THE FAMOUS CHEF PLAYS A LEADING ROLE IN THE EXECUTIVE MASTER IN FINANCE
It may be his natural charisma or his tendency to lead staff only through “on the field” participation; it may be the strict attitude of his public image contrasting with his visceral passion for his work that shows through clearly. But no one embodies a leadership model without the need for words like Carlo Cracco. So much so that he seems almost reluctant to talk about his successful career, which has led him from attending the Pellegrino Artusi hospitality training institution in Recoaro Terme to leading one of the top 50 restaurants in the world and television fame on Masterchef. Even his appearance as part of the Leader Series with Andrea Beltratti, Academic Director of EMF - Executive Master in Finance and Master participants featured a restrained talk with words chosen simply and carefully.
Simplicity and care, along with a great ability to innovate without losing his identity, seem to be the secrets to his success. This success appears to be the product of a paradox, as Cracco himself says: “The job of a chef is to make food service less connected to food service. To be clear, the quality of what is on the plate is fundamental and makes the difference, increasingly so in a time in which there may be uncontrolled proliferation of restaurants. But dishes used to be almost 100% the result of the cook, and this is no longer true. Italian restaurants,” he continues, “have undergone and are undergoing great improvement, breaking free from an environment made up mostly of family-run trattorias. There are now different situations at an international level and chefs have public visibility and certainly more responsibility.”
He makes it clear right away that cuisine is an area that lends itself to representing metaphorically (and in other ways) many leadership principles. It is a world in which excellence is a requirement and the ability to learn from mistakes is essential. “Cuisine is a complex world, where success is ensured only through a transversal vision and differentiated skills. You have to understand appetizers as well as entrees, meat as well as seafood and vegetables. You can’t be an expert of just one thing. This is why cuisine is a team effort. The team and organization make the difference. It’s essential to divide the work and trust the people working with you, and therefore understand how to choose them. But it’s just as important to be a leader that knows how to look beyond individual preparations and has control of the entire process, knowing when to intervene if necessary.”
At this point, the discussion inevitably leads to the qualities that leaders must have in order to create an organized machine of that kind. Cracco is confident: “First of all, you need to know how to choose people, understand their underlying motivations, their spirit of self-sacrifice and their willingness to learn. And then you have to empower them and value them.”
Leaders must also challenge themselves with results. And the role of chef is one that most sees a direct and immediate outcome of their work. Carlo Cracco firmly believes this: “It is the outcome of what we do that speaks of us and our work is assessed by others through results. We must do the same with ourselves, clearly and honestly. And we must understand how to find possible ways for correction and improvement. But we must also learn to not be attached to our successes, to go beyond them in order to find new areas.”
These are simple rules for achieving outstanding success. It is a constant for Carlo Cracco that also emerged when, asked by Andrea Beltratti to give his personal definition of the EMF motto “Transforming challenges into opportunities,” the chef responded: “It’s not always easy to achieve success. My personal experience has led me to adopt a simple rule: if you want to reach 10, aim for 12. Any challenge requires a preliminary examination of your skills and your limits. If this does not happen, you’re destined to fail.”