In Your Shoes Podcast Episode 26: Francesco Panella

In Your Shoes Podcast Episode 26: Francesco Panella

Hi, I’m Mauro Porcini. PepsiCo’snChief Design Officer. Join me for our new series, where wendive into the minds of the greatest innovators or time withnthe goal of finding what drives them in their professionalnjourney and in their personal life, trying to uncover thenuniversal truths that unite anyone attempting to have anmeaningful impact in the world. This is In Your Shoes. Our job is to help people forgetnabout their problems and make them feel what they really are,nspecial. I’m quoting today’s guest, a restauranteur,nconsultant, writer and television star. Born and raisednin Rome, he grew up in his family restaurant Antica Pesa,nwhich has been in his family since 1922. In 2012, he broughtnthe restaurant stateside with the opening of Antica PesanBrooklyn. In 2019 he partnered then with TAO Group to open thenrestaurant Feroce in Manhattan. As a television host he hasnappeared in numerous European shows, including Il Mio PiattonPreferito, Brooklyn Man, and the Little Big Italy. He’s now atnwork on a new show with the Discovery Channel, Riaccendiamoni Fuochi. about COVID-19 impact on the hospitality industry. Innaddition to his work as a restaurateur and televisionnhost, he is the recipient of a variety of different awards,nlike Cavaliere del Commercio, Cavaliere del Lavoro, NationalnExcellence award, Anniversary International Award, and thenNational Italian American Foundation for ItaliannExcellence Award. In 2015, his humanitarian work was recognizednby Pope Francis and in December 2020, he was named a UNICEFnNational Campaign leader. Francesco Panella welcome to InnYour Shoes. It’s such a pleasure to have you with us Francesconfinally. Thank you so much Mauro. So, sonhappy to be here with you. Actually I get a pleasure, tonsee you, to see you more often and we’re more close but now Inam in Italy, you are in USA. All right. So thank you for this,namazing,. Fantastic. So Francesco, thenfirst thing I’m going to ask you is you, you come from a familynof restaurateurs. Uh, your restaurant in Rome is one of thenmost famous restaurant in our beautiful, beautiful capital ofnItaly. But then you, you kept doing that, kind the work fromnyour family, but you also started to do other things. You,nyou have a TV show, more than one. So can you tell us a littlenbit of, you know, the journey of the son of a restorator eh, tonwhere you are today? Very good Mauro you want to knownfrom the beginning? Yeah. I know that it could takenlike 10 hours but we are not in your restaurant in front of angood meal so we need to be more straight to the point. That’s good. I want to get usngoing actually, because I think isit’s important to unsterstandnalso my why I’m becoming so much passion. I mean, I guess Inabsorbed. And apparently the relationship between my fathernand my mother doesn’t work, but when I was kids and my child, mynchildhood was a bit like tough. And, uh, uh, because they havensome legal issue between my parents. My mother doesn’t letnme allow to see my father. And, uh, and for me was, I was in ansort-of tragedy. And after some years I start to met my fathernbetter. Um, and I started to start to come in the restaurantnjust a two times a week, always the, and on Saturday after mynschool. Um, so, my father, my mother was coming from twondifferent, the opposite way. She is very like, mid-class verynlike Italian you know, way to think my father is this angenius, crazy, really crazy man is my idol, but a little bitncrazy. So, uh, my father try to show me how much is beautifulnlive in the restaurant. My, my mother pushed me a house. Andnwhen you are a kid, so you live here with these like a differentnopinion, then there’s a lot. You allow them to understand onenside and the other one. So I was in the middle of this, uh, butnI’m feeling something special with the energy of thenrestaurant. You know, the metric of the chef, I called thenowners. They waiters talk and, and sometimes fighting with thenchef. People coming, the the phone ringing, and all thosenpeople with these amazing energy inside the restaurant. Just uhndrive me crazy, just drive me crazy. So the, my first night atnthe restaurant, we, my father was on a Saturday night. Long time ago was a little bitntraumatic, but let me understand how much I love this job.nBecause for some reason, my dad, which is my hero, uh, forget menin the restaurant in the night. And now what happening, in thenmiddle of the night and I need to make a decision, if I neednto go up to the house, my father, or stay in thenrestaurant. At that point, I say, you know what? I am feelingncomfortable over here. I like to stay over here. So Mauro, justnwill let you know the restaurant in the night we know people, wendo energy. is a different animal. You start to hearndifferent noise, there is no energy, it’s something that isnvery like unusual from the perspective of our job. But Insay, you know what? I’m going to stay here. And the day after Inspoke with my father and, um, and my father, I said, look, thenrestaurant is like a house for me. So if you sleep in thenrestaurant i’m not gonna wake up you, because you are part of thenrestaurant, because of my life, it’s inside the restaurant. Sonif this is one of the bit traumatic, start to understandnthe difference between the restaurant, especially whennthere is the energy, when there’s not the energy. Andnafter some years I can two, I can tell you, then you need tontake the good and the bad and the restaurant. If you want tonrunning the restaurant properly, with patient and love. Because,nuh, there is not just the fun part, which is the part thatneverybody. So, but there is also some crazy tough dark time thatnwe need to face, like wake up in the morning very early, alwaysnbe ready. Diligence is the key of our job, but there is two bignsufference then, then guys like me, have it in life, diligencenand uh regret. The diligence, because you need to be alwaysnready. There is no like any option. Mauro, If you call menmidnight, you want to eat then. You gonna eat. You know what Inmean? And then agreed because a I’m tired, because we are toontired and you say no to some opportunity. The problem it’s a,nfor me, that regret, It’s more valuable than the diligence,nbecause if you miss the opportunity, life can be anproblem. And I don’t want to like uh lost the time in mynlife. I want to do what, what, what, what, the life a give itnto me. So I never try to lost the chance to understand thenopportunity and then make a decision. So now, you know, you are thenson of a person that have the good restaurant in Italy. I’mnthinking about many people listening to us and they are thenson and the daughters of people that have a family business. Andnone option is to go your own way outside of the family business.nThe other one is to stay in the family business. And many, younknow, new generations are very successful family and familynbusinesses. Eventually they decided to stay in and do younknow what they are asked to do within that reality. You did sonmuch more. You, you left Italy to conquer America. You built anfew restaurants in New York. Uh, Antica Pesa in Brooklyn, anFeroce in Manhattan, um, partnering with majornorganizations also here. And then also you, you did a TV shownmore than one and with a variety of different themes. So can you tell us a little bitnhow you did it, you know, well, what drove you to do more thannjust staying your restaurant in Rome and do all these things?nAnd this is just, I think the beginning, because you keepncoming up with new ideas. So if you, imagine you’re talking tonpeople that are listening to us and they have the kind ofnopportunity in their family or, or something that is easy fornthem to enter, what does it take to take it to the next level, tonthink big, to, to do something bigger? Yes. Mauro. Very good. Thank younfor this question, actually. So Antica Pesa it’s, uh, it’snbecoming like Centennial restaurant next year, so right.nAnd every generation ask it to the other generation to donsomething like envision. All right. So my father, thengeneration of my father, which was the third generation, was andisaster. Because my father was, was an, almost in bankrupt, evennif it was an unbelievable successful restaurant, probablynthe number one, one of the top in Italy, but he can’t managenprobably the financial in a good way. So when I started thinkingnto take over the restaurant, I just imagined myself just to wentravel, but I don’t want to lost the, this place because for menit represent a more than a business, it represent my life.nSo when you push yourself with something bigger, you need tonreally go over and go behind the, the cause that you have.. Um, I start to understant that Incan do that when, uh, I traveled for the first time at 19 yearsnin USA, I was like, always in love with USA because USA for mento represent the freedom is the, is the cities that I want tonleave home forever. And because of, for some reason in Italy, ifnyou are interested like I am, if you are in Tesla Bono, innConoscere, you have a restaurant, of course you arengoing to have some costumer, which is as not Italian, right?nAnd that all my friends and all the people who’s come fromnAntica Pesa because was very like institutional restaurantntell me, why you let the tourists come in yournrestaurant? So there was the perception, that the tourist wasna something bad in the restaurant. And I was 18 I say,nbut this is, this is unreal. I can’t accept these. This is notnme because for me, everybody have to have the chance to walknand actually it’s amazing share what you thinking with othernpeople. You know what I mean? I don’t want to be closed likenthis and then traveling. This is, you know, this is whatnyou’re saying is very interesting for people tonunderstand that I’m not Italian. So if you have a very premiumnItalian restaurant, usually the most of your clients arenItalians that are very sophisticated, they understandnthe food and everything. So Francesco, what you’re saying isnthat if you have a commercial restaurant, it’s the restaurantsnwhere the tourists go and foreigners, and instead you’renlike, no, no, I want the mix of people. And I want thenforeigners and I want the tourists I want… And I cannstill preserve the premium experience or the premiumnbranding. No matter of this, this was one of yourninnovations, Yes Mauro, we need to also putnlike, in a era on this fine time was at the end, of the, then80’s. So the beginning of the 90’s, okay. So now it’s going tonbe different, but I went to USA and that starts to talk with,nuh, for this restaurant. I was running by the daughters of BillnCrosby in Miami, and I start to do everything. So start to washnthe floor. I started the bar serve position, uh, back of thenbar. Or servers one day, Stefan Oroso, no Stefan Loroso, LorenzonLoso the owner of the Diesel with Miami 30 years ago told menI, you work here. Like I have a photographic studio over here. Inwant to do on a commercial. And I said, with me, are you sure Inwas skinny, not in a good condition. I was like, you knownparty in Miami all the time I say? Yes, I want you. That’s.nOkay. So I did the, from these, all that world-wide publicitynaround the world there. And I started to do mynconnection there. Um, but just because I was curios to met thenpeople. After two years that I didn’t see my family. Then back,nwith an amazing bag of memories from, from, from the USA. And Instarted to do the, my innovation. So at that timing, Inwas asking to myself for what I can do to transform like thentourist in a international cool situation. And my mind wasndirectly to the La Dolce Vita because La Dolce Vita for us innthe theater was the benchmark of the successful of, a city likenRome. So with my connection at one point all the measure, thenbig measure, because we were filming a lot of movie in Rome.nI did a lot for him yeah. All those people start to text menand called me to San Francisco. We want, we want, we want to donthe dinner with you. We want to stay with you what you’re doingnand what’s happening, whatever. So I start to thinking, then LanDolce Vita 2.0 can be something addressable for me. I can makenit. And I made it and I made it. So I started to do somethingndifferent, but along with experience, that I had in USA.nAnd after I leave and after that is not to do some TV shownbecause I want to like, kind of do one, an, um, I want to have andifferent microphone to have a more people. So TV show wasna…, But before, before you go to thenTV show, I will ask you to the TV show because it’s an entirenchapter that I’m very interested on, but before you go there. SonI think there is a very powerful message on what you justndescribed. You needed to go out of your culture, of yourncountry, your context, your family, to discover a differentnpoint of view on your own culture. So you went out, younchange perspective, you know, you embrace the diversity ofnthinking of another country. And then you went back two yearsnlater with your own new way of thinking. There was thencontamination and the cross-fertilization of thenItalian one and the American one. And then you’ve beenninnovating at that point in Italy. This is very interesting.nAnd this applied to anybody, you know, an American that goes tonBrazil, or to Italy and change perspective and go back. There is something reallynpowerful in the idea of getting out of your comfort zone,nlearning new things, changing point of view, and going back.nThere is something typical of what you do with yournrestaurants in Italy and then you are importing this also innother countries that is also typical of the Italiannrestaurant experience. And you arrived to this restaurant. Andnsomehow, especially yours, is you feel like welcomed by anfamily. And you feel that, that the people that are there carenabout you, it’s not just a script, you know, asking you atna certain point during the meal. Do you need anything? Or at thenend of the day, I, at the end of your meal, like get out of thenway, because we have new customers. So, you know, therenis offering maybe, you know, a little limoncello or, or doingnsome special and then obviously you have different kinds ofnclients and everything. So you have this mindset of buildingnmeaningful experiences for your customers all the time. You toldnme some stories that I don’t know if you can share with usnabout some celebrity. And, and I think there were beautifulnstories of how you care, you know, in an extraordinary way,nin this case about this customer, like you are tellingnyou about Madonna or a few others, is, uh, is therenanything that you or you can and want to share with us? Aboutnbuilding an unique experience for this special customers. No she will. She’s she’s, she’s,nshe’s just fantastic and I love her so much. I think she’s, uh,none of the, the, the, the, the, the person that inspired me, uh,nso much for, for life she’s fantastic. Madonna Right? Madonna. i met her in Roma. Yeah yeahnyeah. So I met her in Roma and during a concert, she wasnimpossible to come to enjoy Antica Pesa, because she was tooncrazy busy with the fun and with people so she can move it. And Ingive a suggestion to where after we deal with, of course not withnher, but with this like personal assistant, whatever, to drivenwith the Vespa, with the memory of, and go around Roma with thencaska. And nobody can likeunderstand who she. With the helmet yeah. Yeah, she sent me the helmet,nsorry. And she said, you know what? I will try to do this. Ifnyou show me, if you see somebody come with this Vespa and totallyndressed up, it’s me. And she did that. And she didnthat so she’s followed my suggestion. And then she had annamazing night. She having a great night and a but at the endnof the dinner, she left the Vespa in front of thenrestaurant. And the body guard asked me to bring the Vespa tonthe hotel. And I did that. But I went to, to the, to the storenwhen they rented the Vespa and I buy the Vespa for her, and thennshe took to Paris, and she was so happy. And she still, shentold me, Francesco, you need to tell me when you open in NewnYork City, we should have asked because it was like thousandnnine, 2010. And because I want to do something special for you.nAnd she did, uh, basically she told me to wait to findncelebrities are coming. Um, but after I study in, uh, Brooklyn,nfor two years, we opened the restaurant. She was, she was one, of thenfirst to come in my restaurant. I remember very clear it wasnsnowing, like crazy. And she’s coming with 30 person all the,nthan all the dancer, with Rocco and withLouis and withneverybody, I was uh, we have a two DJ, one from Berlino andnanother one from Oslo, friends of mine. So I pass an epicnincredible night there with her. And, um, and she said, you knownwhat I mean, I not, not gonna forget what you did for me, sonthis is my present. And she’s running basically the pressnrelease for me. She helped me to do that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, wenwe talked so much about this, the value of influencers on onenside for communication and PR, then another topic that we allntalk about is once again, the idea of building, designing,nimagining, executing, meaningful experiences for people. And, andnthat’s what you did in a very generous and spontaneous way.nAnd I think this, this is something, you know, verynpowerful of stories like yours, where you just do it because younknow that there’s going to be value because you love to do it.nAnd obviously I asked you about Madonna because it’s a very nicenstory to tell, but in different ways, in different years, withndifferent levels of efforts, that’s the idea, creatensomething special for your customers, give them annexperience that they can remember forever with your ownnidentity, with your own approach, with your own style.nThere is another thing that you are doing. Uh, I received annemail from, from you recently about a tree and, um, it’s your,num, efforts in the world of sustainability. So what isnsustainability for a restaurant? You know, sustainability in ancompany like PepsiCo food and beverage we talk a lot aboutnthis, but what does sustainability mean for anrestaurant and for a business like yours and what are youndoing with these trees? Yeah. So, uh, first of allnMauro, who’s running restaurant have big, powerful in thencommunity. Because, imagine a restaurant to try three, 400ncovers in a day. You impacted those people with your decision.nSo you have a bigger responsibility on that. It’s ansuch important things. And after the pandemic moment, if we arennot understand the mistake that we did then, that’s a problem.nThat’s a real problem. I cannot support people to say, Oh mynGod, it’s done, the virus is gone, we’re going to back to donwhat we did before. I say no way. We need to understand whatnwe did wrong and not do before. At the end of the year onnDecember 31st, everybody say, let’s forget, two thousandntwenty is done is over. And I say, no, I don’t want to forget.nI want to keep in memory day by day, because these are going tonbe the benchmark of how will you work to change how you are tonact next? And also to respect that the last generation,nbecause, uh, and I take also opportunity to apologize. to allnthe, uh, younger generation for the world that we’re going tongive to them. Um, and, uh, and so for me, sustainability, it’snsomething very, very important because it’s approval, thennthere is not just talk, but there have to be action. Nownwe’re talking about sustainability starts to be, tonbe commercial. You know, everybody talks about commercialnand sustainability, not because it’s something thatnyou can make a publicity on your, for your company. You’llnneed to act as a lifestyle in a different way. Not because younneed to do making cool your company, but because you believenin something. So 20 years ago, 20 years ago, when the ministernof the agricultural uh system over here in Italy, gave me thenaward for the best, like interpretation of my territorynwas the day number one for me to thinking something like that.nWorking like with a small producer. Look, in the pandemicnmoment here Mauro, there is a lot of small producer which theyncan’t afford to leave because they don’t have a transfer tonthe bank. So I was, uh, the one to be the banker for them,nbecause I want to help those people to keep going. To benalive. So this is the approach then, uh, yeah, withnsustainability, from ever. Always talk to my territory.nYeah. You must be to my restaurant and I never talknabout us, I always shared the word, for the other family fornthe other, Like for people who give us the food, they are ournriddle. They’re not us. We are the last the chain, but who makenit, the restaurant great is the people who will still being our,nlike, it’s our farmer. It’s our horticultural, this is what Inwant to try to tell it to everybody. The tree, are the, I startednAntica Pesa Forest basically who is a six different projectnaround the world. And I started just start with 1003 and I gavenit to hold my friends as a, as a support, the idea ofnsustainability, um, because I take most more or less a tennairplane from Roma to JFK. They just like give us 100,050nkilograms cube of CO2. So 1003 is exactly the formula to matchna balance with less one than my travel, you know, and I want tonarrive in the 2024 to 25,003 to help also other restaurant to bensustainable. Oh, I told you wanting to travelneven more than what you already do. This is a beautifulninitiative and I love how you’re connecting your carbonnfootprint. Thanks Mauro. With this idea, replantingntrees that can balance that gap. Um, the other thing that you arenmentioning earlier, and then I mentioned a few times duringnthis conversation is these TV shows, more than one. Uh, we maynstart from the last one you’re working on with DiscoverynChannel on, on the restaurants post COVID so what is going tonhappen post COVID? It’s called Little Big Italy andnit’s fun because, um, because I understand that the Italiannsounding it’s, it’s very like it’s everywhere. And, uh, Inlook, I respect every form of food because food, I think isnthe most democratic way to do something. So I’m not complainnanything. I just like want to try to preserve the classicnrecipe because I think is a part of our culture. And becausensometime, other country, just the marketing and dishes co-leadnwith this name, I want to just preserve it. Not because itndidn’t respect that the other recipe, they are just notnspecific kind of dishes, for example the carbonara. Thencarbonara. Everybody do the carbonara. So they donvegetables, they put green, but this is not the carbonara. It’snyour interpretation of carbonara. I never thinking tonlike to be, you know what, this is the only way to do somethingnno way, but that is the only way to call the one dish. Yes. Younknow what I mean? Carbonara is a carbonara with, this is for usnit’s such important things. You know what I mean? So we, wencan’t like call it another thing. Francesco tell us how to cooknthe right carbonara for al the people listening to us. From allnaround the world. Tell everybody hwo to cook the carbonara. Dear Mauro, you are, you knownvery well, better than me I think. I eat your carbonara, I don’tncook it. So Little Big Italy was startingnfrom this concept, and then basically I’m going around thenworld to understand where we are.. But you’re not telling thenrecipe. Francesco, tell us the recipe. We want to know how younmake the carbonara the right way. It it’s, it’s a basic you knownjust a few ingredients. A good pasta, black pepper, fantasticneggs have to be fantastic eggs. And one shallot, and that’s itnvery, very easy, just this ingredients, you don’t want tontouch anything. Don’t put any creamoil, don’t put any cream,ndon’t put nothing, you know what I mean? Oh, it’s a very easy andnclassic recipe. Everybody’s doing a different way. And thisnis not cool. So Little Big Italy was a very successful, uh,nshow because, uh, it showed, the real Italian pride around thenworld. And for me during the interview, just the soul ofnthose people talking about Italy and just cry because they sawnthat they’re going to like talk about Italy. It was amazing. Itnwas incredible. It’s a such an unbelievable, fantastic valuenfor my life. Like it just gave me. So you go all around the worldnto Italian restaurants in the U S in, uh, Egypt, all the, inndifferent countries around the world, and you feature thenrestaurants and you talk about their dishes, Uh, that, that that’s the rightnthere is also the gaming side, because I’m going with threenextras so the people who live in these, a specific city. They’renbringing me in this favorite restaurant. So that is the gamenand the challenging between everybody. And I’m going to benthe judge. The one at the end who take the decision on for whonis the best restaurant in Little Big Italy. It’s very cool, doingnvery well. You became the hero of mynbrother, his kids, I mean, many, many different people for, fornthe non Italians. Francesca is very known through his TV shownto all the Italians. You know, that the, the restaurateurnstarted in television. I mean, it’s not that obvious isnactually pretty special. Mauro I’m going to do an, uh, tonmatch with the story of Madonna in Brooklyn, because after she’sncoming, but you know, Brooklyn, you remember Brooklyn how it wasnmore than 10 years ago. So the first time I’d been in Brooklynnwas like, literally nothing. And people say, why you want annopening in Brooklyn? Are you crazy? Why you want to bringnthis institution of grand over there and say, look, this isnwhat I’m feeling. I think this is going to be an amazing marketnin the future. And I want to see something that in this moment,npeople doesn’t see, and I believe in this land and beforeneverybody. I was the first, like a big Italian brand arrived innWilliamsburg, 12 years ago. And after Madonna coming, I went inntrouble because the community of Williamsburg didn’t accept thenfancy part of the, my brand. They can see that in me fancy,nbut I was so happy because, uh, people from manhattan, coming innBrooklyn. So my first fears was a fightingnthe barriers of the bridge. People in Manhattan told me younare not opening in Manhattan. You know what I mean,nexperiencing experience, why you don’t come to me? Eh, that isnthe bridge, eh there is Manhattan, there is Brooklyn.nAnd I, it, my goal was a fighting the barrier. I alwaysnbe the one to fighting the barriers and I make it, Infighting the barriers and the people start to shownWilliamsburg a different way. And I move millions and millionsnand millions of dollar from Manhattan to Williamsburg. But inwasn’t enough, because I wasn’t considering fancy in that momentnby the Williamsburg community. So I have to be honest with you.nFor me was a very, very tough moment. I was in confusion. Inwas, I was thinking it was something cool, but it wasn’t.nSo I wasn’t paying attention to the, my community, you know, andnI feel so ashamed. So I say, you know what? I’m going to find anstrategy to back on business with them and talk with them. And essentially what happened isnthat the Brooklyn, Williamsburg community didn’t understand thisnfancy foreign restaurant that was trying to change the texturenand the DNA of the community. So at a certain point, you’re like,nOh, you know what? Instead of coming here, just talking to thenpeople from Manhattan I’m gonna talk with you community, I’mngonna partner with you. I’m gonna understand you. Younstarted from a position of respect and collaborationninstead of conflict. And that’s what changed everything right? I did, Mauro, just for let younto tell you the partner sits right in Brooklyn, the moviesnand with some friends from mission district and othernfriends from Silver Lake, I start to building in 2009, 2010,nthe roof, the farm on the rooftop, to make a sustainable,nthe building. But the gentrification of, ofnWilliamsburg was very faster. So people back and forth, theynleaving and back and they leaving and back and forth. So Inwas in trouble. No matter what, after Madonna, I understand thennI did the some mistake. I did some, some something wrong andnI’m back in Italy. And I asked her to the Gamberorosso channel.nIt’s a food network for us, you know, it very well, and I said,nlook, I need to do this TV show called Brooklyn Man, because,nuh, I want to go over at every single restaurant around thencorner, cross the corner, over here, over there. I need toncollect the data and I need to collect emotion. I need to understand the emotionnthese people. I want to spoke more with these people. They, Indon’t understand them, I need to be focused on them. So after sixnyears, six season of Brooklyn Man, I becoming the one whondrive a lot of business. And I take so much respect for thencommunity and they love me. And they asked me to stay therenforever. Now you have my restaurant, my establishment innBrooklyn and since 10 years. But was very hard and tough fornme find the way to make up everybody to don’t lost the, myncostumer for others which are in Manhattan and there are thencostumer. My neighbor who are actually the people then thatnlove, the most, because it’s the people they are sharing coffeenand the share the experience. And they’re sharing stories.nWhat we are? We are stories. So I mention both of them. I love your story Francesco, younknow, I was listening to you and, you know in companies, inncorporations, we, in our design world, we often talk aboutnprocesses and way of doing innovation, way of buildingnbrands. And, and, and the reason why I invited you here today isnthat you have been practicing it. I mean, there is a guy thatnhad the dream of building a restaurant in Brooklyn, arrivesnand he finds all kinds of roadblocks and difficulties.nInstead of giving up, closing the restaurant, or instead ofntrying to figure out how to make the food better, how to designnthe restaurant better, what does he do? He invented TV shows tonbuild connections with the neighborhood restaurants andngathering data, building a better relationships of datanwith them, and then becoming a celebrity, by the way throughnthe TV show that was born was generated by something else. This is what I mean byninnovation. This is innovation in action, in action. I oftennmention as one of my mentors, major mentors in innovation, anguy that, you know, that is another famous name in Italynthat is Claudio Cecchetto. I had a company with him, eh, when Inwas very young, when I was 24 and, and Claudio comes from thenmusic world. But it reminds me so much of you, meaning thatnClaudio would never use the word innovation. It will just doninnovation. It was just the way he was thinking that everythingnwas doing, I mean, sending a motorbike a moped to my Madonnanand having her come there, in a way, was you understood thenproblem that she had. You understood how to create annamazing experience for her, thinking or inspired by a movienand the celebrity life and La Dolce Vita, but applying it tonyour specific situation. You went out of the box and youncreated something unexpected for her. Then you send a motorbike tonher. That was another unexpected thing that you did. So it’s,nit’s really innovation in action in, but in permittingncommunication and PR on one side, and then in innovation ofnyour product, that is the restaurant and how to overcomendifficulties and challenges thinking out of the box. Oncenagain, everybody in your case would have, have I need tonchange the menu or I need to change the design of the place,nor you, you build a TV show inspiring. What, what are younworking on now? What is your project for the future? The onenthat you care the most about, Well now it’s, um, you know, I,nI’m building, I was very lucky because I was approached fornthis amazing, uh, company from, uh, from USA and, you know, verynwell. And that probably is the most, uh, smart and incrediblenpeople working in our industry. I can’t tell the name, but younknow, what we talking about. And I joined, banded with themnbecause they liked my products. So we building out there thisnnew restaurant it’s called Feroce. And, uh, and now we neednto reopen it. So right now I like really be focused tonreopening this one. And then I’m going to find the time, where Inhave time for me because I never have a time. And after thenpandemic, I understand how much is important the time. Time isnan enormous value for me, incredible. But I can say wendon’t do anything. And I can’t like go over the, the natural. So I open basically the nextnmonths and a new restaurant called Antica Pesa Mare. Is inna, this is small island called Cavallo. It’s in a paradise. nIt’s an incredible small, unbelievable island. And we takenall the ingredients from these small island, and I want to benin the middle of the farmer and these incredible natural park tonrelax, work and do something that is actually made it for me.nYou know, it’s just, for me, it’s a time for me busted,nworking and waiting for their friends coming around thenMediterranean, from everywhere, because it’s very like andestination place to be. I’m in the middle of nothing, butnpeople come over there because it’s such a beautiful place. This is in the south of Corsica,nCorse. The north of Sardegna right? But it’s in Corsica,nright? Yes, yes, yes, Mauro. So now myngoal is try to found a time for myself, because the pandemicnmoment, teach me a lot. I am another man after that, and I’mngoing to share the world. Then we need to change a little bitnand respect each other. To do this, uh, I think we need tonhelp, uh, we need the help from the, from the young generation.nUh, so the next step is already done. Actually, it’s almostnover, but I asked to the John Cabot, John Cabot Unitveristy,nwhich is an American university basically in Europe, to help me,nto give me a solution for the future of the hospitality.nBecause Mauro, I don’t think I’m going to be the one to have anall the results. I don’t think I’m going to be the one “oh letnme talk.” I know what’s going on. I am no body I have just anbig passion. And I think we need to respect the young generation.nI ask them what they want for the future. So they’re gonnangive me the answer and I will be on action in order to make thennew generation haapy. I am constantly curious to understandnwhat the future of the hospitality are going to be. Andnthe next generation are going to be the answer. Not me, nobody,nthe next generation, Mauro. So you’re asking these studentsnin the university to work on projects about the future ofnhospitality. That’s how you’re working. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It’snsuch an important piece for me. Mauro I wanna back up, just ansecond or two, to the network, if it’s possible. Yeah. We talked, we mentioned itnbefore, uh, you know, how I started to building the, my, thennetwork and you describe it very well? I want to give an, uh,nanother suggestion to all these kids, because if you talk withnthe kids right now, the first things that I told you say, Inneed to go to this party because there is, uh, this man, I wantnto go over there because of there is this other one. It’s inna rush every day to go and met the most important person,nbecause they need for their network. I believe in thenorganic network. In something that make you position to be anfriends with somebody because you have the same value, becausenare you thinking in a good way, because you are positive. And I want to use that view tondo, to say something. Everybody knows Mauro Porcini, everybodynknow Mauro Procini. In America, in Italy, everywhere. Ten yearsnago, I know exactly who are Mauro Porcini, you know, and wenhave a lot of friends in common, a lot of friends in common. IfnI want, I can arrive to you and ask uh, you know, to talk withnyou to have a moment to take a coffee, just like, you know whatnI mean? You are such a gentleman and we have a lot of friendsntogether and I don’t think you’re going to say no to me. nBut I never asked him. I never ask anything. I don’t want tonmet you because I need to ask to introduce by someone. Because Inbelieve in the organic, natural. I met you I while ago and now wenare becoming friends. And I think we would be friendsnforever because I never asked you anything. You never askednanything to me just because we are something then we met fornsome reason, we like each other. That’s why I’m here. I respectnyou too much. I respect, you respect me too much, but it’s mynway to do the organic network. I don’t need anything. That’s whynI want to be your friends. Look, I’m so grateful. First ofnall, thanks for the words and obviously, you know, I feel thensame. I’m so grateful you’re sending this last message to thenpeople listening to us because this is so true. The idea ofnjust putting out there, positive energy, spreading all thisnpositive energy and not forcing things, but literally, you know,nbuilding through that energy and putting yourself out there.nThey’re like collisions when they happen and not alwaysnthinking, okay, what kind of value can I extract from thenperson from that situation or from that experience, but morenlike, you know what, I’m going to grow by connecting. I’m goingnto give back as much as I can. And then things will start tongrow naturally. And by the way is a, is an approach that givesnyou also less anxiety. You pressure yourself less. It’snjust so, and it’s fun. It’s fun. I really, really believe innthat, in this. So thanks for, for mentioning it. And on thisnnote, I think we can, we can close, thanks for sharing yournexperiences and your totes. And I think he is, you know, when Inwitness people like you in action and changing things andninnovating by doing stuff, you know, is less about talking isnmore about doing. And that’s really inspiring for me. Younknow, we, we need more and more people, not just out there, butnin companies, big and small, of people that know how to talk yesnbut know also how to make things happen and not just, you know,ntalking about what we should do and then nothing happened. Sonthank you so much for the inspiration and for spendingnthis time with us today Francesco. Grazie Mauro. Thank you for thenopportunity. Thank you so much. Grazie. Thank you.
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In Your Shoes Podcast Episode 26: Francesco Panella

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