Podcast by InnovatorsBox®

Curious Monica: Season 3

Return to Your Passion Afterall with Geronimo Carlos Ramos III

Curious Monica – a Podcast by InnovatorsBox®. Hosted by Monica H. Kang.

The Curious Monica podcast features candid conversations with innovators in thriving organizations across various industries. In each episode, host & founder of InnovatorsBox, Monica Kang interviews her friends in diverse fields about what they do and why they love what they do. If you’re curious too, you’ll gain incredible insight into the workplace patterns that can change the way you think about work, no matter what industry you’re in or who you are.

Tune in on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your preferred platform of choice!

Geronimo Carlos Ramos III believes that the most rewarding journey is returning to your passion, regardless of the twists and turns along the way. Today, his culinary adventure is enriched by collaborations with Michelin-star chefs and prestigious events, such as the Tiger Woods Hero Golf tournament in the Bahamas. While food and people have always been central to Geronimo’s story, the full picture of the chef and content creator he is today only came into focus later in his career. Growing up in L.A., Geronimo developed a deep appreciation for food and community service from his family, who prioritized serving others. However, as an immigrant family wanting him to have the best opportunities, they initially questioned the viability of a career in cooking when he first expressed interest in becoming a chef. This uncertainty pushed Geronimo to explore diverse fields such as business, psychology, product management, technology, and design, leading him to discover the power of social entrepreneurship. Over time, he realized that all his experiences and passions ultimately tied back to his core love for food and people. He shares insights into honing his craft and managing his day as a chef, content creator, and product designer in the tech industry. This May, as we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are thrilled to showcase Geronimo’s inspiring journey into his true passion as a chef. Connect with Geronimo Carlos Ramos III on YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Tag him or send him a direct message to say hello. 

Guest: Geronimo Carlos Ramos III

Chef, Content Creator, Digital Product Designer / Self-Employed

Geronimo is a San Francisco Bay Area-based Chef, Content Creator, and Lead Product Designer in the tech industry. After a decade of shaping digital products focused on social impact and service design, Geronimo pivoted to pursue his true passion: cooking and food service. His culinary journey is marked by experiences with Michelin-starred chefs and high-profile events, such as the Tiger Woods Hero Golf Tournament in the Bahamas. Today, Geronimo blends his love for cooking with content creation, offering healthier takes on comfort foods and personal development insights. He is on a mission to build a robust food and personal brand, with ambitions to launch a fast-casual restaurant and health-focused consumer products. Geronimo invites everyone to join him in exploring delightful recipes and innovative cooking techniques, aiming to foster healthier, happier communities through food.

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Episode Shownotes

1. Title of the Episode:
Return to Your Passion Afterall with Geronimo Carlos Ramos III

2. Host:
Monica H. Kang, Founder & CEO of InnovatorsBox

3. Guest:
Geronimo Carlos Ramos III, Chef, Content Creator, Digital Product Designer / Self-Employed


4. Key Topics Covered:

  • Geronimo’s childhood dreams and early influences
  • The role of family in shaping career choices
  • Transition from product design to culinary arts
  • Experience working with Michelin-starred chefs and high-profile events
  • The journey of becoming a chef while balancing multiple interests
  • Navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship
  • How culture and family influenced his career


5. Highlights:

  • Geronimo’s journey from a tech career to pursuing his true passion in food
  • His realization of the importance of time and entrepreneurship
  • The balance between pursuing one’s dreams and honoring family traditions
  • Insights into Geronimo’s approach to managing his diverse roles

6. Quotes from the guest:

  • “Cooking food is product design; it’s systematic creativity.”
  • “Time is such an invaluable asset. And being your own boss opens your mind to how valuable time is.”

7. Some people suggested that we should learn from:


8. Contact Information for the guest:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/geronimocramos/ 


9. Closing Thoughts by Monica Kang:

Reflecting on Geronimo’s journey, Monica reminds us of the importance of persistence and showing up. The opportunities that came to his door weren’t random but were a result of his dedication and readiness. She reminds us that whether you’re starting out or deep into your journey, don’t lose sight of your passion. Geronimo’s story shows that when you pursue what you love, the results can be truly remarkable.

10. Episode Length and Release Date:
Episode Length: Approximately 42 minutes
Release Date: May 7, 2024


00:00

Monica H. Kang
Do you ever have things that you want to do more and love doing, but not really sure how to tie that to a career. It’s something that my friend Geronimo Carlo Ramos III had noticed throughout his career. He was always passionate about food and bringing people together. 


00:17

Monica H. Kang
But, you know, growing up as an. 


00:18

Monica H. Kang
Immigrant kid, it’s not really the lucrative career that you would envision wanting to start. So he kept that on the side. But good thing he never left it because he realized that is something that he has a special gift for. Today, he is a chef, content creator, lead product designer in the tech industry in San Francisco and have found a way, after decades of shaping digital products, how to bring social impact by serving food as well. Hes pursued his true passion of cooking and food service, and his culinary journey is marked by experience with Michelin starred chefs in high profile events such as the Tiger woods hero golf tournament in the Bahamas. I’m excited to share Geronimo’s journey into how he became the person and chef he is and why it’s so important to not forget your own dreams. 


01:09

Monica H. Kang
I’m excited to share the conversation I had with my friend Geronimo as we celebrate asian American Pacific island heritage month of celebrating asian innovators and how they’ve gone through different paths to be who they are. I’m your host, Monica Kang, Founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox. And you are listening to curious monika by InnovatorsBox. Let’s dive in. 


01:32

Monica H. Kang
Geronimo, so glad you’re here. If you can bring us back down the memory lane, who did you want it to be and what did you want it to do when you were a child, when you grow up one day? 


01:42

Geronimo Carlos
Oh, yeah, that’s always the biggest question, but, yeah. Thank you for having me here. Yeah, it starts as young as how old was I think I was. Okay. It starts with five years old. I’ll go all the way back to the origin story, but first I want to preface with, like, I feel like my story always starts with my immigrant parents. Growing up, my mom worked in government social services, and then my dad worked in hospitality. So from a young age, that always, like, built in me the values of rooting everything into community service needs because my mom’s job and then, like, creating great experiences for people from the hospitality side of my dad. So it wasn’t until, like, adulthood where I realized those values carried over into everything that I approach these days. 


02:27

Geronimo Carlos
But, yeah, starting at five years old, I wanted to be like my grandpa in the Philippines. He was like a politician and lawyer. I just. I don’t know. I just wanted to copy his footsteps. I never met him, but my dad always, like, spoke very highly of him. So I should be a lawyer. And then, yeah, growing up in Los Angeles, I watched a lot of tv as a kid. And then something I did with my grandma a lot that bonded us together was watching the food network a lot. So, yeah, we would always just watch Emeril and, like, all those other shows on food Network. And I think in the background of my mind, that grew a love for food for me and learning about different cultures that way. And that’s when I wanted to become a chef. 


03:11

Geronimo Carlos
I can’t remember how old I was at that point, maybe six or seven after five. And I told my parents, I want to be a chef. And they’re like, that’s funny. Like, that’s not a real job. That will be. Hey. And I was like, oh, okay. So immediately shut down as a kid. So, yes, my parents kind of shut down the idea of becoming a chef. And then as I grew older until, like, around ten years old, I started watching a lot of comedy on tv, like, a show that really kind of influenced my life was the fresh prince of Bel Air and Will Smith, and then watching, like, comics speak and do stand up. And then I wanted to become a comedian, another job that’s not really considered a job by immigrant parents. And then that was also, like, shut down, too. 


03:54

Geronimo Carlos
But then when I got to high school, I was very involved with marching band and kind of leading my section. I played the saxophone. I became section leader, and that, to me, inspired being, like, a leader and kind of managing my team and then also psychology. I fell in love with psychology in high school and, like, kind of learning about people’s motivations and inspiring them to kind of lead to certain outcomes. So I fell in love with. I wanted to be a business manager, whatever that meant. In high school, I didn’t even know what that meant. So ultimately, I went to business school, but remembering to root it back into community service needs. So I actually emphasized in social entrepreneurship in business school, which was really cool and kind of a new thing at that time. 


04:39

Geronimo Carlos
And part of our social entrepreneurship curriculum was learning about design thinking. And I really fell in love with that methodology as it touched upon more of my strengths and how I operate in the world. Kind of like using empathy, having a more creative mindset, and working with diverse teams where a lot of the other students and peers in my business program were becoming, like, management consultants or investment bankers. I just couldn’t imagine myself doing that. So out of business school, I became a designer and wanted to offer my design thinking skills to, like, nonprofits and international development. And that’s actually kind of where I met you as well, in the DC area, in the DMV. And I worked for a nonprofit there providing some design strategy skills. 


05:28

Geronimo Carlos
But then I realized I knew that I wanted to delve deeper into technology and apply my skills to that. So design skills to technology, to social impact. And then I knew that to really uplevel my skills and accelerate my learning in user experience and user interface design, I had to move to Silicon Valley. So after the DC area, I moved to the Bay Area, got involved with startups that were like, early stage and creating product market fit. So it’s like the perfect playing ground to learn how to build a business from the ground up and also apply my skills and wear multiple hats. So I worked with startups from 2016 to 2019 across a bunch of different industries. Healthcare, fitness, finance, food. 


06:20

Geronimo Carlos
And then, you know, of course I wanted to return back to food, just knowing that food is something I want to come back to into my life, but only saw it as a hobby because, you know, just echoing what I heard from my parents, like, that’s not a real thing. Like, you can do that in your spare time. But then in 2019, I wanted to continue upleveling in technology. But by that time, I realized I fell in love with service design. And tell us more service design. 


06:51

Monica H. Kang
What do you mean by that? 


06:52

Geronimo Carlos
Service design is similar to marketplace design, which is there’s two sides. There’s like the front of house experience and then the back of house experience. The best way I like to describe it is like a restaurant, which is so relevant to me. Like, you have the customer experience and where the servers bring you food and you experience the front of the house. But then there’s the back of the house, there’s the kitchen, where all the processes and operations take place to create the output that you receive, which is the same thing in government, right? Like, you have your beneficiaries of social services, then you have all these admins and caseworkers in the back of the house that deliver your services. So you can apply that to Airbnb, marketplace models that have buyers and sellers. 


07:38

Monica H. Kang
That’s true. 


07:39

Geronimo Carlos
And I just fell in love with the complexity of thinking about the ecosystem of those things. So I did a lot of that while working with startups, working with the Airbnb of this, the Airbnb of that, and then I wanted to apply that mindset, like the private sector skills I built back to social impact, and I thought the best way to impact this system is to work in government. So I ended up working at Nava PBC, which was, like, the best job I’ve ever had. They do digital services consulting for federal and state agencies. So I worked with, like, the Department of Veterans affairs, state of Nebraska, Department of Justice, all the big agencies, and applied my skills there, and they really appreciated my skillset and interaction design. Like, I brought Figma to my last company. 


08:30

Geronimo Carlos
Like, just this design tool that I thought everyone was adopting, but, like, government was a little slower to adopt. 


08:37

Monica H. Kang
Well, Figma, break it down for some of the others who don’t know. What is it? 


08:41

Geronimo Carlos
Figma is a design, a collaborative design tool. Kind of like the Google Docs for designing interfaces, maybe logos, maybe user interfaces. Yeah, because before, it wasn’t a collaborative process. Like, you would design your thing, hand off the file to another person, they would design it, and it was just a difficult process versus, like, designing the same thing at the same time, which was, like, revolutionary in 2016, 2017. So, yeah, I worked in civic tech for a while, but then I knew that I wanted to come back to food tech. I think food tech was always my ultimate goal in food. And then I actually landed my dream job in 2021 to 2022 with a company called Full Harvest, and they were a b two B marketplace for imperfect and surplus produce. 


09:33

Geronimo Carlos
So just, like, really touching upon my values of addressing climate change, food waste, and creating technology for kind of legacy systems agriculture. So there I became the lead designer at that company, eventually grew my own team, hired three other designers, and kind of got to work on my dream mission and kind of have the position that I’ve always wanted to, like, be a design manager and work on really cool things. But then it’s interesting, like, you. You get to your dream job, and still sometimes you may ask yourself, like, I don’t know if this is it. Like, I don’t know if I want to do this for the next ten years of my life. So that’s when I realized I needed to get back into cooking, because that was, like, calling my name. 


10:22

Geronimo Carlos
But also, when I joined that new job, my grandma passed away. 


10:27

Monica H. Kang
I’m sorry. 


10:28

Geronimo Carlos
Yeah, so that’s, like, one of the biggest things that I’ve kind of always dreaded in my life. 


10:34

Monica H. Kang
Just like, you were never close with your grandparents. 


10:37

Geronimo Carlos
Yes, yes. And my grandma was kind of, like the matriarch of our whole family, like, bringing everyone together always for, like, holidays. So, yeah, I think I talked to my therapist about this. I feel like this transformation of the last year of going to full time entrepreneurship and going deep into food service is kind of the way I’m processing the grief and transforming kind of pain into, like, something very positive and different in my life. So to me, it’s like really respecting and honoring everything that she’s, like, done for our family. And I just, I wish I got to, like, cook the food that I cook now for her. So, yeah, that’s kind of a long winded journey. 


11:20

Monica H. Kang
Oh, thank you very much, Geronimo, for sharing that. I mean, it really speaks volume to why I actually wanted to highlight your story for celebrating this month, because I think your story is one of the inspiring examples of reminders that, you know, we might have these different dreams, whether it was a childhood dream or, like, at some point of their career, of, like, I wish one day, maybe one day, da da. But it’s totally another reality to walk into that. And what I appreciate about your sharing, and I know others who’s listening would feel it, too, is that you knocked on the door several times, and it wasn’t like, ta da. Like, I figured out one time and it’s all beautiful and rainbow. So, like, it was like, no, you knocked a little. I’m like, nah, that wasn’t right. Knocked on this side. 


12:06

Monica H. Kang
No, that wasn’t right. But hey, actually, I knocked on so many doors. I have all these tools. I now am ready to do this fully. And because of that, you have this unique way. And as soon as I did start seeing your contents, and again, like, I think because I still remember DC one time when were, like, chatting about, you know, general, what do you really want to do one day? You should, like, you know, this thing called food. I think I want to do one day, but I’m not sure. 


12:30

Monica H. Kang
And so as soon as I started using, started seeing the food content, I know many of your friends and family who’ve heard that, heard of your dream for a long time, they instantly, like, Geronimo is, like, not fully into everything he’s been preparing, and it’s kind of like you’re in the next speed of bringing this to the next level. And so everything and anything that I saw that was now coming from your channel, your social media, I was like, oh, no, he’s been preparing this for a very long time. That’s why it looks so sharp, all prepared, like, well organized. It’s not like, just something, because I think sometimes when people see, like, Instagram or, like, social media content and influencer like, oh, like, they just came out of nowhere. I’m like, no, this was not out of nowhere. 


13:09

Monica H. Kang
He’s been preparing this for a very long time. And I think I just want to say, like, your story and just your personal, even reflection of sharing that really speaks volume to it. And to that point, you mentioned how family was an important role. I want to revisit some of it because I know many of us who’s listening, whether they’re learning about AAPI leaders and innovators for the first time or they are Asian Americans who are looking for more inspiration, we know how family plays a key role. And you’ve kind of hinted a little bit now that you’re in this current chapter. I’m curious, like, are they still asking, are you going to go back to your nine to five job? Or are they excited? Are they showing cameos? Are we going to see them in your videos? 


13:50

Monica H. Kang
I’m curious about how it feels now. 


13:52

Geronimo Carlos
Yeah, it’s a mix up sometimes. Cause, like, they don’t understand my part time and everything right now. Like, and it’s okay, right? Yeah, it’s funny. I mean, sometimes they’re like, are you my mom? Like, will nudge me. She’s like, are you sure you don’t want to work at Google or work at Facebook? And I’m like, no. I mean, sometimes I’m like, ooh. Like, all the benefits are appealing, but I’m realizing, like, in this journey of entrepreneurship how valuable time is, which I can speak about in a little. In a little bit. 


14:22

Geronimo Carlos
But actually, they’re really proud of me right now with all of the video creation because when I did work in, like, civic tech, and my dad would always brag to his friends, like, oh, my son works in high tech with government, and he works with the Department of Veterans affairs right across the street from the White House. And I’m like, okay, cool. But it was nothing ever tangible. He could show people now, like, he sees my videos and he just shares it with all his friends. He’s like, look, this is my son, and he cooks Filipino food, really healthy or delicious food here and there. And it’s funny. I wish I could show you my family text thread, but almost every day, or every other day, he’s, like, counting my subscribers for me. 


15:04

Geronimo Carlos
He’s like, oh, my gosh, he’s so close to a thousand subscribers. Everybody support. Share with your friends. And, like, that’s amazing. It’s funny. Like, they don’t really understand all the business aspects of, like, content creation and what that might lead to, but it’s fun to share because it’s so tangible. But then they also know that I’m still carrying my weight and have some stability with being a part time consultant. And what creates a level of security and foundation is that if, but I don’t think it’ll ever happen. I can always go back to full time work, full time tech work, and I haven’t lost those skills as I’ve built that over, like, a decade. And I think they know that because even me going into tech was against the grain for them. Like, what is startups? What are these businesses? 


15:55

Geronimo Carlos
What is technology that you’re getting into? Like, why can’t you become a nurse? Like, it’s stable. And a lot of Filipinos are nurses. So me already, like, rebelling at that level and then continuing to rebel by being, like, my own boss with food service and tech and content creation. I think they just trust that I know what I’m up to and what I’m doing. And, yeah, it’s been fun just having the support of my family with this. 


16:22

Monica H. Kang
I love that. No, thank you for sharing that. Speaking of which, I know those who are listening might be in some of those industries or curious to take a peek. I’m curious if you can go dive a little bit deeper into it. So bring me down now to your day to day. Like, I think as a fan and a friend, like, looking from afar, it’s like, number one question is, like, oh, my gosh, these are all amazing, but how in the world is Geronimo doing this? This is, like, so much work. And even for a host who’s doing a podcast show, like, I’ve been, like, learning more how much more work goes behind the scenes. So how do you manage it all? Like, do you have any hacks? Like, how do you manage? 


16:55

Monica H. Kang
Like, what does it look like to actually manage and tell us a little bit more? 


17:01

Geronimo Carlos
It’s one of the biggest lessons, too, is systemizing everything and kind of treating everything like a business. I mean, ultimately, it’s turning your passion into a business. Some people have, like, very, like, anti thoughts about that. I don’t know why. Like, if you can, like, do what you love and make money doing it, like, that’s the dream in my opinion. Like, but anyway, my system, I’ll just break down my calendar. Yeah, I save Mondays and Tuesdays for myself. I used to put clients above ahead of me, but I realized that kind of stressed me out throughout the week. So Mondays and Tuesdays, I work on idea generation for videos, developing recipes. That actually takes a lot of time. And sometimes testing those recipes and. And then making the script long scripts and short scripts. 


17:48

Geronimo Carlos
And then I reserve Tuesdays for filming as much as I can. And filming takes a long time because I’m not just only cooking, but I’m filming myself and, like, worrying about burning food and all that stuff. 


18:00

Monica H. Kang
Does it feel weird? It’s time to have the eye contact. I’m actually impressed. I was looking through all your videos. Like, drawn was always looking at the camera, like, and you’re also articulate and all those, like, I think I would screw up sometimes. Especially as you said it, like, it’s cooking. Like, you have to be careful. 


18:16

Geronimo Carlos
It’s. It’s become the quantity. So one. So I actually did a YouTube program back in April from one of my mentors that I follow on YouTube. And then he had the last live cohort. His name is Ali Abdall. He’s really cool. He does, like, productivity, and he talks about how he became a content creator and entrepreneur, leaving being a doctor, I was like, well, that’s undead, but, yeah, in that program, you learn how to systemize your operations, kind of build some camera confidence. And one of the frameworks I learned is, are you an archaeologist or are you an architect? 


18:54

Geronimo Carlos
And in the beginning, it’s better to be an archaeologist, kind of someone who digs a little bit until they find something and start digging in that direction, instead of an architect, who kind of generally needs to have a meticulous plan of everything before taking action. And it can take a long time. So you kind of improve your skills through quantity. And then just being consistent with trying to post a long form video every week kind of forces me to just put something out there and get better every time. So this, yeah, I think the confidence is coming just from doing the thing in, like, reducing expectations. And then another thing that I did a couple months ago that was a game changer for me was hiring an editor. That’s the secret. 


19:39

Geronimo Carlos
That’s the secret sauce, because when I would edit my own long form videos, those would take me over 10 hours a week. 


19:46

Monica H. Kang
Oh, my gosh. 


19:47

Geronimo Carlos
So just, like, that’s just too much time. Like, as much as I even loved it, I realized there’s higher value things I could do with my time. So kind of being willing to take a risk and ask for help and leave it in the hands of someone else is something I’ve learned to do. So hiring vendors, just very much part of the entrepreneurship journey, hiring services. So, yeah, Tuesday film and then I submit the video to the editor. She works on. It, turns it around in, like, three, four days, and then I’m consistent every week. And then Wednesday, Thursday, a little bit of Friday are my consulting days. I’ll work for my product design consultants in different industries, nonprofits, e commerce, all that stuff. 


20:32

Geronimo Carlos
And then when the gigs pop up on, like, Friday nights, on the weekends, that’s when I cook for food service. So one of my big realizations and why I’m doing what I’m doing now is, as much as I want to work in food and people are like, do you want to open your own restaurant or work at one? And I’m like, I actually don’t want to work at another restaurant full time because I know what that lifestyle is like. That’s like 40 plus hours a week, and you get paid a certain limit and threshold. So that’s why I love pop ups, because I get to cook when I want to cook, what I want to cook, and it’s. I learn what I want to learn when I want to learn. So that’s kind of how I break up my week. 


21:14

Geronimo Carlos
And just following that system week to week and just seeing a lot of growth, it’s great. 


21:18

Monica H. Kang
That’s amazing. And you got it structured down on the nitty gritty. I mean, does that make them travel hard? Or, like, if there’s a project that requires you to kind of break the cycle even? 


21:29

Geronimo Carlos
I mean, yes, it makes travel hard. 


21:33

Monica H. Kang
Cause I know he used to travel quite a bit. 


21:35

Geronimo Carlos
Oh, I did. Especially for work. Right. Like, with. Especially working in civic tech, I need to fly back to DC a lot. It makes travel very hard. Like, the dream is always to be ahead of my creation schedule. That only happens, like, once or twice. Once or twice this year it’s happened. Like, oh, like it’s Christmas. I’m already ahead. I, like, filmed multiple videos, but honestly, the script writing and recipe development takes so much time. It’s hard to get ahead unless I do something super simple. But I’m trying to, like, ride the seasonal recipe waves. Like, this past month, I’ve been focusing on Christmas recipes, which I’m already kind of too late with because it’s Christmas in a few days. Oh, may. 


22:21

Monica H. Kang
Yes. So can you. We’ll pause that. Can you say that part again a few months ago? 


22:27

Geronimo Carlos
Yeah, yeah. 


22:28

Monica H. Kang
Like last winter, as an example. 


22:30

Geronimo Carlos
Yes. Last winter I was focusing on Christmas recipes and just. I did it all in December, so. Right. Like, it’s just catching up, and then sometimes it posts after. So it’s. It’s funny. Like, you have to, like, be on top of your operational schedule, but, yeah, that’s. 


22:49

Monica H. Kang
Yeah, no, that’s. I think that’s part of the behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t realize how much thoughtfulness and intentionality to that. I mean, let’s talk about how you’re taking care of yourself, because we love seeing you on screen, but we absolutely hope that you’re not on screen all the time. Like, how are you taking care of yourself? What are ways that you have routines to maybe practice mindfulness or rest, recharge? 


23:13

Geronimo Carlos
Oh, yeah. So, I mean, you know, being your own boss, you have so much leeway of how you structure your productivity system. And, I don’t know, one of the most recent ways, like, since my world is a lot of digital and remote, you know, I have a digital to do list that just, like, doesn’t stop growing, but, like, a new practice that I started maybe about a month ago was going analog, actually. Like. So every morning, I just will fill out this index card size thing and write down ten tasks, because truly, like, how much do we really get done in a day? Like, ten tasks is kind of a good goal in metrics. So I’ll just go to my digital to do list and then write down the ten most important things that need to get done now. 


23:58

Geronimo Carlos
And then, like, physically cross it off, and it feels good. It keeps me focused, because in the digital world, I’ll just constantly be adding more. But since I’m taking pen to paper, I can’t add anything. So that’s one thing that kind of keeps me structured in the morning. I still do meditate once in a while, keep it short right before work to just kind of settle down. I still do exercise every single morning. So that’s kind of something I’ve structured in my life for the past ten years, making it part of my identity. That’s kind of the secret to, like, being someone who works out every morning in what else? As much as I cook a lot of delicious and healthy food, and some of it’s very indulgent behind the scenes, I still eat very healthy, like my lunches are. 


24:47

Geronimo Carlos
I used to cook my own lunches and prep it in advance on the weekends, but that became very time consuming, actually, when I wanted to just rest. So now I hire a meal delivery service that’s healthy and kind of, like, designed by nutritionists. I don’t have to mention the brand. And when I think about it’s worth the cost because it saves me time, it saves me energy, and it saves meal planning. That takes hours. So this is another thing about me, like, understanding the value of time and, like, paying for the things that I need to, like, keep my energy up and keep me going. And then I do. I don’t. I’m. I don’t have a strict cutoff work at 05:00 p.m. But I will take a break, take walks. I’ve started taking walks daily. 


25:38

Geronimo Carlos
It’s part of my daily routine with no podcasts and no music, just to hear my own thoughts and be in nature and take a real break and then get back to work. But I still carve out time with my partner Kelsey to have dinner around 06:00 to 07:00, a home cooked meal, and then sometimes get back to work up until 09:00 I don’t think this will be my forever schedule, but, I mean, I love what I’m doing, and it keeps me energized. And on the weekends, sometimes, I might have to fill in gaps for content creation or the food service gigs. But, for example, this weekend, Kelsey and I are gonna get massages just to relax and go to the sauna. That’ll be really nice. 


26:25

Monica H. Kang
Yeah, no, I think it’s wonderful. And I think as you’re sharing it, I mean, I’m taking notes of reminders of, just, like you mentioned about the importance of system in the business, but you’re kind of sharing how you’re doing that in everything personal, professional, how you rest. And I’m also hearing still the mantra of, like, how you test it out, what works, what doesn’t. And I know, especially to your quick comment on the mindfulness. Like, I think everyone does it differently. And I liked your honest insight. Like, yeah, I do it here and there. Like, I have these walks here and there. And, like, I think I love the honest way of how you found a system and structure that works for you, but it doesn’t have to be this cookie cutter approach. 


27:01

Monica H. Kang
And speaking of which, as you’re sharing all of this, I think we will be remiss to not talk about the month we are currently in May as we celebrate asian american heritage, month of representation. All the industries, honestly, no matter where you have been and where you continue to go, we don’t see enough people who look like us. And I know that’s one of the things we first bonded and, like, got to connect when we first met, even in those social entrepreneurship circles of, like, why is there not enough asian American? And especially, I love that in your cookie, you’re bringing out a lot of the filipino foods and, like, your culture foods and talking about your history and culture, which is so key. 


27:40

Monica H. Kang
Tell me a little bit more, like, how your background and your cultural influences and is shaping you, who you are today. 


27:49

Geronimo Carlos
Yeah, it’s. That’s a good question. Well, my love for food not only came from, like, watching the food channels with my grandma growing up in LA. It’s funny, like, I grew up in a household where we actually ate out a lot. Like, my mom was also a good food in LA. Yeah, that’s the thing. Yeah. Like, my mom liked to cook, but she also loved to eat out because there’s so much delicious food in LA. And you can eat any culture’s food because it’s everywhere. We have a Koreatown, Japantown, thai town where my grandma and grandpa lived. And, yeah, it’s just. It’s always been a gateway of learning about other cultures. Just eating their food, like, that’s one of the best ways to see what they grow in their regions and, like, what. How it impacts their communities. So that’s kind of. 


28:41

Geronimo Carlos
I don’t know. That’s how I built my love for food and also, I don’t know. Filipinos just love food, but I could say that about any culture, honestly. But it’s funny because I approach food the same way with my design thinking mind. Like, to me, cooking food is product. Design is design, because. And it’s systematic. It’s a systematic way of creativity, which design thinking is, to me, like, even though I’m kind of slowly stepping away and transitioning out of design in tech, which is the ultimate goal, so everyone knows, hold me accountable. 


29:15

Monica H. Kang
I love it. Thank you. And we’ll look back at this episode and be like, we knew it back. 


29:19

Geronimo Carlos
Then, but it’s like, I’ll never stop being a designer and design thinker. It’s just how I approach things and how I think about, all right, what do we know now? What do we need to learn? And, like, how do we creatively come up with solutions, not just into creating new kinds of dishes, but, like, how we approach cooking it? Because cooking for food service is very much an operational efficiency machine, which is like, the engineering mind I built as I worked in Silicon Valley as well. But, yeah, my journey into food was a quick one. So while I worked at my food tech job, I would pick up a lot of food gigs, often for free or volunteer, just to learn and have fun cooking with my friends at their pop ups or restaurants. Kind of. 


30:05

Geronimo Carlos
We call that a stage in the culinary space. And I just learned a lot and got to cook with really cool chefs that I’ve always admired here in the Bay Area who were kind of local heroes because they represent the Bay Area when they go on tv shows. And then when I was leaving my food tech shop, something, like, magically happened. One of the chefs I cooked for, and he was, like, a filipino mentor chef of mine who I was lucky to even cook with because I’ve only seen him on YouTube and on tv on Bon appetit. His name is Chef Harold. Shout out to Chef Harold. I’ve learned so much from him. And he actually just moved to New York, to the Bay Area in, like, 2022 at that time, because he was going to open his own restaurant here. 


30:56

Geronimo Carlos
And then I got to cook with him a couple of times at a filipino festival during Filipino Heritage History Monthly in San Francisco. And at the same time, I was leaving my job and talking to HR, he texted me and called me on the phone saying, like, hey, what are you doing? This is in 2022, two years ago? 


31:14

Monica H. Kang
Yeah. 


31:14

Geronimo Carlos
Yes. Like, what are you doing the day after Thanksgiving? Up until, like, the first week of December, which was about two ish weeks, he’s like, do you want to be my sous chef in the Bahamas to cook for Tiger woods and his golf tournament? And I was like, is this real? It just felt like there was one door in the universe was closing, another one was opening up. It just felt like I was on the right path. It was calling me into what I’m supposed to be doing. But the thing is, I’ve never been a sous chef. I’ve only been a line cook and prep cook, which is a different step. So I asked him, what does the role entail? And he gave me the most vague response. He’s like, it’s just kitchen stuff. You’re just going to be doing kitchen stuff. 


31:59

Geronimo Carlos
And I was like, I could do kitchen stuff. I’ve been doing that for the past couple of years. And then when I showed up in the Bahamas in a different country, different culture, and then I needed to start my sous chef roll, I realized it was way more, a little bit more than kitchen stuff management role. And I was like, whoa. I’ve never, like, going from volunteer based and sometimes paid based cooking to, like, this is a real deal, high pressure, high stakes environment at a resort for Billy’s in the Bahamas and cooking for 4000, 3000 to 4000 people. 


32:35

Monica H. Kang
Wow. 


32:36

Geronimo Carlos
And leading a kitchen brigade team of 30 to 40 people every night, every day for, like, 20 hours a day. Oh, my gosh. Was the fastest accelerator of pushing me towards my, like, out of me, out of my comfort zone and, like, putting me in the real deal situation. Like, if anything, that’s harder than working at a regular restaurant. 


32:58

Monica H. Kang
That’s intense. 


32:59

Geronimo Carlos
But, yeah, that kind of. Those two weeks were, like, the hardest of my life. I tell people that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but also one of the most rewarding in terms of learning and kind of stepping into that identity of becoming a chef. Like, for me, becoming a chef was like a whole different identity. I’m like, oh, I don’t have 1020 years of experience and have, like, launched multiple restaurants. I just have this certain image of what a chef is. I did it myself in a high stakes environment, and it was ultimately very successful. So even after a couple of months after that experience, I still had a hard time calling myself a chef. But I worked with my supportive community and a couple of coaches, and they’re like, you sound like a chef to me. 


33:49

Geronimo Carlos
And I’m like, okay, let me start stepping into that identity. And this past year, I’ve been much more confident with that, and I’m starting to call myself a chef. And in the next year, we’ll actually be doing my own fine dining pop ups. 


34:08

Monica H. Kang
So that’ll 2025. 


34:10

Geronimo Carlos
Yes. What? 


34:12

Monica H. Kang
That’s so cool. Okay, folks, we’ll have to keep track of tabs. We’re gonna make sure you have access to all his links, for sure, so that we can hang out there. That’s exciting. Oh, I get to. I get to hear that inside. So cool. Congratulations. Can’t wait to celebrate that milestone. And as you’re sharing all the good reflections of the chapters, I think, again, I think the consistency that I hear is just, like, your drive and consistency of, like, that’s why opportunities came to your door, because you showed up first to those volunteers. And I know, you know, when we think about the mentors and other peers who give us and share, hey, I want to think of this person. It’s not just random. Like, it’s like, because they saw the potential that we have. 


34:58

Monica H. Kang
And so I’m so grateful to hear the journeys and the opportunities that you have, but, like, I know also that it’s just the start. And so we’re humbled that we get to say, like, we heard that story first way back when Giorno was starting off, and we’ll be like, oh, now it’s so hard to see. It was so famous cooking everywhere. But, no, I love it. And thank you. One of the other questions I love asking is like, how you hone your craft, but you kind of answered that throughout your whole storytelling of like, how you constantly devoted and built in time to work to make it better, like, to learn. 


35:35

Monica H. Kang
And speaking of which, kind of taking a step back, one of the things I’ve asked in celebration of representation is helping us, all of us, to do a better job learning from others. And so could you shout out three other, they don’t have to be in the food space necessarily. You can if you want to. But three at least who happens to be an asian american innovator that you feel inspired, that you want to shout out that we should learn from. And I’ll follow up with you later. So I get the correct spellings and we’re going to tag it in the blog so that way they can learn. But who are some three people that you want to shout out and that we should learn from? 


36:10

Geronimo Carlos
I’ll try to do it for happiness. 


36:10

Monica H. Kang
To be asian american. 


36:11

Geronimo Carlos
Yeah, yeah. I’ll try to do it for my separate sectors that I work in. 


36:15

Monica H. Kang
Oh, sure. Amazing. 


36:17

Geronimo Carlos
The top of mind one for food is chef two, David Fu. I’ve cooked with him many times. He’s a great mentor and friend. He is originally from the Oakland area here and he is a vietnamese chef. He kind of represents the community here in Oakland and is also a social justice chef and believes in, like, up leveling our communities through food and telling our stories of our immigrant families, immigrant parents. So chef two, he’s amazing. He was also on Top Chef and then indesign, the one that pops up for me that I’ve learned a lot from with his great content. He’s a design leader in the space and has, like, decades of experience. His name is David Hoang. He used to be the design director at the company called Webflow. 


37:04

Geronimo Carlos
I’m not sure what he’s up to these days, but he just has great content and great lessons and is a good mentor. And let’s see. And then in terms of content creation, it’s funny. A lot of my content mentors aren’t in food, surprisingly. They’re like, in other things, like productivity and stuff. But I mean, I got a shout out. Ali Abdall, he is south asian. And yeah, sure, he is known for being a productivity expert, but he’s way more than that. He shares a lot of, like, personal development and kind of honestly was a big help to my journey and giving me confidence in taking the leap towards my other passions and kind of moving them into less of a side hustle. And try to make it a main hustle too, and eventually make that transition. 


37:54

Monica H. Kang
I love that. 


37:55

Geronimo Carlos
Love that. 


37:56

Monica H. Kang
Thank you. And again, folks, we’re going to put that in the blog so that way and in the show notes. So please, let’s continue the learning reminder that, you know, we are the average of the five people we spend most time with. So if we’re not taking the effort to keep expanding our circle, you know, we might be limiting our capacity of how we can innovate and be inspired and be creative. Geronimo. This was such a treat. As we wrap up, I’m sad, but time has flown by as we’re chatting along. Two final questions. First, any final words of wisdom that you want to share with our innovators out there? No matter where they are, they have to work with one advice. 


38:34

Geronimo Carlos
Yeah, that’s just the biggest lesson that I’ve learned for myself this year. That, like, time is such an invaluable asset. And being an entrepreneur kind of opens your mind to how valuable time is because you know, how limited the time you have in a week is. And your energy, like, knowing that you can’t do it all by yourself and like, being willing to ask for help and hire help is worth it. Because once you realize, like, the cost of your time and you put that into perspective, like, back to editing videos, I’m like, okay, I was spending over 10 hours a week and realizing like, if I put a value, my hourly rate on my time, I’m like, yes, I should definitely hire someone else for less than my rate. 


39:18

Geronimo Carlos
If you just put things in a perspective, but not only in the terms of work, but like time with family and friends and things that really matter to you and health, how do you make sure you there’s still balance in my life. As busy as things are, I still prioritize health because without health, I can’t do any of this stuff as optimally as I could. So love and respect your time. Remember that it’s an invaluable resource because you can always make more money, but you can never make more time. 


39:52

Monica H. Kang
Love it. Very powerful reminder. And I know very much one of your videos you talk about one of the top 20 lessons from your first twenties that you look back. I thought it was really great. Number one, you talked about sleep. So very much aligned to your therase. I did check out your materials. And the last question, but the least, how do you want us to stay in touch? So of course I’m gonna make sure folks get a chance to follow you on Instagram. Your YouTube channel, LinkedIn and other. But is there any preference and where you want people? If somebody has a question or they want to reach out to you, where do you prefer they reach out? 


40:25

Geronimo Carlos
If you have a question, feel free to message me on Instagram. That’s the fastest way. I need to make a new business email because my personal email inbox is kind of getting crowded. But I’m also forming my new company. So yeah, I would say Instagram is the best. Okay. And check me out on YouTube. 


40:41

Monica H. Kang
Perfect. Perfect. My dream world. Thank you so much for joining us, folks. This was curious Monica. I’m your host, Monica King. This is show from Innovators Fox and we’re just so thrilled you’re here. I hope this has inspired you and motivated you to know that innovators are all inside you. And so, Geronimo, thank you again for treating us to your story and journey to take a look and reflect on how much we can do when we put our passion and thought into what we love. So thank you so much. And we’ll be back again with another story next week. So see you soon. Bye. Thanks so much for tuning into today’s episode. Your support means the world to us. So we’re so glad you’re here. Want to do a little shout out for those in the team who made this possible? 


41:31

Monica H. Kang
Audio engineering and production is done by Sam Lehmart, Audio Engineering Assistace by Ravi Lad, website and marketing support by Kree Pandey, Graphic Support by Lea Orsini, Christine Eribal, original music by InnovatorsBox Studios and executive producing, directing, writing, researching and hosting by me, Monica Kang, founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox. Audio engineering and production is done by Sam Lamourd Audio Engineering Assistants by Ravi Ladd website and marketing support by Creep Graphic Support by Leah Orsini Christine Eribal original music by Innovators Box Studios and executive producing, directing, writing, researching and hosting by me, Monica Kang, founder and CEO of Innovators Fox. Visit us at innovatorsbox.com and get some free resources at innovatorsbox.com/free. Reap. We look forward to seeing you at the next episode. Thank you and have a wonderful day. 

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