, gosh, you know, I, Zach, I can’t just hit the eject button. You know, chef Charles, I don’t have the luxury of just flying into Brazil and getting, you know, Reiki massages from, from an amazing lady down there to work on my energy. It’s like this doesn’t, this doesn’t apply to me.

[00:29:49] And I just want to challenge that perspective and say like, hold on, you have the ability to ask the same question that. Chef asked, like where is my happiest place and how can I take it right. To move towards it. You don’t have to solve the whole problem overnight, but take the first best simplest action you can take in the direction of things that you know are aligned with your purpose, your values, and what makes you happy and just start getting into action rather than sitting in philosophy.

[00:30:27] Now, Now, this is. The engineering mind. I’ll talk about myself. I won’t point at anybody else, chef. I love to theorize about how I could get better rather than actually do the thing that makes me better. And that’s what I love about that story for you is it just said, Hey, I’m going to take action. Now you took really bold action, but anybody can do something.

[00:30:53] Chef Charles: Yeah. I mean, you know, my eject button was. You know, your object button may be, you know, up the street at the park. You might walk up to the street to the park and just feel like, man, when was the last time I meditated, when was the last time I just laid here and looked up and, you know, just let my mind kind of roam in the right way.

[00:31:11] There are a lot of different things that we could talk about with that. Um, and everybody’s happy place where everybody’s, um, sacred place is completely. And so just know everybody that you’re certainly number one, you’re not. And, and no matter if you could bake, you can sense it or you can’t chances are you, can’t probably within you.

[00:31:32] I wouldn’t, I didn’t see it coming. I did not see it coming. I’m not a depressive person and I always make little moves to make sure that things don’t get a little wacky boy that was wacky. And it was scary. It was very scary. Yeah. But yeah, man, you know, you gotta, you gotta make, you gotta make a move quick or that stuff, that stuff can move on.

[00:31:50] You found. 

[00:31:52] Zach White: That’s super true. And so I’ll just encourage everybody. Of course, you know, chef and I are not here to be your medical professionals today, but if you are experiencing these kinds of emotions, if you’re feeling depressed, if you’re feeling disconnected from life, you know, take action quickly for sure.

[00:32:04] And 

[00:32:05] Chef Charles: I want to say something. Yeah, don’t look at it. Don’t look at it as a good thing. Bad thing. That’s not how you look at it. You know, look at it as something like, that’s not who you are and you need to make some tweaks in your life to get back to that. And you know, and I, I have a few stories, you know, one or two that, I mean, I can talk to you about that and sometimes maybe you need to pull back and it’s okay.

[00:32:25] And it sucks. Maybe it’s going to affect your bottom line. Maybe you’re not going to pay your student loans off as fast as you wanted to or whatever. But I remember what we were talking about. You can’t go out and achieve what you want to achieve. If you’re not strong, if you don’t feel good, if you’re not a big aerated, if you’re not like, oh yeah, I’m excited about today.

[00:32:46] Not like, oh my God, I have everything to do with, come on. Let’s let’s get, let’s get, let’s get it. Let’s turn it around. 

[00:32:50] Zach White: Why do you think it’s so common that we, we make ourselves wrong for the way we. that comment hates, like it’s not about this is right or wrong. It’s if you’re depressed, you’re depressed.

[00:33:04] Now let’s take action and let’s get out of that place. That’s not who you are, but the judgment, the shame of that, that we put on ourselves, like I am wrong because I feel this way. Why do you think that’s such a common 

[00:33:16] Chef Charles: thing? I don’t know. There. Yeah, there, there were a lot of, there’s a lot of things that are on you, you know, a lot of pressures that are on you that you didn’t even know.

[00:33:22] That are on, that are on you, but you’ve allowed them to be there, you know? And that’s, there’s a difference with that. And, uh, you know, I mean, for me, I wholeheartedly believed that, you know, we all need to take a, you know, we all need to check ourselves whether it’s once a month or once every six weeks or whatever, check yourself, look at.

[00:33:36] You know, are you aligned? Are you, are you growing? Like, I want to be like this, or you moving like this. Okay. So you need to get yourself back aligned, you know, so you need the, you need to have a, what are they called? They’re not parameters. They’re like, uh, like safety nets to be able to catch yourself and to make sure that you’re growing and then doing the things that the way that you need to be, you need to look in order to stay alive.

[00:33:52] These days it’s work in order to be in a related. It’s work in order to be in a work relationship, it’s work, everything that you do. It’s not like you get married and, and, and it’s, and then that’s it. And then you don’t have to work at it. It is work. And this is what people sometimes forget is that yeah, I got a great job.

[00:34:07] It’s work. I’m in a great relationship. It’s work. Don’t forget to do all of those great things. It’s not about doing it the first two months. So the next 12 years you could live in the wrong, in the wrong way. It’s about figuring out how to have. Curb gold, the longevity and being able, not just to give, but to receive it back.

[00:34:25] Zach White: I love that. And, and so I’ll build on that. Not on. Is each of these areas work, but each one is also an opportunity for love, joy, passion, service, all these things, you know, th the, marriage relationship it’s work. It’s also a source of incredible joy, love, fulfillment, intimacy. job it’s work, but it can also be, and what I encourage all my clients to connect.

[00:34:52] A source of love, joy, passion, fulfillment, service, et cetera. Like the idea of work-life balance. What I hate about that phrase is how it implies this mental model that somehow on one side of our life is work and on the other side is distinct called life. And what you just said is perfect. It’s like, it’s all work, but it’s all life, you know.

[00:35:15] Chef Charles: Okay. And why did, why did and Jack, when did, when did work in a negative connotation. Hey, you know, like, right. Like work is not a bad, that’s not a bad thing. Like, you know, Kool Moe, Dee, I go to work, I go to work, you know? Right. It’s like, that could be a good thing. It could be a positive day. We’re all working at things.

[00:35:33] We’re all like engaged with things. So it’s not, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you know, Careful now because we’re starting to, we’re starting to get away from cooking and I don’t want people to lose track of cooking. Right. Well said, 

[00:35:45] Zach White: man. All right. So, so that’s true. We can’t have, you know, chef extraordinary Charles Webb on the show and not, and not dig into a little bit of the, the love and passion around food.

[00:35:55] So why don’t you tell us, what are you. What are you cooking these days? Where’s your focus and your passion with food? I know you’ve, you’ve done it all, but what what’s really occupying your mind share when it comes to food these days. 

[00:36:07] Chef Charles: Well, the cool thing is I haven’t done it all. That’s the cool thing.

[00:36:11] Uh, hashtag Chevron on tour is a digital series that encompasses food, travel and lifestyle. Uh we’re right now we’re working on, uh, building out our next cities magazine, uh, kind of the head. Well rota in Colombia, Mexico city in Wahaca and Mexico. We’re looking at Bangkok, we’re looking at Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

[00:36:31] That’s the next, that’s the next horizon? 

[00:36:34] Zach White: Why don’t you give us like two minutes on, like what happens in each city? Just so the listeners know w you know, what exactly we’re talking about and how. 

[00:36:41] Chef Charles: Yeah. I mean, you know, just as much as you’re talking to very, I guess, impactful or exciting or engaging, uh, people, you know, we’re doing the same thing, but we’re finding our star.

[00:36:50] Our storytellers are the people who are telling the stories that are in that city. So they’re either from that city or they’re living in that city. So we just filmed in Barstow. And as an example, Susu is a political activist from Miramar. Remember Burma. They were a year ago almost today. Uh, they were taken over with a political coup he’s now living there.

[00:37:12] So he was our social, uh, the PR person we had under social work. We had a, um, you know, just a variety of, you know, from sustainability to LGBTQ, uh, to entrepreneurship, to music and fashion and wellness and fitness and design. And I love street art cannabis, and what that what’s happening with that? How it’s.

[00:37:30] Did digging deeper into the, into the medical and helping a lot of folks out there. But what does that look like? You know, I think that when we all travel, you know, instead of picking up some of these really cool travel, uh, books or looking at their blogs and stuff like that, w what I think what’s happening is people really want to see what the heart and soul is of.

[00:37:48] Right. And really to be able to get beyond the front street to get to the back street. Cause that’s where the sexiness happens and really understand what is the pulse. And by going into these lives, talking to these, or, you know, meeting, you know, meeting these lifestyle. Well, let’s call them storytellers.

[00:38:05] You really kind of figuring out what the pulse is of the city, which we love. Of course, there’s me. Jaunting through the markets, all the open air markets and talking about all the cool stuff. There’s some other content we’re creating where like me cooking with a celebrity and then cooking with a granny, you know, cause we know the grantees are the heart and soul of what’s going on.

[00:38:23] Right? Uh there’s I mean, there’s just a lot. We do, we create two experiences. Uh, in generally like UNESCO world heritage sites that we bring, you know, 40 guests, you know, 40 vetted guests that could be influencers, nano micro, macro, that can be leaders, activists, uh, our storytellers, people that we think have the right energy, then we’d like to really give back some, an experience around music.

[00:38:46] Food beverage and a very intimate setting. So it could be that the LT that, and the pyramids outside of Mexico city, the sun pyramid, it could be there. It could be in Barcelona. We did it at FC. Barsa arguably the largest football club in the world. 250 million. And boy that stadium is absolutely stunning.

[00:39:05] It might be an esteem an esteem speakeasy like a spike Granada, what we did. And if you can find that place, you’re lucky and it’s sexy, you know, and we want to, we want to just create this, you know, right now we’re talking about, um, We’re actually guys, I mean, some things, certain things I can talk about, other things I can, but you know what Hawk obviously known for its scowl and what we’ll do there, putting the keyhole or how pretty the calls museum in Mexico city potentially there or Sochi meaningful.

[00:39:27] Uh, so I mean, there’s just, so it goes on and on. I mean, I can’t, I can’t let all the, 

[00:39:30] Zach White: I mean, so much fun and for those who are like overwhelmed, even just hearing all these places and spaces, I hope that. For everybody it’s inspiring to just re recognize and be present for a moment to the fact that the world is full of these incredible places to see experience and visit and the food, the music, the culture, the beverage, and the variety of.

[00:39:54] That spice of life as it’s claimed. I mean, that’s just what chef Charles is doing is bringing that together in a really unique way and all these places. And then, you know, the letting content creators, including chef do their thing and share that with the world in a big way. Yeah. Um, you know, food is just one slice of that, but for me, it’s just, I hear you talk and I’m sitting here like, wait, wait, wait, I want to write that place down.

[00:40:18] Wait, do I want to write that place down? I want to go. And 

[00:40:20] Chef Charles: yeah, there’s, there’s so much of that. There’s so much of that too. And there are so many hidden gems in the city. I mean, I think it’s also like, you know, we’re not necessarily running to the monuments and stuff, but we’re encapsulating the essence of a city by capturing the backdrop or maybe just the appeal or the vibe of it.

[00:40:39] Um, you know, our storyteller interviews and things of that nature. So, you know, it’s about, you know, it’s not a one Dement hair. Here we go. The multi-dimensional it’s not a one dimensional food show or one dimensional travel show, or it’s not just dial in, you know, the great thing about it is distribution is on YouTube hashtags show up on tour and you know, and of course, Charles Webb on Instagram, you can always find me.

[00:40:57] There’s always ways to find me and see what we’re doing. Imagine people like Anthony Bordain doing what he was doing and he did it so well, we’re not trying to, we’re not using. Footprint that it’s like, you know, you can’t, you can’t jump in the Jordan’s footprint, you know? So you can’t jump into Anthony Bordain, what he did and how he did it was amazing.

[00:41:12] But as things evolve, as they expand, as we move into a world where we can be very well streaming and maybe in the Philippines while you’re on your way to work, and you’re watching my content live, you know where you were, maybe how about you’re doing like VR, you know, like where the VR movement. Like, how am I taking you there when you can’t go there, but yet you want to feel it because you are going to go there.

[00:41:35] You’re just not going to go there for a couple of months or maybe a year. Maybe it’s maybe it’s on your bucket list. And so, you know, just kind of like staying real and really understanding what is real in that city. And what’s real happening with these people. What are the stories? I mean, there’s though.

[00:41:49] Cause they should make you laugh. They should make you cry. They should make you want to. Right. I 

[00:41:56] Zach White: love this. I love this. And okay, so we’re gonna, here’s, here’s what we’re going to do. Um, and, and we’ll let the cat out of the bag about our little plan that we’ve cracked up Charles. So, you know, right now I’m sitting in.

[00:42:08] You know, same office that I’m always in here in Southwest, Michigan recording with you and you’re in route to Brazil. And so we’re going to do a part two of this conversation and continue because the idea of lifestyle engineering, the whole point of. Being intentional about your purpose, your values, your vision, and taking massive action to go make that real, uh, part of that for us includes, you know, this idea of travel and lifestyle and freedom that so many people listening, I know, relate to.

[00:42:39] And so we’re going to reconnect when I’m in copper mountain, Colorado, uh, they’re in the Rockies enjoying some snowboarding. On the beach somewhere in, uh, in Purcell and we’ll, we’ll reconnect and pull this thread a bit further. So I’m really excited about that. But, but to land the plane for today, I want to ask you one more question and it’s related to this same idea.

[00:42:59] I ask everybody who comes on the show. Great engineering. I’m sure. Just learning and mastering the art of creative work as a chef, but also great coaching. We know that questions. Answer’s follow-up and if we want to get better answers in our life, we want to ask better questions. And so I’m curious for your perspective, if the engineering leader, listening to this wants to experience that lifestyle, that joy, that passion, what would be the best question you would lead them with?

[00:43:35] Chef Charles: Yeah, the best question. You know what I did once upon a time I had a, I had a wall at a really big wall in my, second bedroom that I wasn’t using. And I took chalkboard paint and I painted that whole wall with chalkboard paint, and then I let it drive course. And then I. Chuck. And I went on there and with no boundaries, no holes, barred, no one telling me I could do something or I couldn’t do something.

[00:43:57] I just went up there and I wrote whatever the F I wanted to write. That inspired me, that got me excited, maybe something that I wanted to achieve, or I wanted to accomplish maybe a place that I wanted to travel to maybe about, for me about 30, you know, and whatever that may mean, but I just dropped it all off.

[00:44:14] And then I looked at it and I sat back and I looked at it and then I started going to work. I started connecting dots and I started connecting a, with B and J with L and I started doing all these things. And what I realized is they didn’t completely connect, but what was missing from them connecting was way less than what I thought that would make them.

[00:44:33] You can make them connect. But if, but if I, if I had limited myself, just not thought out of the box and thought about putting that up there. I would’ve never came to the same conclusion. 

[00:44:45] Zach White: That’s so cool. I love that. I, I have a 101 things bucket list myself, and I challenged my clients to go through that process, but to put it all out there on the board and I love this go to work, connecting dots.

[00:45:01] So, do you have in your life. That wall of the, the desire. And have you started doing the work? To connect the dots. I think that’s awesome. 

[00:45:10] Chef Charles: Wow. Yeah. I mean, yeah. That’s, that’s exactly right. I mean, where, I mean, do you have that wall in your house and then how do you make it happen? It doesn’t have to be a big wall.

[00:45:17] Doesn’t have to be a small one, you know? And if you don’t have the wall, get yourself, I like to go to these stores, like these craft shops, like Michael’s or, um, I forget what the other one is. Hobby lobby, hobby lobby. That’s the one my mom likes. Yeah. Well, you know, like I like to go to those craft shops and I get like, they’re really.

[00:45:30] The paper and I, and I like to write, I I like to write it out and I can like the bigger, you know, like, not like the, not like the, uh, the chief notepad. I like to get the big one and I write it out and I write everything on there because right now I’m kind of living like a digital nomad. Like some of you guys might be digital.

[00:45:45] Nomads is engineers, which is another reason we’re going to talk because as digital, as you could live anywhere in the world, and we’ll save that for next time, but you’re going to see where I’m at in Brazil. And I think that. And we’re going to have some things to talk about. That’s for sure. But I mean, if you don’t have it again, you just got to start somewhere, put it up there and then, you know, just by putting it up there, it’s going to feel really good because maybe, maybe it’s something, um, materialistic, maybe you want to drive a certain type of vehicle or you want to have a certain brand of a bike or something like that.

[00:46:13] Or maybe, you know, it could be anything, but it’s about, you know, you’ll find all the common denominators, you can find the ones that aren’t, and then you just kind of figured out. 

[00:46:19] Zach White: I love that. So teasing where we’re going next time with this idea of, Hey, your ability to add value in the world is becoming increasingly location independent.

[00:46:31] And a lot of engineers are asking that question what’s possible and companies are solving for that question in the way that they create roles. So we’re going to explore that a little deeper. Next time. Chef has been amazing to spend time with you today. Have a safe flight and thanks again for making time, brother.

[00:46:46] This is awesome.