And so, you know, there was a pretty clear line between judges and contestants for fairness purposes. And so we weren't like, you know, shooting the shit after shooting or anything like that, but I was able to spend some time with him at some fundraisers thereafter after I'd won. And just a really down to earth dude. Just a great, easy to talk to down to earth guy
Not necessarily the most expressive or open in the public forum, but we just kinda, I, I recall sitting at this table and I was next to him and we were drinking a bottle of Scotch and I was trying to find words. Yeah, just kind of hanging out. It was great, but that experience really changed my life because it was the first time in my life I really felt committed to throwing my all into something.
I gave it everything that I had every day, and I supported myself physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, throughout the process, which was quite grueling. You know, it was over a month of filming, six days a week, 4:00 AM wake ups and it panned out well for me.
Josh Sharkey [00:06:40]:
That it did well, you know, I think there's a lot of those shows and I think now there's probably a lot more talented cooks back then. Maybe it was a mixed bag, but there's definitely an anomaly with you because we worked together. So I know this, we are not only entertaining but an incredible cook as well and have an incredible palette.
Gabe Kennedy [00:06:55]:
Thank you. I appreciate that.
Josh Sharkey [00:06:58]:
That was a serendipitous opportunity for you.
Gabe Kennedy [00:07:01]:
For sure. It was. And also thinking about that whole time. I was reflecting on the industry generally, because it's like, I'm young but I'm not that young. Right? I'm 32 years old and so I think first off, that was at a moment when social media really wasn't a thing. So it was pre instagram era would've been a lot different if it was, I think as well.
And it was also, I was also coming out of a time working in restaurants where the culture was completely different. And a month of, of no days off, getting into the kitchen at eight, leaving at 2, 3, 4 in the morning and doing it again and again and again. I think I was getting paid like $217 a week or something.
So I feel like I was able to enter a situation like that with a pretty excited perspective. Like, oh, this is a cakewalk, you know, in comparison to grinding it out. So, yeah. A lot has changed, especially now being in a position of employing people both in a CPG business, but also in a restaurant. Like what is expected of how we work together?
Josh Sharkey [00:08:08]:
What is it like running a CPG company and also running a restaurant?
Gabe Kennedy [00:08:12]:
Plant People has been my life for the last six years. So plant people is my health and wellness company. We make mushroom gummies for focus sleep, stress, mood, and gut health. We also make capsules and some powdered beverages where we sell, you know, into Whole Foods market across the country, vitamin shoppe, et cetera.
Most of our business, however, is direct to the consumer. It's been an incredible learning experience to adapt to the storm. I feel like we've gone through a lot. We started in the hemp category that obviously, Changed, um, and kind of crashed and burned, and we were able to pivot and ride through covid and now finally kind of find our footing with really strong product market fit, again, with these mushroom gummies.
And so I think for me, it's really about having a marathon mentality and understanding that there's gonna be an ebb and a flow, and that there's not necessarily right or wrong decisions. Just making a decision is quite powerful in itself and we'll figure out the next thing. Obviously, we wanna make the most informed decisions that we can.
What guides those decisions is our core values and principles about trying to take care of people and the planet and make sure we're investing in the right kinds of materials, the right kinds of sourcing opportunities, and not compromising on the efficacy and customer outcome of the product. But also making sure that we continue to have the lights on.
And so as a company that's rooted in sustainability and sort of obviously this broader quote unquote wellness category, at times it's challenging. Like how do you balance doing all of the best practices with creating a business that is economically sustainable. It's a really interesting space to operate in and it's full of learning opportunities for me.
So I feel like I've grown just leaps and bounds over the last six years. And as far as a leader, as far as a business person, as far as just a human and as a person and professional. It’s been a remarkable ride. I think coming out of Covid, really missing the human interaction and working with my hands and being able to inhabit my hospitality spirit, which in my spirit of service, brings me so much joy, I was yearning for that.
And working remote, working on Zoom, and working on a computer can be challenging. And I kind of serendipitously had an opportunity to just lightly help my friend out with bringing the food and beverage program of his restaurant and venue back in house. And I was really inspired by him as a person and entrepreneur and was able to kind of help and started off as a light kind of consulting role, if you will, but just really friendly.
Like it wasn't anything very formal or engaged. It was like, sure, like I'd love to kind of contribute. And those contributions ended up being pretty meaningful and kind led to a deeper relationship and further involvement. And so being able to create a physical space and experience for people has given me a deep sense of fulfillment and excitement and also allowed me the space and opportunity to integrate further into this Los Angeles community, which I just moved to. So it's also been a really big blessing. And of course, being able to put my food out there and work with a talented team is always a total blast. And it feels great when it's received well, which knock on wood it is.
Josh Sharkey [00:11:50]:
Well as a chef it's like it's hard to go too long without getting your food out there. again.
Gabe Kennedy [00:11:54]:
I had to get back in there, man. I had to get back in there. I was chomping at the bit.
Josh Sharkey [00:12:00]
I feel you man. I feel you.
Gabe Kennedy [00:12:05]
And so I think to answer your question really directly it can be a bit of a challenge, right? I'm fortunate I'm not in the day to day ops, like scheduling people or anything like that, right. That would just be far too much. You know, I work 7:00 AM to three, 4:00 PM unplanned people, and I try to get some exercise and find ways to have balance, and then a few nights a week I'm going right to Checker Hall.
But to answer your question, like it's a challenge. I think I've always had a hard time with work life balance and I started cycling and trying to create some activities that take up a good amount of time so that I can really kind of decompress and nurture and nourish myself. And that has allowed me to be able to show up across the board with a clear head and, you know, open mind and be able to actually do the job.
Josh Sharkey [00:12:54]:
Yeah. Well, I wanna dig into the play a bit more, but maybe just because of what you mentioned, let's talk a little about, you know, creating that balance and just creating boundaries as an entrepreneur. As a chef, it's sort of done for you in a way, if all you are, you know, is running a restaurant because you have service, it starts at this time and it ends at this time, and you're gonna get in and you're gonna leave.
But with someone like you, it's the same for me. When you have a different type of business or you have multiple businesses, you have to sort of create your own structure. Otherwise it's just mayhem and you have to create boundaries. Otherwise, you could be working until 4:00 AM every day and get up and do the same thing, and there's times when that makes sense.
There's times when it's just counter productive. You have a lot of irons in the fire. How do you sort of create those boundaries for yourself? Do you have rules around like, okay, when I get up this hour is for me to do X and before I go into Checker Hall, if I have a Checker Hall day, I'm gonna do Y before I go in. Are there things that you've sort of set for yourself like that?
Gabe Kennedy [00:13:52]:
So I have like four things I try to tick off every day, which is movement. It’s very important for me to move my body. That usually happens in the afternoon because I start work with Plant People quite early. Some sort of like meditation or mindfulness activity.
I love sitting in front of this red light that I have in the morning. And just taking like 10 minutes to just meditate. Music, I gotta jam out to some great kind of music or express myself musically throughout the day. And then a meal, I need to have one like totally dedicated. It's not on the go.
I'm not just throwing something in my mouth out of a quart container or eating at a bar on the go. Like really sitting down and enjoying it. And I find those four things to be really helpful. I do have, you know, a pretty distinct structure and that's seven to mid-afternoon, 3:00, 4:00 PM like I'm all hands on deck with Plant People.
That is like my priority. I live and breathe. It's been six years that I've been on this, and we're at a really pivotal moment, and so making sure that I can show up as best as I can as a leader and as an operator is critical. We're also a small team, right? So we have to show up. You know, creating that afternoon space for me to go to the gym, or ride bikes or play some tennis is just a delight and I really look forward to it.
And then I would say that, I actually get a lot of, you know, nourishment out of watching and service happen and standing at the pass and making sure plates are right and serving and doing the things that, you know, you would expect people in our position to be able to do. But, you know, the boundaries have been something that I admittedly could be better at.
I work a lot and sometimes I think what I find is that if I'm not working, I feel like what am I doing right? Like what? Like that's where I started to be like, whoa, this is a little scary. The default becomes work as opposed to the default becoming a human being. And that's where I was like, okay,I need to make sure that I'm taking like weekends and I'm just taking these times to really sink into not doing anything, which can be really hard to do.I've seen you in the thick of it. How? How have you put structure around it?
Josh Sharkey [00:16:08]:
Well, it's funny you bring that up and we'll get it. I was actually opening up about this a little bit today, and maybe you and I can get a little vulnerable here too, as well. I have the same struggle and I'm, you know, 10 years older than you, but I'm still questioning, and I talk to my therapist now about it, just wondering why do I always on drive? Why am I constantly like the default being, do more, grow more? Add on more for sure. And there's obviously a benefit to that in some way as an entrepreneur or just ways you wanna be successful and things. But then the other side of the coin is, what are you driving towards? Why isn't it okay to stop?
And I haven't figured that out by the way. So that's not like this, this is by no means a life lesson. And it sounds like we're, as entrepreneurs, we all are trying to, if we're questioning these things, wondering why. But it is important. And I think another question I would have for you, and I think about this a lot too, when I'm thinking about something else outside of my business and I try as best as I can to focus. But let's be honest, like as an entrepreneur, you're always thinking about more things. How do you context switch when you're moving from Plant People to Checker Hall? And then is there any guilt or any like, oh, I need to be doing more of a Plant People, or, oh, I need to be doing more for Checker Hall when you're sort of, you know, switching between the two?
Gabe Kennedy [00:17:28]:
So the first thing I would say is that I completely agree with you. I question what is all this for ultimately? What am I looking for here? I would say that the second piece is I went and I took a long vacation around the beginning of the year. I took like two full weeks. I didn't open my computer once.
I didn't like any work stuff, and I went to Japan, which was like a lifelong dream of mine. And I found myself for a variety of reasons in relation to this conversation, found myself very moved and very emotional because I felt like for the first time in a really long time, I was really living, I was completely present.
And immersed in my surroundings and my partner and myself, and my smell and sight and taste, and it was just like truly living. And it was so beautiful and so nourishing and so restorative. And also in the same breath, a little bit sad for me to be like, whoa, like this feels like life. Like how do I tap into this on a daily, a weekly basis? Because this feels so good. So I've tried to, you know, work with my therapist, right? To like, figure out why was that and how do I bring it into my daily experience, because that's the kind of life that I wanna live and living completely, you know, technology free in a foreign country for many, many years on end is maybe not the most realistic thing for me at this moment.
But it was very special. So that was one thing that came up just kind of in response. I think as far as the balance and the guilt, I don't really feel guilty because I do have an order of priority and I do dedicate my work hours and beyond to this project Plant People that has been a part of my life for the last six years.
As I said, it is a really important moment to push over the finish line. I also recognize that without these other experiences, which are a big part of me, I would not be able to show up in the same way. And so one thing really pays my bills, which is Plant People, right? And like that is my priority. But this other thing is so deeply exciting for me and lights my fire.
And really gets me stoked. So it's important for me to be able to engage in that. And I spent the last six years, and I mean, if I'm being super honest, like six years, like really just putting the business before myself every day and now, like after six years, I'm like kind of poking my head out and being like, okay, what do I, as Gabe, an entire person need to do for myself, for my person, for my profession, for the things that I'm passionate about?
And quite frankly, like for my future. So what can I do? And I'm doing my best to be able to balance all of those things. And I think it comes down to communication, you know? And I feel really fortunate to have two great partners and friends within this who are really very near and dear to me. And the primary principle is just open communication.
We've gone through a lot together and there's been times where it's like, Hey, I need you to show up more, or, Hey, I'm gonna need more from you. And that goes both ways. And being able to integrate that feedback, listen to it, and move forward from it, knowing that we're in this for the long haul together is key. So the trusting communication has been like the buoy to allow these things to happen. And standing expectations.
Josh Sharkey [00:21:23]
It's great that you don't have that guilt because you shouldn't and it's not healthy. And I think about that because it just makes you better and those things need to be rounding out so that you know, when you're spending time away, it doesn't mean that that's not still a creative to Plant People because you're hearing yourself and you're improving other parts of your brain or your life or your happiness.
It's funny that, like, I think we're similar in this, that the thing that is respite for you from running this business is running another one. Yeah. But that's just sort of our world. My wife always gives me a hard time. The things that I love to do seem like work to most people, but I think it's just part of what we do.
Yeah. And also like, I will say like cycling has also been this huge thing that has been additive to my life and where it's like, it gives me time and space to think and disconnect and to explore and have kind of that sense of adventure that I found so exciting in Japan. And so I've been doing that with a few dear friends, and it's been another kind of pillar to my daily experience that has just risen all ships. I mean, look, there is inherently a little bit of guilt in all of these things because I am a firm believer that you can't spread yourself too thin. And so that's like the danger, right?
Like if I am spreading myself too thin and then the performance in any of these arenas starts to decline, then that's where, you know, looking in the mirror and being, okay, how do I kinda change this? Yeah, that's not serving anyone well.
Josh Sharkey [00:22:47]:
No, but it definitely sounds like you're being smart about it.
Gabe Kennedy [00:22:52]:
I'm trying my best.
Josh Sharkey [00:22:54]:
You see, somehow Elon Musk has three or four companies that are all massive.
Gabe Kennedy [00:22:58]:
That's hysterical. That'll be my rebuttal. If Elon Musk can do it. If Josh Sharky can do it.
Josh Sharkey [00:23:05]:
Yeah. Right. We were talking about that drive, right? Like why do we have this drive? The more that I think about it, I'm not sure yet. I'm still sort of trying to find out, at least for myself, but I think a lot of it is actually, maybe not even necessarily drive, but this sort of level of creativity. Like for me, like even if I'm on vacation or if I'm reading a book or if I'm on a run, I'm almost always thinking about something related to growing and improving.
I don't know if that's healthy either. Right. Like so when we are, like you were talking about being in Japan and you're sitting there and you're having this delicious meal. How much of when you're eating that is like, oh, that way that they glazed, that is such a great idea. I need to index that in my brain.
Or is it just, when can we just say, completely let go? And just enjoy it and not think about it. How it applies to, I don't know if that's something that you think about or struggle with, but I constantly am trying to find ways to, as best as I can, find some space.
Sounds like you have maybe with cycling where I'm not thinking about work and growing and improving. We're solving some problem. We probably are still solving the problem subliminally by stepping away and giving ourselves space. But I'm curious how you think about that.
Gabe Kennedy [00:24:24]:
Well, I always had a little notepad. I think if I'm cycling, I'm just trying to keep up with these people and I'm like, oh my God. Like, just make it up this hill. Just make it up. This hill puts me very much into the present. I'm very much self-improver.
I mean, I think you and I have a lot of similarities, but I remember when we were working together, you were beginning your ketosis journey. Oh yeah. And it's kind of just this like biohacking kind of, how can I improve? I, I constantly playing with like, what am I going to eat? Like what is gluten good for me and should I try being vegetarian?
Should I just go a little more keto? Like I'm always kind of tinkering. I'm just a tinkerer in that way. So it can be hard to kind of disconnect, but I kind of go back to that, a study tip and hack that I learned when I was really young, which was like, If you're trying to memorize something, do dedicated, you know, 10 minutes of really trying to memorize how to spell this word or whatever, and then you like walk away, get a drink of the water fountain and come back to it, and usually it's there. So I do think that that space is, is healthy and important and ultimately very productive.
Josh Sharkey [00:25:29]:
It requires letting go. Yeah. Which is not easy for people that are constantly trying to improve.
Gabe Kennedy [00:25:38]:
Well sometimes it's like, okay, well what am I doing this for? Does literally any of this matter? Probably not.
Josh Sharkey [00:25:43]:
If you start going down some rabbit holes of, like how far away galaxies are and how there's probably a thousand or a billion or infinite numbers of Earths and questioning that.
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We were talking about health and sort of digging into things like, should you be keto, should you be paleo? But maybe we can sort of get back a little bit to what you're doing with Plant People and a lot of what it has to do with mushrooms, adaptogens. Can you maybe just for anybody that doesn't know, like talk about what adaptogen are. How are you sort of using those in your product?
Gabe Kennedy [00:27:10]:
With Plant People, we create like regenerative solution based products, and so every product is doctor formulated and anything edible is, you know, chef crafted by nature of me. But they all drive towards addressing some of the more challenging issues that we have, whether it's sleep or stress, mood, gut health, energy focus, et cetera.
Really our mission is to continue to look back and look forward around the treasure chest, if you will, of opportunity that nature has to support us, and that may be adaptogens, nootropics, it may be pre- and probiotics, you kind of, you name it. Adaptogens being a buzzword at the moment. Truly do adapt to what your body's needs are.
There's a specific definition, which is their non-toxic, non-specific and normalizing. I think there's maybe a few other attributes, but generally you can consume them in high quantities and they're safe. They are not specific to any one particular function, work across the body and work to normalize or, you know, bring your body back to homeostasis in the most sort of common application.
And what people talk about is,for stress and mood and helping regulate our cortisol response, which is our stress hormone. And so over time you see the benefit of these compounds, whether it's rhodiola or ashwagandha or rashi or lion's mane, et cetera, begin to kind of build and compound and we are able to manage life with a little bit more ease and a little bit less reactivity emotional response.
We also like to lean into nootropics, which are different plants or herbs. We're much more like the natural world, so hence our name plant people we're not, you know, dropping in crazy compounds, but more mushrooms and herbs. Nootropics to support cognition and brain health. And we also include some nutraceuticals for a more immediate effect, if that makes sense.
So the foundation of the product is how can we deliver an immediate effect to help you sleep better or have more energy focused or be less stressed? How do we create a product that you can continue to utilize that is only gonna get better over time? And then hopefully, you're able to reestablish the relationship with that challenge.
So, wow, now I have a new relationship to sleep. I don't have to necessarily keep taking these, perhaps I can sort of do it on my own now. So we sort of see our products as tools to getting back to, you know, your true self and, and where you want to be. Of course, I would love for you to purchase them well into the future, but if we can empower you or others, or ourselves to have ownership over our own health and agency around how we can engage with it, then that's a win.
Josh Sharkey [00:30:06]:
Yeah, I think I texted you a while back because I was, I've been taking ashwagandha for a very long time. At least I was, I was taking a lot, maybe more than I realized, I should have been like 1200 milligrams a day for like seven months and it helped and then I stopped taking it and holy shit, you never know until you stopped, but like there's like this ashwagandha withdrawal.
Gabe Kennedy [00:30:27]:
What was that like?
Josh Sharkey [00:30:33]:
It was rough, man. I felt like for a day, literally like, I was going through psychosis. I was like, oh my god. Really depressed for four days. I was like, what is going on? And then I finally started doing some research. I was like, oh, got it. Yeah, I stopped ashwagandha.
That's what I texted you about. Wow. No, I remember that. What else to use? And these things work. My wife uses mushroom gummies. The Plant People mushroom gummies. But you know, you started in CBD back when every other company was gonna be a CBD company and you were pretty smart too, you know how to pivot.
But I think that psilocybin is starting to become, you know, more prevalent, decriminalized now starting to be equalized. Is that something that you're thinking about as a product at some point? The use of psilocybin or other psychedelics as a way to, you know, to help with mood?
Gabe Kennedy [00:31:28]:
I definitely think that there's a time and place. So we established Plant People with this idea that we wanted to drive towards solutions and CBD was an ingredient at the time that had and still does, I think have a lot of relevance, it's very relevant for people dealing with particular things. I don't think it's the end all. Hence why we named our company Plant People, not CBD people.
We want to be a legacy brand that can exist well into the future and explore this broader ecosystem. We are pretty early. We were able to definitely grow the business through the early days of the CBD kind of boom, so to speak. But then it continued to evolve. Right now, mushrooms I think, are gonna have a similar trajectory.
I hope that it doesn't get oversaturated, but it does feel like every day there's a new mushroom company coming out. The psychedelic component is very exciting and I think very helpful for people. Unfortunately, for a business like us, it's illicit and so, you know, if we could never kind of dabble in that category and also be in a retailer like Whole Foods or Vitamin Shop.
I do think that if there is a time and place with the right kind of partnerships, who knows how far into the future, right? Perhaps we are known as the mushroom gummy people and there could be a natural evolution into that, but it's a pretty sticky area to get into as an aboveboard business. I do know a lot of people who are in that business and they're doing very, very well, very, very well, because it's all cash too.
Josh Sharkey [00:32:58]:
I wanna just preface for a minute like, my wife still takes CBD from Plant People. It's not CBD oil anymore. Specifically, a sleep drop kind of thing that you guys have. CBD works great for sleeping.
Gabe Kennedy [00:33:05]:
And mind you, we were always, and always have been blending other ingredients and so that particular product, it's not just CBD, it's also CBN, and there's, you know, botanical terpenes and all these different kind of research backed elements that drive towards a delightful outcome for whoever choose to take it. I'm glad she takes it. I'll send you some.
Josh Sharkey [00:33:33]:
Let me ask, you could feel free to pass, by the way, if tomorrow psilocybin was legal everywhere would you be selling psilocybin?
Gabe Kennedy [00:33:33]:
That's a great question. I mean, I would certainly be interested, I'd have to consult with my other half of the business to see what his perspective is before making any kind of decision. But the truth is, what kind of roadmap would that lead to, right? Because we've been in this for six years and at some point it's like, okay. Do we keep on operating as is? Do we align with another strategic entity? Is there an acquisition? Is there a big fundraise that puts us into a VC cycle? Like thinking through the long-term trajectory and any implications, but if it was completely legal, then perhaps it wouldn't really impact the trajectory in any way.
Josh Sharkey [00:34:25]:
But I find it to be interesting. I've dabbled quite a bit throughout my life with psilocybin and mostly in the microdosing world, but it has a really profound effect if you use it the right way.
Gabe Kennedy [00:34:35]:
So it's interesting because I too have, and I've actually had mixed experiences, like I, at a very early age, was interested in psychedelics and I read some books by Carlos Costata, Way of the Don Juan and like I really see the importance and ritual around psychedelics and as learning tools, tools for our self-growth and evolution. I have not had great experiences when microdosing. And I don't know if that is because I am not a depressive person, and so maybe it's just like I don't need it.
But I've actually had experiences where it hasn't served me very well. So I do think there's a lot of excitement around it, but I'm a little bit more in the camp of like, I wanna do this for like go in with intentions and kind of exist and experience it, and then work on integrating those things, but the daily or three on two off, two on three, whatever the kind of format is.
Josh Sharkey [00:35:42]:
I'm sure it has different effects on everybody. I'm sure it probably is pretty invasive for other people, so.
Gabe Kennedy [00:35:50]:
Yeah, exactly. So it's interesting cause I know it's kind of all the rage, right? I'm happy it works for a lot of people. Yeah. But I've just had different experiences with it.
Josh Sharkey [00:35:58]:
Well, why don't we shift track for a minute because on top of being a chef and running a really successful CPG company and all those other things we mentioned earlier, you have quite a way with the media. I think you, you fully grew up with it either, but you know, you work with a lot of food brands and other brands now and it's a big part of what you do.
So outside of just, you know, running your company and being a chef, you're working with a lot of brands and, you know, this is something that I think a lot of chefs in particular are finding more opportunities with. And I'd love to maybe just dig in for a minute about how you found success in that. What's worked for you? Any advice for chefs that are trying to work with brands that's worked for you?
Gabe Kennedy [00:36:40]:
Thank you for the compliment, but it's very interesting because at first there was definitely a bit of a stigma a while ago, right?
The mentality, especially within the culinary world, is that you work your way up and you work in restaurants and the like. We're on the station, you become a sous chef. You like to put in the work, you put in the hours. And like any kind of shortcuts or like entrepreneurial skips is maybe not necessarily embraced.
It took a lot for me to kind of like not listen to that, and I have always really looked at my life as like, what gets me excited? What do I feel is a calculated risk or opportunity that I'm willing to like. It has to be exciting enough and interesting enough and kind of big enough for me to like to take that leap.
You know, I leapt into, you know, Plant People. I leapt into that show. I kind of fell into the media thing for a variety of reasons. I enjoy creation. I would fancy myself a pretty creative person, and I think making videos has always been a bit of a creative outlet. When there was an opportunity for people, when people were coming to me and saying, Hey, like I would like to professionally engage you in this, it also became a pretty great way to subsidize underpaying myself as an entrepreneur.
And so feeling pretty fortunate that, okay, I get to do this as a creative outlet, but also it allows me to do this other thing that I also really love. And I am grateful for that. I think that the advice that I would have, I really don't like the whole like influencer word because if people consider me an influencer, I'm like, oh man, I find that offensive because I really have tried my whole life to like create things of value and like do and build things that are just outside of myself.
I happen to be in a position where, you know, now people want to hear from me and that's opened up these opportunities. But I think that for me, the key is trying to just do something that's really cool and that people want to hear about, and people want to be kind of involved in as far as the content itself, making it digestible and beautiful and informative or funny. You know, just entertainment is kind of the key to it. And something I have to constantly remind myself is that it doesn't have to be perfect, that you just kind of gotta do it and not spend too long on it. Otherwise, you'll never finish it.
Josh Sharkey [00:39:26]:
I mean, I've seen your videos. Do you have someone that helps you like take those videos or just using a stand?
Honestly, I have my iPhone and I have like a bowl or like for the longest time, literally I'd like to put my iPhone like in a cup and put it just so it would angle to my cutting board. And I'd do a few things. I learned how to use Premier, the editing software and yeah, I would just kinda cook something and film myself doing it, and then try to, instead of watching TV at night or a show, like just kind of sit on my computer and try to figure out how I could edit something or like, is there a style that resonated with me?
Okay. I can try to mimic that. Or is there something that now I wanna do a little bit different? Okay, I'll mimic that or I'll try to just create that. It's pretty piecemeal, like it'd be a funny kind of behind the scenes thing because. Literally, I had my phone in a bowl and I had a flaky salt container like wedged to hold it from slipping.
Josh Sharkey [00:40:23]:
That's so funny. You would never think that since some videos.
Gabe Kennedy [00:40:27]:
I would love for someone to just do it, to help me do it, because that's a, that's been the hurdle to actually really creating things. It's a big time investment, you know, not only are you shopping, you're cooking, you're filming, you're cleaning. It's a little bit messier for me when I'm doing that because I'm kind of just like, there's other things that are going on and then once you're done, you gotta sit down at the computer and upload it and make sure the files, it's the whole thing.
Josh Sharkey [00:40:57]:
So how long does a one minute video take you?
Gabe Kennedy [00:41:00]:
I could not even tell you. It can be really fast or it could be a long time. It's so hard to say. I wish I knew I should punch the clock.
Josh Sharkey [00:41:08]:
So it sounds like the advice you have is just, just start doing it.
Gabe Kennedy [00:41:10]:
Just start doing it. Just get out there, you know? Yeah. Don't be afraid.
Josh Sharkey [00:41:13]:
How do you negotiate pricing now for these brands?
Gabe Kennedy [00:41:15]:
I have someone who does that for me. I don't feel comfortable doing that. So that was the other thing, right? Like if this is gonna be any part of my life, it needs to be relatively streamlined. I am not a full-time content creator. Having someone who's gonna be supportive and just make sure that it's fair and it makes sense and look at the things and make sure that it's all well and good and let me know, and then I can go and do it. That's great. But it's also awkward and uncomfortable to be like, yeah, yeah, it's not enough. Can I get a little bit more? And they're like, well, you know, it's just weird.
Josh Sharkey [00:41:35]:
Well, you know, it's funny you say like, you know, when you started this, I remember, you know, first met you were doing some of this. I think there was that sort of notion from some of the chef community, like, oh, it's selling out, be doing that.That typically comes from a place of insecurity, I think, or fear. I don't know. I have that even though that's not what they're saying.
Because I remember the first time I saw it, I was like, Well, that's awesome. We can actually leverage our talent and our skillset to generate income. Why are we not doing that more? And we're probably getting underpaid. You're probably still getting underpaid for whatn you’re doing. But yeah, finally.
Gabe Kennedy [00:42:29]:
And also why not? As someone who's actually educated, I mean, that's been my thing, right? Like I want to demonstrate expertise. I want to like, Share the knowledge that I have. We are chefs, and there are many people who just know abundantly more than I do. Why not share that and leverage it as opposed to letting someone, and here's the challenge that I have, is that there are people who can just be chilling at home all day, make a video.And those were, that was kinda like the first wave, right? There were people who actually had no idea what they were doing.
It probably didn't taste good, probably didn't, maybe it looked pretty, but there was no actual technique for it. Maybe it took them a whole day to make this thing. Why not be able to showcase and share the expertise in professionalism that you as a chef have in habits.
So I think why not? Right? But it was interesting because I worked at Bon Appetit on the publishing side, and it was kind of like the early days I was, I did a very early like branded video. It's like one of the first kinds of brand integration videos with this series, cook like a pro. And then I just start, like, after that I started to just see it take off.
Not necessarily for me, actually. It didn't take off for me, took off for others. But you know, I think being an entrepreneur is like looking at what are the opportunities? What are people consuming, how are people consuming? And whether that's what we decide to put on a menu or what kind of opportunity we choose to dive into.
The data tells the truth. So that was, in fact, I am kind of jumping around, but how like the mushroom gummies came about. It was what people wanting to consume, which is mushrooms and how people consume, which is through edibles or eating delicious little treats as opposed to taking a capsule.
Why is no one doing that with mushrooms? And so we were like one of the first, if not the first person, to kind of blend those two. That structure with that ingredient functionality and it was like, yeah, just took off. So I think that just is like the lesson I've learned across my career as I'm just looking for like, where's the momentum? Like where's the opportunity? How do I incorporate my set of beliefs and values and things that I find to be important and kind of essential into those things.
Josh Sharkey [00:44:54]
Yeah, to tease out a lot of what you just said, I think it's really analogous, like what you talked about creating videos online, what you started with Plant People and The Taste.
I think, you know, being an entrepreneur, it's very analogous to just any sort of venture you wanna start. I think what always happens is you worked in some great kitchens, but you didn't do it for 15 years, right? Yeah. So it's very easy to say no, certainly not. It's very easy to say, well, there's somebody that knows more than me that should be doing this, or somebody's already doing this.
Every business that someone questions like, well, somebody's already probably has gummies. And I think that you talked before about just making a decision and having a bias towards action. And I think that's the biggest unlock anybody can have if you're going to grow or if you wanna become an entrepreneur.
Somebody might be doing it. Somebody might have more experience than you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. And if you keep doing it and iterating and getting better, then you're gonna be great. You'll be great comparative to you. And you might be better than some, but at the very least you'll be the best version of you and you just do it.
It's funny, I was asking you like, how do you get into working with food brands and how do you sort of create these videos? And your answer is so refreshing. Cause it's like. Dude, I just did it. I didn't have a videographer. Let's just try it. I didn't have money. I had what I knew about food and I just went and did it.
And I think that's the lesson from this is like, especially for chefs, cause there's so many of us and there's so many, you always find someone who's a better cook, who can touch the find like we saw better than you can or, but we all have our skill set in any industry and you just gotta get out there and just do it.
Gabe Kennedy [00:46:31]:
Yeah, this episode was brought to you by Nike. Just do it. I agree. I mean, very well said. And for me too, it's a little bit of like, I gotta detach the ego. I gotta just like, who cares? I may try something and it just is really bad and like, that's okay. People may not like it and that's okay. That's fine. I don't need to have multiple Michelin stars. I don't need to have a million followers or this or that or whatever. Like, is it something that I enjoy doing? Does it scratch my itch? Is it additive to my life? Absolutely. So, all right, let it ride.
Gabe Kennedy [00:46:51]:
Well, I love seeing you keep growing in your career and everything that you do, man. It's inspiring. And likewise.
Josh Sharkey [00:47:22]:
You know, I think about the age you are now is the age that I was when you were on The Taste and seeing how you continue to sort of grow and in your career is, it's really inspiring and I hope everybody can take that same approach. So I appreciate knowing you and it's getting you to see all the things that you're doing.
Gabe Kennedy [00:47:39]:
I appreciate you as well. I feel like you are one of the most, first off, thank you so much. That really means a lot, especially coming from you because I really feel like you are one of the most talented, well-rounded individuals that like I've ever met, your ability to be a great friend and partner and family person and a cook and chef and operator and entrepreneur and technology innovator and still throw a crazy dinner party is just astounding
Josh Sharkey [00:48:09]:
It was a warm and fuzzy show today.
Gabe Kennedy [00:48:11]:
This was a warm and a fuzzy one, eh?
Josh Sharkey [00:48:13]:
We're wrapping up here. Appreciate you, even know you had a three to four hour dentist appointment today.
Gabe Kennedy [00:48:32]:
I know, dude. My tooth is killing me.
Josh Sharkey [00:48:35]:
I can only imagine, man. But you're crazy. You still came on like playing with it in the back. So anything else you wanna share with this is a lot of chefs, I'm guessing, right? This is a new podcast, but I'm assuming it's probably a lot of chefs, restaurant owners, food tech people, just people in the food industry, among others. People that love food. Anything else you wanna share with the audience?
Gabe Kennedy [00:48:50]:
Sure. Well, thanks so much for listening. If there's anything that you wanna do, chat about, connect, collaborate, create, answer a question. If I can be helpful, let me know. But I would love to send you some gummies, love to have you in for a meal. See what happens. And just appreciate being able to, you know, continue to build community.
Josh Sharkey [00:49:20]:
So everybody out there that plantpeople.co. And then if you're in LA go to Checker Hall and you can also just DM Gabe and ask him to hang out.
Thanks for tuning into The meez Podcast. The music from the show is a remix of the Song Art Mirror by an old friend, hip-hop artist, Fresh Dailey. For show notes and more, visit getmeez.com. That's G E T M E E Z.com/podcast. If you enjoyed the show, I'd love it if you can share it with your fellow entrepreneurs and culinary pros and give us a five star rating wherever you listen to your podcast.
Keep innovating. Don't settle. Make today a little better than yesterday. And remember, it's impossible for us to learn what we think we already know. See you next time.