The Story Behind #KitchenHustle and How to Fuel Your Hustle - Chef Charles Chen
Why you should listen -
Chef, entrepreneur and the host of #KitchenHustle, creator of Dinner Club & Party In Your Mouth, Charles Chen talks about how to Fuel Your Hustle. Charles talks about his personal story and how he got into the world of health and he reveals his favorite go-to superfood snacks, supplements and daily routines that fuels his hustle.
Podcast with Charles Chen
Ross: On the podcast today we have Charles Chen. Charles is a chef entrepreneur and a host of kitchen hustle. He is the creator of dinner club and party in your mouth wellness festival. Charles it’s a pleasure having you on the show, thanks so much for being here.
Charles: Of course I love this studio by the way
Ross: Thank you green hair pas of green because of pure greens.
Charles: Yeah that’s great, people can’t see it but there’s a bunch of juice in front of us.
Ross: Yes yes and so Charles can youtell us a little bit about your personal story and what inspired you to get into wellness?
Charles: Yeah I actually struggled my way. For a while I was growing up, I was a hundred pounds heavier, I was prediabetic. I just had no motivation whatsoever, I eat junk food almost every single day. So completely different diet from what I eat today. I kind of found myself in the kitchen to heal my body, I found ingredients and functional ingredients to help cure my diabetis you know symptoms and things like that got to reverse everything to diet and exercise and lifestyle changes you know changing my thoughts I've been able to transform my life and I’m just paying it forward in helping as much as I can to help others you know get n the right path.
Ross: That is amazing and for those of you listening if you go to Charles Chen.tv you can actually see a before and after picture and you lost a hundred pounds
Charles: Yeah a hundred pounds, I feel like I lost the person birth of a guy
Ross: Oh my God that's like such an amazing shift. So what was it that really helped you to loose a 100 pounds like that’s extraordinary.
Charles: I mean I think the food is obvious right, a lot of people talk about the food and smoothies. I think it not all great things, the main thing that really helped me trigger change was changing my mindset all the subconscious things that we don't really talk about. The inner child boonze that we have, trauma from when you’re growing up and the self talk. We have so much negative self talk everyone have all thesethoughts every single day about how much that is actually good for you and you know serving your highest thought good
Ross: Yeah so it is really the psychology component right there
Charles: You also mentioned nutrition, for me I used to be in the fitness industry and then I made a shift over jeez because as part it I look at garbage is really how do we get people to shift into more of a healthy lifestyle and I looked at him I’m like 80% of it is really nutrition but it is also a component but it's really the nutrition.
Ross: You talked like that because you're also known as a chef. How did you get into cooking, tell us about that.
Charles: Oh I started cooking to really heal my body you so just like you said I wanted to put things like wow if I'm eating processed food I’m going to feel like crap but if I start putting a good stuffs high nutrient sustenance I’m going to actually have more energy you know have mental clarity no fogginess any of that. So I started looking at okay how can I propel my performance by eating the right things and I started studying how foods are not equal you know processed foods things that are fried or high in sugar thing that actually whey you down. So I just swapped out some of these things and instantly I got more energy and I was like okay there is something here so how can I have peak performance all the time eat what I love you but still have that nutritious flavour and you know never depriving myself
Ross: So I know you and you are into superfoods. Where did you learn about?
Charles: You know what, it was just learning out. After I lost all the weight I was like okat it’s great I lost weight but like I need to have things that give me that extra goof, and I was like oh wow David Wolfe came in and I was doing all this research I was going into longievity conferences learning about superfoods, cacowa, mocka all these adapted there are so many like secrets around the world that they have been using for years and I was like oh wow I‘m going to learn more about this. Goji berries for example, I've been eating it ever since I was little, in chinese culture we put in some bone brox and savory dishes but I never knew they had all these healing benefits. I always remember my parents say Can I ask you for your eyes but diving deep I am just like wow how can I incorporate more of these foods into my diet so I’d feel great
Ross: You know what that is so funny, that's actually the same way that I discovered superfoods. I went to those longievity now seminars, I’ve hung out with david before and that's how I discovered a lot of these adaptogenic herbs and you know the Goji berries with brontë guardens and that's how I got into it too. That's really funny.
Charles: Yeah I love adaptogenic herbs and I think they are making more of a splash to mainstream right now because everyone wants things that make them feel great. We want longevity, we want you know things that are going to sustain us and these are things that are in nature already so it is very obvious, why not just go back to our roots.
Ross: Yeah you know with this thing is and I know you spent a lot of time in LA. And in LA like adaptogenic herbs is really big that everyone knows about it. It is always like things start in LA and then like 3 to 5 years later they come to NewYork. So is I want to include adaptogenic herbs in behrain and I don't know if everyone's really ready for it yet but I feel like they're starting to. We are doing formulas using a lot of these medicinal herbs and ethnic flavors coming out but can you talk a little bit about your time in LA and you know what you discovered from being out there and all the health trends.
Charles: Yeah I mean especially being in LA because the entertainment capital is there, you know a lot of people are very health conscious. They live by the beach you know, farmers markets are easily available, so it's just like a natural lifestyle. So it definitely starts there but I love that you bring it out here and adaptogenic herbs are so powerful things like Ashwagandha, Mocha, Reishi. I am really into mushrooms right now so medicinal mushroom there's so many benefits like healing your immune system, leaky gut. All these things fascinate me because they honestly make you feel like so good.
Ross: Changes your state.
Charles: Yeah I think it's all about how you package it especially for the New Yorkers like they are used to their quick fixes and they don't want you know. I think they are open to it, I think it is the way that we tell our story. I think that's where the marketing all that stuff like how do you package it in a way that people can actually digest it easily. One of the a new brand that I'm really into is called schismatic is that the way that their branding is like coffee like a healthy coffee with like medicinal mushrooms in there
Ross: So fortunately I have the one has the coffee and shaga. That one is like my favorite and it is amazing. In the morning I usually have a butter coffee but I also have one of the four semantics the shage one and it just an instant state change. Like if you have that you can just think more clearly.
Charles: So good I mean it is already things that people are going to do so that's why that's such a great thing that they are implementing is that people already drink coffee we know we can't like tell them not to do it. It is not like water, add something that is good for you and have some benefits and functionality in there.
Ross: I love it. Now next question do you think that in new york right now, do you think new yorkers are ready for this? I’m coming out with this smoothie and it starts using these adaptogenic herbs if we did one with Shaga, Reishi. Do you think that new yorkers would appreciate it or is there a lot of educational component we still have to do?
Charles: It is educational component but I think if you can sell it to them to the point where they seem valuable. So say like for fashion enthusiast they are pretty ahead of trends so they are like if they are in fashion week whatever they want peak performance. I think you can sell to that, that’s like a beauty tonic or there is a lot of hustlers here in NewYork. Everyone is on the go if you can say like a brain tonic. I think four semantics just came out with another brand or another product that all about brain function like hacking your brain and like making sure like you have peak performance. So I think it is the wayyou package it. If you can do it right and then tell a story of why this is good for you, make it simplified that even a little kid can digest it then yeah you have something
Ross: Yeah I was just speaking with this company called Mungys they came out with dos, sex dosa all these and it's just clever marketing but the quality of the medicinal herbs in there is great and you are getting the medicinal benefits.
Charles: Yeah that fascinates me though, because I come from a background of marketing. After I finished school, I was working for a superfood company and that's how I actually got into all the superfoods. I worked for one of the companies that David Wolfe started promoting that easily brought Goji berries and to the market. So that's like I started studying all these medicinal benefits like my new boss will go to Peru and bring all these great ancient things like Mocka and like teach us all these things. But marketing and tell them the story, I love that.
Ross: Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up because I really have a lot of questions for you there. I mean I'm so impressed with when I go to your website charleschen.tv and I look at these kitchen hustle videos. I mean it is really funny, it is awesome and I encourage all our listeners to check it out and you've got some amazing gas on the show and it is like they're having fun with that. Can you talk a little about that like what drove you to kind of create this?
Charles: Yeah well you know Ross like I am naturally a curious kid. I’m like always the one that was asking questions and I get into trouble for raising my hands all the time. But I was like these high-performing people whether they are in business or they are celebrities or whatever field they are in, they are killing it. And I’m just naturally curious like what drives their performance like what's their why and how are they fueling themselves in the kitchen. So I kind of bridged both worlds just like kitchen hustle, how do I bring on a guest just like Marie Forlier or Gary Vee? How can they share with me what is their morning routine like what's that on their performance and how are they able to maintain longevity? All these things and that's where it came from. And I wanted to create something that we actually want to watch because we are all fighting for people attention spans nowadays. It's like why is someone going to watch my stuff is like well you get the recipes you get the business stuff all on one. So it is like if you are going to choose podcasts, why don’t you just chose something that you can get a bunch or you can learn recipes. I want to provide the most value and that's what I try to do.
Ross: I love it and it is so cool and it is funny. Like you get all these guys to dance around the kitchen and hold on a minute is there like making like this movie are they are making the product?
Charles: Yeah, you so do you share a recipe with us because I was like okay everyone interviewing your view like hey what’syour business or strategy but it is like why don’t we asked something that nobody else asked like what do you eat in the morning. Like hey can you show me can you share a recipe and that’s something and everyone can connect with because everyone eat food.
Ross: I love it. It is so entertaining, so great. The content is great and it is so cool, great job!
Charles: Thank you.
Ross: So I want to bring it back to you. What I really want to know is you and these other guys and find now kind of their morning routines. I'm really interested in hearing yours because your energy is through the roof like you have an amazing energy, you light up the room. Where does energy come from, how do you start your day? Can you walk us through it?
Charles: Yeah I start my morning very quietly. Meditation is key I think that. That just bring me something int the air. I think it's really important for people to know why they are doing what they are doing. Lots of people transact businesses or they're going to school and doing all these things and I heard someone who I just had a conversation with recently and he said you know what I just took two months off to just stop working because everyone is in this rat race and they don’t even know why they are doing it. And I was like wow that's just like a medieval like you are so right. Most people don't know why they are doing what they are doing and door for me meditations it sets intention of like what are you doing today and like what's your intention what are you hoping to bring to the world? There are so many things going on that are outside of our control but what is it that I can contribute and how can I use my life as a platform? For me it is always a bigger picture, it’s not about just like this sure like this quickfix like get this money or whatever. For me I always think what how can I provide the most value for my audience how can I make the most you know for the planet? Things like that, I think bigger picture. I think meditation is definitely something I bring with me everywhere even if I’m traveling because yes you know the juices and smoothies I love too. Those are like I don’t know the cherry on top. If I can have those I feel amazing but for me like meditation is like my tonight like I need to do that every day.
Ross: That’s what keeps you grounded
Charles: It keeps me grounded, it keeps me centered and kind of clear my intentions so that I can say no to the things that don't mean anything to me.
Ross: How long do you meditate for? Estimate for like how many minutes would you say?
Charles: 10 minutes is great, 30 minutes is amazing but I tried to do it as everyday is different. As long as I do it it makes me feel like I have checked in with myself before I go out into the world, I’d just check my email answer on social media like allright let’s check in with myself. Like how are you doing today was going on, what are we working on today and I think it's a slop
Ross: So meditation you start out with that, 10 to 30 minutes.
Ross: And just for those of us who aren’t really into meditation like do you do any type of crazy stuff or anything? How do you do it?
Charles: No, you can literally lay down like in your same way that you sleep. I always put my palms up so that it is facing open or closed since like your open. It’s almost like you are surrendering to the universe that you know that there's something higher power than you and you're not in control everything and you just surrender. I think that's when things happen and things are flowing, it is always when I’m in this moment of like Okay I surrender I don't know what to do and I just want to be of service and that like creates something magical in the air like I feel like things start to flow because we always have goals and we have things like we want things happen this time you know and this to happen but it's like sometimes you just have to like, okay I did everything in my power now and I just like release it.
Ross: Yes, I love that and have you ever heard of the expression like you can bring a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Like I always have this philosophy where you can bring him there and you can make him drink. But so you are saying you just stay grounded, meditate, you just get super super focused. I definitely need to do a lot more of that.
Charles: No, I think it’s great. I mean NewYorkers especially when I know I’m coming to NewYork I do it all the time like when I wake up and this is the reason why I live in LA because I feel very grounded there and I know that when I come to new york it's a lot of work, I’m like go go go So I force myself to meditate more here because it is easier to do. I don’t know why but here it is like I need it even more. You are constantly on the go nonstop, things are you know basically hashing fires. As an entrepreneur you are hashing fires every single day. Ask me like what do you do and you’re like basically maneuvering and hashing fires and telling people like this is where you need to go. You got to lead and then like people looking up to you. But if you're stressed out like you don't know what to do how can they follow because they are not inspired. So I feel like any leaders, any entrepreneurs if you're leading a team it is your duty to like set a higher standard or like set the tone
Ross: Allright. So after meditation
Charles: I go straight to the gym and I listen to music. Music is my therapy and my jam is like my thinking time.
Ross: What kind of music do you listen to?
Charles: Hip-hop. What I’m listening to right now is Kendrick Lemar’s Awesome and also lots of 90s hipop and I love house music. House music is like no lyrics, I just go in a zone, I can process things. I kind of map out my day like alright, I already have a schedule and I look at it before I go to the gym and I’m like okay I need to call this person, I need to send this email so I start taking notes, its like my processing time.
Ross: I love it. I think we have similar interest in music that’s why I love to move when I listen to music.
Charles: Yeah, I have a playlist I send on wifi, you guys can follow for all art of hustle is
Ross: I will check it out and we will put that in the show notes
Charles: Yeah yeah for sure but work out, intermittent fasting I don't eat anything. I like to work out on empty stomach. I love how I feel when I’m doing weights and running, cardio whatever, it just makes me feel great and I have my first my first meal after my workouts. Usually a smoothie or something light and that sustains me till like I don’t know three to four o'clock. I feel like this is the real deal because I don't tell a lot of people and everyone is like I'm a chef and I work in foods. So people are like what are you eating and I’m like honestly I drink a smoothie and I drink juice and eat one meal a day. That’s an ideal or how I feel when I function optimally. I do great when I do that.
Ross: That's awesome and just for listeners who don't know about intermittent fasting so he's basically going 15 hours without eating any solid foods right. And there are certain things that can interrupt it right. If you have your coffee if you are happier and for somatic tes that is not going to interrupt fast and then when you break the fast so you do your meditation, you work out, you are going without food 15 hours and sleep is included in that and then what's your first meal? How do you break the fast?
Charles: First meal is just like a smoothie or something that's easy to digest or like proteins. I love like wild caught salmon, like sweet potatoes and greens. I think about the four things like healthy fats, leafy greens, fiber and proteins. So those are kind of like my things I stick to.
Ross: What’s your go to smoothie?
Charles: Smoothie I love the coconut milk based macha and fat based protein, I like that mocka in there. Yeah it all depends on what I have available but those are like I love macho. Macho likes helps me have mental clarity and mike I just don't have any crushes. I do low sugar in my smoothie so then I don’t have any sugar crushes.
Ross: Fascinating! What supplements are you taking?
Charles: I love probiotics, I swear by them especially when I’m traveling. It keeps my immune system in check. Another thing I take, I’m taking mushroom, it has a bunch of medicinal mushrooms in there like reishi shaga things I take that every day and then at home in LA I definitely have much staff in LA. I take tumeric and I take milk thistle daily. Those are the main things yeah
Ross: Great! That is awesome and what else?
Charles: What else Colden and I take two. I put them into smoothies, they are a great source of protein for the ligaments post work out. I always think about what's going to actually fuel my next workout. So big on the tumeric that’s why I add that into my smoothie. Colden what else?
Ross: Do you have an evening routine?
Charles: Oh yeah I do. I take natural corn, magnesium is huge that’s what I almost forgot. At nighttime I just drink you know a little tablespoon of the magnesium corm, natural by thales is my go to. It has calcium in there and it absorbs the magnesium especially in NewYork I feel like that’s a big one that I recommend. A lot of people are on the go and they kind of like a lovers you know are especially if you do caffeine every single day. So take your magnesium, it helps you unwind and it gives you like really great sleep.
Ross: I think most new yorkers or most people in general are magnesium deficient so having magnesium before you go to bed would definitely help you sleep and help you recover.
Charles: So that’s a great one yeah.
Ross: That’s awesome.
Charles: And in the nighttime just water. We have something in common, we love these csh
Ross: Yes, oh my God! We were talking about that before
Charles: So if I’m going to want like an healthy snack like quack and the csh chips they're basically made out of cassava flour and then what else? This flowers chips its healthy and it's pretty clean
Ross: And the natural flavor is unbelievable.
Charles: I look at the sodium content and I’m like really because it tastes so much more saltier
Ross: It does but if I start I’ll finish the whole bag
Charles: Oh for sure! And one portion control tip is that you actually bring a bowl and just pour your set amount so that you don’t eat anymore because if you have the whole bag, you just eat the whole thing.
Ross: Yes but that’s my go to snack too. Its do funny the chips with quack
Charles: And it doesn’t like whey you down that’s the main thing. Any food that I put into my body I'm hoping that it fuels me enough so I don't you much in the day because I’m working and I need to be constantly on the go. So I just kind of fill myself with what and things that can sustain my healthy fats. Mct oil I put into my morning smoothie as well.
Ross: That's awesome! So that is great for all the listeners if you feel like taking a healthy snack, the csh chips with some quack that's awesome. Now with your culinary background like and you as a chef is there any other like healthy snacks that people are on the go there at the office they want to like have a quick meal but that's healthy. Any other go to like type of snacks?
Charles: I think it is all about when you are trying to stay healthy like meal purpose or go to or find a place like pure green that already has like food that is already made that’s superclean like that’s my big one. I love you kitchen.
Ross: Yeah yeah
Charles: I live in the upperhill side like oh my gosh huge kitchen I can go there for clean sources of meats. It just feels great so if you things that are prepped already that's great quinoa that is a great source of protein that’s light. I find that when I eat too much rice like things liken that wheys me down so I try to find foods that are easy to digest and digestion starts with your your mouth. People don’t realize like really taking the time when you are eating. Are you like on your cell phone, are you actually eating like being present with your food? Most people are talking more are like taking meetings and multitasking like sit down with your food, digest your food and then like you know.
Ross: I love it. You bet it is great. I use to live around the corner from there so I was literally there like everyday.
Charles: I know I discovered it, everyone has been telling me to go there and I finally went and I feel like wow he’s the right guy it a long time ago I went and I feel like going argue recycle unilateral skids could have like one minute
Ross: Awesome! It is good to have like no matter where you live just like go to places
Charles: In New York I can find myself cook less too because you're always on the go. So finding those good places is really important.
Ross: I love it so bringing it back to the kitchen hustle. Can you talk a little bit about like what your direction there, what your plan for it?
Charles: Yeah I mean we are talking to a few production companies actually who are interested in bringing it onto air so that’s really exciting. And I always find that like being in the entertainment side of things like you know what being on tv for an hour until they see all these things. It opens a lot of doors but it is also like I don't want to be a puppet to someone else's storytelling. So I love the idea of co-creating and creating what you want. So like starting that show was out of frustration of like Oh, I don't fit in the mold of what this network wants or whatever. It’s like well what this show that I actually want to host that excites me that you know brings the passion back. And I was like oh I wanted to do kitchen hustle so bring that to my agency and to the network. So I thought this is great, already doing it and you know like people are watching. So it is so great we might turn into book not sure.
Charles: Yes so there is a lot of great exciting things and I always think long-term like I said. I am starting a project and I’m like okay how can I ripple this into everything else.
Ross: I have to tell you so I’m going to call this now you have such like a dynamic, amazing personality. I am just going to make a prediction, I think that your career line is just going to continue to take off and you are going to be huge.
Charles: Thank you I so appreciate it and I think I always bring it back to like integrity and like why I am doing this in the first place because I've been offered to do like shows for a network when I’m traveling like I’m hosting a show but it's about like non-healthy foods and I’m like that's not why I got into tv likedidn’t choose this path to kind of like have this transformation but I am using my life as a platform for good and promoting wellness. I only want us to do things that are of my integrity. I think that's really important for any entrepreneur, any creator, anybody who's like looking for job find a place to work or create something that you have integrity like what aligns with your mission don't like sell yourself out. With all the resources we have available, like you can create your own oryou can find a team of people who believe in that like on your tribe, you dont have to sell. I mean that’s the main thing, I have said those many things and people like are you crazy and I’m like no that's not why I signed up for this. And you have to make sure that and I think the meditation keeps me clear of like no. I'll say no like another thing is going to come along.
Ross: Wow, I love this. Just keep staying in alignment with your vision and with your mission.
Charles: Yeah because everyone has their own agenda and that's why the meditation varies. It is like does this align with what I’m doing or does it not? If it takes me away then you know you'll have so much time so you want to make sure that you focus in on things that actually matter.
Ross: That’s amazing. So one last question for you which is you’ve had so many amazing guests on your tv platform on kitchen hustle. Can you tell me from having all these unbelievable guests on the show what are some things you've learned from them?
Charles: From all the guests I think one thing I have learned is that everyone has their own way of living and you don't have to compare yourself to how someone else like an entrepreneur lives their life. I doesn’t have to be the way I do like I love jerky and like I have so much respect for him but it is like I understand I know my limits and I know what is priority which is my health right. So it is like I'm not going to be like up until 4 am in the morning hustling when I know that my longevity like hey I have to talk to people about how and I can’t be like oh my gosh I'm exhausted all the time. That is not me so it is like doing what's right for you and like staying true to you. You know your limits you know your strengths and running with those.
Ross: That’s amazing. Can I tell you a quick Gary Vee story?
Charles: Yeah tell me his story.
Ross: He's probably I don’t know if he is going to like this very much now he’s may not want to be on the show. So I ran into him few weeks ago but Gary Vander Jackson Gary V is his name on twitter as I am stuck with it. So I knew him from back in the day. You know I used to be in the gym business and so when I was working with equinox, Gary V started, he was blown up with his videos for one library and he took the company of $ 4 million company you see not company and he did all these through his videos. So I was in talks with him about filming an episode of one library tv at the time right there at equinox and he said let’s just go out to dinner. So I organized like a dinner with Gary V and at the time I was still in the wellness lifestyle but I was very into wine at the time. So what I did was one of our members at equinox, big restaurant owner with 30 restaurants in the city. So I set up the dinner at one of his restaurants, very high-end restaurant and the deal was that he was going to do like a seven course tasting and deal was that Gary V was going to bring wine. So this restaurant owner and I we were like talking that yeah I’ve got Gary V mr. wellness tv let's see what type of wine she's going to bring. And we were like she’s going to bring being juice and so Gary V shows up and he was carrying like two tank cases of wine. So we are ready and like oh my God, let’s see what he’s got. And Gary V comes in with super high energy comes up to us and he starts taking out the wine. He’s like so excited with the wine he brought and I’m like oh yeah let’s see what he’s got. He takes out the wine and he's like guys, I have to tell you first my philosophy on wine is how do you provide the cheapest bottle but tastes like it is more expensive. I’m like oh oh like and we were like where is this going? He’s like this bottle here is five dollars and tastes like a 30 dollar bottle. Everyone was like oh my God and we were like oh..we were looking at it as if it was a thousand dolar bottle. But you have got to know him, he’s such a great guy. His career has exploded since then. Yho know he was doing the air media and he's doing this big like networking events like he will gather like 30 to 40 guys put them in another restaurant different industries and he's bounce around the table. He’ll spent five minutes at each table and easy to start networking and getting business operator media. He is just like ultimate hustler
Charles: I love that but wait you didn’t give us the verdict. How was the wine? Was it actually good?
Ross: The restaurant owner he brings out these wines of this auction from this john f. Kennedy collection and he brought out some huge wines and like Gary was like oh my God. He was like floored, he was like its unbelievable. But they were good like very good table wines but you know we were..
Charles: Expecting a little bit more higher, I love it you. Now that story is great I think it brings it back to efficiency is everything. Making sure you only have so much time during the day so how do you make the most?
Ross: So without a set, I think the way to end this is can you just give us advice on getting the best bang for your book. So in terms of health, so give us some like tools that you think like everyone should be doing that will just deliver amazing value for not quite so much effort.
Charles: So I'm big on juices and smoothies, that’s totally my thing. I think that is like something that we can both agree on like drinking juice straight into your bloodstrean with vitamins and mineral and you are not taking your multi suppliment which is fantastic. And smoothies you blend it you are gettimg all these fiber. I believe if you can include juices and smoothies into your diet for seven days you'll see a huge difference and then if you can start five minutes of meditation I'm sure it is going to change your outlook on life. Counting your gratitude so like I need to talk about this. I do this gratitude thing every single morning count my blessings like what are five things that you can be grateful for instantly shifts your focus for the day.
Ross: I love it. Very powerful great stuff. Thank you so much for being on the show. This was awesome.
Charles: Too much fun, thank you guys.