Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Caitlin Zaino
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Introducing Caitlin Zaino
Todays guest, joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast is Caitlin Zaino.
She is a lady who from an air conditioned hotel room in Nicaragua found her path to a future that delights her, inspires her and probably makes her struggle to keep the weight off too.
Whilst whiling away the days watching the Food Network on television, she came up with a plan that would combine her passion for foods with her delight in travel…she would become the Urban Grocer.
Travelling the world she would seek out the kind of exotic foods that each country produces and weave it into a spunky informative and fun tv programme.
But if you think that her history is one that is linked with the media and her delight in discovering and talking about amazing foods, then think again.
Way back in 2004, she worked in a restaurant in Boston prepping hot and cold first courses during and before service, but then amazingly left and became a script writer for the Russian Premier Mikhail Gorbachev.
How The Dots Joined Up For Caitlin
Yeah really, how the hell did that happen?
I can’t begin to imagine, but straight after that Caitlin Zaino jumped back into the food game, and hosted a Food Radio Programme in Switzerland called “Caitlin’s Kitchen”.
Getting the idea??
This is one of those shows where the dots of her life are quite difficult to tie up, but it seems true to say that even as a small child, working away in her mothers kitchen, she learnt to appreciate the delights of what we can place on our dinner plates.
And that has carried throughout her adult life.
And now with her latest venture, Porter and Sail, she is combining her love of food, and travel, with her passion for helping the discerning travellers to find the best of what is out there.
The hidden gems, that can help us all be world savvy diners.
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs in todays business coaching podcast, with the one and only Caitlin Zaino
During the episode we discussed such weighty topics with Caitlin Zaino such as:
How the vibrancy of the Italian American kitchen was the hub of family life in her childhood, and inspired her to move forwards into a career that savours food, and builds a whole sociability into eating.
Why she decided that she would work for two weeks in a kitchen in Cambridge without getting paid, and thinks it is a great way to overcome the gatekeeper and create opportunities for yourself!
How she actually answered every question in an interview for the Russian Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, without him saying a word!
Why Jamie Oliver has inspired her to start food and cooking to the masses, in a style all of her own
How she came to be an actual Baroness, but doesn’t tell anyone….although her sister does a great of job of doing just that!
How To Connect With Caitlin Zaino
If you enjoyed this episode of Join Up Dots then why not listen to some of our favourite podcast episodes such as Ted Yoder, Sean Swarner or the amazing Alfie Best
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription Of Caitlin Zaino
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello there. Good morning world. How are we all? Are you ready for another episode of Join Up Dots? Of course you are. And that’s why you’re here, Episode 180 today and we are going we’re going to New York I’ve seen to been in New York a lot recently. And it’s great for numerous different reasons. It gives us so many areas that we can talk about, and be sort of internet connexion seems to be amazing in New York is the place to go if you want to sit there with your mobile phone in a park getting best internet connexion really is the place. Well, let me introduce you to today’s guest. She is a lady who from an air conditioned hotel room in Nicaragua found her path to a future that delight so inspires her and probably makes her struggle to keep the weight off to whilst whining away the days watching the Food Network on TV. She came up with a plan that would combine her passion for food. With her delight in travel, she would become the urban grocer travelling the world she would seek out the kind of exotic foods that each country produces and weave it into a spunky, informative and fun TV programme. But if you think that our history is one that is linked with the media and her delight in discovering and talking about amazing foods, then think again, way back in 2004. She worked in a restaurant in Boston prepping hot and cold first courses during and before service. So that’s kind of foodie. But then amazingly, left and became a script writer for The Russian premiere Mikhail Gorbachev. Yeah, How the hell did that happen? I can’t begin to imagine but straight after that, she jumped back into the food game and hosted a food radio programme in Switzerland called Caitlin’s kitchen getting the idea. This is one one of those shows where the dots of her life are quite difficult to tie up, but it seems true to say, but even as a small child working away in a mother’s kitchen, she learned to appreciate the delights of what we can place on our dinner plates. And that has carried us through adult life. And now with her latest venture Porter and sour, she’s combining a love of food and travel with a passion for helping the discerning travellers to find the best of what is out there, the hidden gems that can help us all be a world savvy diners. So it’s with great delight. But I bring onto the show today to start Join Up Dots about one and only Caitlin Zaino. How are you, Caitlin?
Caitlin Zaino [2:37]
I’m good. Thank you. How are you?
David Ralph [2:39]
I am always good, Caitlin. And life just gets better and better. Because I get to speak to lovely ladies who come into my world. And they I don’t know why they do it. Why? Why? Are they all coming into my world in such droves? Caitlin,
Caitlin Zaino [2:53]
I think is your well with introductions like that. I think anybody would want to hang out with you.
David Ralph [3:00]
My wife wants to hang up?
Caitlin Zaino [3:03]
Yeah, I think so. I think so. I also think anybody, everybody appreciate someone that is sort of enthusiastic about celebrating, sort of what’s new and exciting and anybody wanting to create and sort of own what they’re doing with their with their with their life.
David Ralph [3:21]
Absolutely. And that is what this show is about. I forgot your professional, you gave me a perfect segue into the show because you you are somebody but when when I start doing research, a lot of people when I start trying to connect the dots, I go, yeah, okay, I can see how that win and not win and not win. But you’ve got kind of themes that link through but your jobs and your positions and your kind of moments in your life. It’s very eclectic, isn’t it? Did you look back at your life and kind of go, Wow, this has been a bit of a rush so far.
Caitlin Zaino [3:56]
Well, yeah, you know, in preparation for actually speaking with us was kind of thinking about what I’ve been doing and, and sort of how to say that in a concise manner. And it’s, and it’s really not easy to explain, because for me, it makes very set in a lot of sense how I went from one place to the next. But I know looking at it from an external viewpoint, it’s sort of confusing how I went from the UN to what I’m doing now.
David Ralph [4:20]
But I suppose it all started. And this is where I’m going to take you back in time to your mother’s kitchen because I was talking to your lovely sister the other day, and she said that the kind of the Italian New York kitchen was a big part of your childhood.
Caitlin Zaino [4:35]
Yeah, it was it was a huge part of our of our childhood, and particularly my grandmother’s kitchen, as well as really where I learned to have a love for, for food and for cooking. And I think part of that food, it was the and the connexion to it was really about nurturing the people around you. And it’s very much the environment in which we grew up. I mean, I remember going to my first communion with a kitchen burn on my hand. And like I was just in the kitchen, that young and how to be around knives in boiling pots and such, but it was always part of our lives and always seen as something that that brought the family together.
David Ralph [5:11]
So easy, because in England, we kind of cook meals, we take them to the table, and we eat, and we don’t really get involved in preparation, if we can help it. That’s mums. I shouldn’t say that. But in my house, that’s mom’s job. And so in in your life growing up, it was very much a case that you all prepared the food together. It was more a kind of social scene more than you just came in at and you left.
Caitlin Zaino [5:38]
Oh, yeah, definitely, it was absolutely a social scene, I think, from the preparation of the food to the eating of the food. I mean, everyone’s still jokes that, you know, our Sunday dinners would start at 2pm. And it really it was properly dinner, it will just start at two and go on until eight or nine o’clock at night. And there’s always multiple courses and and there’s some really great storeys in terms of this sort of social aspect of, you know, going into my grandmother’s house and everybody would be there ready for this entire sort of smorgasbord throughout the day. And you would go into her her bedroom or the living room and they were just be sheets of homemade ravioli is on the bed or on the floor everywhere you loved because she lived in sort of a small apartment in Queens to start and so it different The moment you walked in until the moment you left, it was all around food. That’s sort of where the family sort of gathered.
David Ralph [6:28]
Because I think that would put me off. If it’s too much food. I’m not a great eater anyway, and I’m one of these people where I eat to survive. I watch these TV programmes sometimes. And you see somebody and they put a bit of food in their mouth, and they close their eyes. And it’s like they’re making love to it is like the greatest thing they’ve ever had. And I’ve never experienced that to me, I just shovel it in and then I go its food something that you can really taste the difference. And is it because that you were you saw lovingly prepared as a child, but you can appreciate were with me, it was just, you know, it was an interruption to what I was doing. So we just shuffled, shuffled in and went off again.
Caitlin Zaino [7:11]
Oh, absolutely. I mean, we have this thing in my house that if you make food for someone and they don’t, quote unquote fall off their chair, that you’ve done something horribly wrong and or they’re not getting invited back like you I mean, this appreciation for food was something that we always had and being you know, Italian American, it there’s a lot of, I guess over the top sort of drama around it all. So absolutely. When you there’s this feeling, I think in our family, certainly when you taste something and you’re having that experience that it is a very exciting, joyful sort of moment. And I think for me personally, like when I’m eating or if I’m having a really great meal or whatever that is, I think it has powers to not only sort of, you know, fulfil you in that moment, but also kind of inspire a journey inspire a trip inspire what’s coming next for you. It’s for me, it’s very connected to something greater than just what’s on your plate or just the taste. It’s really about uncovering sort of the scene behind all of it. And I I guess that’s what it was with a family as well, right? Because you’re talking about simple things like stuffed artichokes, or homemade ravioli is a food like that. It’s it’s incredibly simple food. But it was this idea that the context behind it was my grandmother’s bustling house and all of her family being there for hours preparing and cooking together and enjoying it together. And I think that’s it right? There’s only this hugely positive sort of scene and context behind every single bite you take
David Ralph [8:36]
on, like that sort of environment that he reminds me of a film. It’s one of those. Yeah, and it is exactly like that. Is it the image in my head of the large Italian name going out there, and she’s chopping and she’s bashing and the kids are running around and everything sort of going mad. But ultimately, this this plate of steaming food lands on the table perfectly prepared.
Caitlin Zaino [8:58]
Oh, totally. I mean, I thought it was normal, like sort of our upbringing and what that was, it wasn’t until I went out into the sort of wider world beyond New York that I realised it wasn’t it wasn’t something that everybody did. But absolutely, like one of my favourite movies is big night. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it though. Stanley Tucci? Well, you must, because there is an end. I mean, that is family at that is sort of dinner at my, at my family’s house, there’s, you know, just great scenes of them bringing out this meal that was prepared for hours, and everybody is falling off their chair as they should, and it’s just, you know, extends for the length of the night. And that is that is exactly sort of how we grew up. And, and I think it’s how everybody should grow up. So you’re gonna have to check it out.
David Ralph [9:41]
I’m gonna check that out. I’m gonna, I’m gonna look through on Netflix to see if I can find it. And I will, I will report back. So so you in January 2004, you left New York and you went to Boston, and you worked in a restaurant, which kind of seems a natural state of affairs from what you’ve been telling me. But it’s the bit of the fat, but I kind of go, what, and you suck me end up working on for Mikhail Gorbachev? How the hell did that happen? I just can’t see the connexion.
Caitlin Zaino [10:12]
So admit, yes. So essentially, when I an undergrad, I studied political science and philosophy. And I was going to be an attorney. And, and I wanted to be an attorney, because I wanted something that was ever challenging and interesting. And that took a lot of, I guess, work to get to. And I knew that before I went down that path, I wanted to just try it out for myself and work in the kitchen and see what that was. Because my love of food was was so strong, I just I needed to do it for myself in a way. And so I just called up a bunch of restaurants in Boston and Cambridge. And I asked them if I could work in their kitchen, and the only one that said gas was upstairs on the square, which is a restaurant that just closed but was in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And the shack, the owner said I could work there for free. And if it if it went, well, then they would start paying me. And so I convinced my parents to help me do that I got a research position at the Kennedy School at Harvard. And that was like my guys that my parents would think this is a good idea. So I was going to do research. And by the way, also work in the kitchen.
David Ralph [11:25]
It seems to be a trait running through your family that you are born to hustle, you have hustle muscle through you. And you kind of make your own opportunities, because most people would look at that and go, No, hang on, I’m not gonna work for nothing. But you kind of saw that as a bigger sense of an opportunity, you could work through that to get what you wanted.
Caitlin Zaino [11:46]
Yes, and let me tell you, the end of that storey is within two weeks, they started paying me. So I just had to go work hard show that I knew what I was doing, which I knew how to cook, but I didn’t know what I was doing in a professional kitchen. So I guess I faked that part. And before they were even supposed to start even evaluating whether or not they were going to pay me they moved me into that position straight away. And I was there for months.
David Ralph [12:10]
I think that’s really one of the things of this episode. So far, I want to get out to the listeners. But if you are looking to get into an environment and you’re finding that the gatekeeper is pushing it shut all the time, you can get round it, can’t you because a lot of people will look for the character, the personality of the person more than your experience. So if you’re knocking on the door going, look, I will work for nothing. I will show you how good I am. Most people are likely to say I’ll give you a go. And you’ve been got your opportunity what you do with it once you’re in there is up to you. But certainly I think so many people will go now it’s got to be a paid job. It’s got to be a paid job. But it’s how much you want it. And you really wanted this. So you thought it was a good move.
Caitlin Zaino [12:53]
Yeah, and I think that you know, Further to that. Everyone always says this, like, Oh, you just have to ask, but honestly, you just have to ask. And for me like, it’s not that I asked one restaurant and they said yes, I probably asked 50 restaurants, it’s just I only needed one. Yes. And so that’s the other thing too. It’s like, you know, it’s not always on the first shot. But that it doesn’t mean that you stop asking. And then for me once they gave me that in, I kind of felt like, okay, I’ll do the best that I can to make, you know, to make that be something that I can that I can then really do for months and sustain myself. But once you get a guest and just kind of run with it and make them proud that they said yes,
David Ralph [13:31]
I have spoken to so many people over the last few months, that literally say to me, the way to success is to go for knows, go for the the ones that are scary. The ones that you go, Oh no, they’re gonna say no, they’re gonna say no. Because when you do get a yes, from that, it’s actually a big Yes. And it really pushes you on. So you might be reaching out to a celebrity, you might be reaching out to do anything, but your natural state of affairs in your mind goes know, it’s never gonna happen. It’s never gonna happen. And so the way to success, this is Oprah know, and you kind of buy into that, I suppose.
Caitlin Zaino [14:04]
Yes. And you know, as you mentioned, you spoke with my sister, Jess, and she is probably the one that taught me that to be quite honest, because that girl can hustle. And she will do whatever, you know, she she has met, the coolest people had some of the greatest Jobs. And it’s all by asking, and just kind of going for it. And I’ve really learned that from her. And so in my own work forever, but you know, I’ve been to the present, I just I have no fear about kind of reaching out to people and asking, and you don’t always you don’t always get the response you want, you don’t always get a response. But when you do, it’s just it’s the coolest thing. And there’s so much that comes out of that. So you have to, you have to at least try in order to even have a chance of getting something out of it.
David Ralph [14:45]
And it’s one of those things that it gets easier, doesn’t it the very first time you ask it’s terrifying. I remember the very first time that I asked anyone to come on this show, and I didn’t have a show. I saw said would you come on this being that I’m going to do and I had to sell the dream and the passion men? Somebody said yes. I mean, another person said yes. And I sort of got it going. But the first time it was it wasn’t terrifying. But I just kind of didn’t want to ask, I wanted to do the thing. But I also didn’t want to ask because if I meant said yes, I knew that I was going to be doing the thing. And it was going to be it was going to be hard work. But you once you push through it, you realise that it’s not that hard, is the hard part is getting it going. And it’s a lot easier if you ask for help.
Caitlin Zaino [15:27]
Yeah, and see this is really interesting, right? Because sometimes it’s like, are you not asking because you don’t want to have rejection? Or is that what you’re concerned about? Or are you not asking? Because then you actually have to do it. And I think you know, like what you’re saying the moment someone says, Okay, then you’re in this place of now having to do that thing. So I think you know, that’s why you have to pretend that neither of those scenarios exist either that you’re not afraid to do it, or you’re not afraid for a note and just kind of ignore that and and just go for it. Because at least once it’s in front of you, then you don’t have a choice. It is strange, isn’t it? I’m
David Ralph [16:02]
sure you’ve had this because I’ve had this as well, where you want something to be so successful, and you really work at it, like like your life depends on it. And then when it suddenly does get successful, you suddenly get scared, but you’ve created a success and you can’t match up to it somehow have you have you had those kind of feelings?
Caitlin Zaino [16:18]
Yes, I’ve definitely have those feelings. And I think the hardest part is understanding or recognising when you have that feeling and then not letting it block you from moving forward. So it’s like, okay, am I do? Can I acknowledge that I’m doing this because I’m afraid of the success? Or, you know, is there something else that’s coming in the way and if it’s that you’re afraid of the success, I think you just kind of have to plough through it and and try and try to create an environment that’s open to it. But it’s hard. I think that’s the hardest thing actually knowing what what actions you’re taking based on what you’re really afraid of or not. That’s really that’s something that I struggle with always.
David Ralph [16:55]
Well, I think everyone does struggle with that. And that’s, that’s one of the things that, you know, I’m I’m surprised but when you look at really successful people, and I was speaking to a chap today who who won a BAFTA, which is like the English equivalent of the Oscars. And when he was at the ceremony, The Big Show, he was surrounded by these, these a list of people who kind of were all looking around, I’m not really sure how I’ve managed to get here. I’m just a normal person doing a job. And now I’m playing this a list of star. And he said he found it fascinating. But no matter what level of success you’ve got, even like apparently the late Robin Williams, he was saying to me, I didn’t realise this, even at his peak. If you asked him, would you come down to entertain my kids? He would, because he was so frightened of getting a no and never working again. He just kept on pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, because he wasn’t really sure how his talents had got him to that position. And it’s all those incremental gains, isn’t it? It’s all those tiny little things that you do over a period of time that gets you to that perceived success, which people who haven’t made that star just can’t see in the beginning.
Caitlin Zaino [18:03]
Yes, 100% that’s the thing. It’s, it’s about, I think small steps and incremental gains, and just like continuing to push forward and, and not being afraid to change, you know, direction every once in a while. But it’s it is it’s all small steps. It’s never one big grand one day or this and the next day, your whole you know, You’re something else. I mean, yes. And yes, to some extent, but but really, it takes so much time, it takes so much time and and and it’s really about having patience with that and just take like putting one foot in front of the other I think,
David Ralph [18:40]
have you ever thought of giving up on stuff because you sound like a lady who when she wants something, she goes for it and it’s it you know, I’m looking at you like everybody looks at success is like, it was easy for Caitlyn. But of course it’s not because you’ve struggled and you’ve done things and things haven’t worked and things have worked and stuff. But if you ever had that time when you got our never gonna work, I’m just gonna give up. But you’ve gone enough a couple of steps. I mean, something has happened.
Caitlin Zaino [19:06]
Kind of, which is to say, I’m incredibly tenacious. I try to not let that make me stubborn, so I can’t see what isn’t working and fix it. But I’m pretty I’m pretty tenacious. So by that I mean, if I have that creeping feeling of like, I should just give up or this isn’t gonna work. I just, I just tend to ignore it. I just tend to ignore it and keep on going. And honestly, I think I keep on doing that because it keeps on working.
David Ralph [19:38]
Well, that’s a competence thing, isn’t it? That’s like Dumbo is magic feather. When he when he had to February could fly, but you took it away and he would plummet. So you’ve got this, this unerring belief that it’s going to work out because it’s done. Previously, boy.
Caitlin Zaino [19:53]
Yeah, exactly. And to be quite honest, you know, do I fully believe that? It should be on the day, but I tell myself, I believe that because that’s the way that I get through. Whatever I’m trying to do is like so I if I don’t believe that, that I’m not I then I would really I think struggle to kind of move through each day. And, and, and and all of the things that I’ve done, you just have to believe it, you have to believe it.
David Ralph [20:19]
Every morning, I look in the mirror and I do this little speech to myself. And it kind of kickstart me, because I seem to have my dark periods at from about four o’clock in the morning till six. And for some reason, I don’t know why I can go to bed really pumped up and thinking everything’s going to go marvellous and what a fantastic day that was. And this period during the night just kind of knocks me down again, I don’t know what’s matter with me. And then I look in the mirror and I do this little speech to me, and I get myself pumped up again. And then I come to work and it goes great again. But I seem to be on this vicious circle that I can’t quite break from totally believing, but I’m going to achieve what I totally want. It’s going to go wrong somewhere.
Caitlin Zaino [21:01]
That’s, you know, we used to call I used to get really nervous at night, I used to call it 10 o’clock at night anxiety, because I would get really nervous like that at night. But the only thing you can do is go to sleep. And then because inevitably, when the day does come and start, then everything is fine. And so I don’t know what that is. It’s nighttime hours, we all have
David Ralph [21:22]
a don’t wait.
Caitlin Zaino [21:23]
Yeah. Oh, yeah. I think that that’s the thing that, you know, like, like you were saying for yourself. And and for everyone. I think everybody has it, it’s just a matter of do you let it dictate what you’re going to do the next day or not? And I think that’s, that’s kind of where you have to live even, you know, just not letting it say not letting it ruin your plans?
David Ralph [21:44]
Is it easier to get over these doubts? Because I think we’re talking about being courageous at the moment and and getting over fears. But it is easier to do that when you love what you’re doing? Or is it? Well, I’m just gonna leave it at that question. Is it easier to get over those fears? When you really love what you’re doing?
Caitlin Zaino [22:02]
I think yes, I think I have, you know, now I’m working in, in and around food, and I really have a passion for food. But what I’ve learned is that I have a real passion for being an entrepreneur. And it’s that which I am dedicated to doing and that which I love doing. And and it makes me feel like I if I can I have to do everything I can to make that a reality. And so it does incentivize me to push all of those fears aside, because it’s not worth it. It’s not worth being afraid if that means that I can’t do what I want to do. So I think that you absolutely have to love what you’re doing. And that gives you courage to to sort of fight every day to do it.
David Ralph [22:45]
Well, it’s my speech now that says those words extremely well. And this is Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [22:50]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. When I was 12 years old. He was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [23:17]
That gets me pumped up every time I listen to it.
Caitlin Zaino [23:21]
Totally, totally. I that’s the whole thing. Right? I mean, that last slide like you could fail at what you what you don’t want. So why why would you you know, if you’re, if you can fail Anyway, you might as well try to do something that you’re excited about.
David Ralph [23:36]
I’ve done so many jobs in my time came back, I look back on and I go, Yeah, I was good at that. I was really good at that. But I’m not really sure why I was doing it. Now. It was it wasn’t really me. It was like I was taking as many of my strengths and talents and kind of squeezing them into this weird shape that was sustainable at work. Now I’m doing this, and it just builds like I’m flowing, it just feels like it’s naturally me just feels like I should have been doing this years ago. And it’s weird that how many people are in positions where they kind of, they’re just getting by by the skin of their teeth. And if I do lose their job, which is terrifying, then they might have a freedom to actually go, I’m going to take the risk because the risks already happened. But they’re unwilling to let go of what they’ve actually got at that moment, even though it’s unfulfilling for them.
Caitlin Zaino [24:28]
I think it’s always scary what’s on the other side of all of it, right? Because at least if you’re in the unfulfilling job, and you’re even when you are good at it, you can say okay, well, this is what I have. And so the unknown is always like that, you know, I think that’s that’s, that’s the biggest leap of faith going from this is what I know whether or not I like it, too. There’s a whole world that I don’t know. And that’s where I think as long as you if you can do something that you really, really care about, it makes jumping off that cliff a lot easier.
David Ralph [24:59]
But it’s job you do you it’s new, isn’t it? That’s the thing. We all go on a path. And I thought about this a lot. Why did I go into banking and finance when I left college, and I think to myself, I have no idea. It was almost like everybody else was doing it. So I did. And I ended up working in an office up in the City of London. And I remember walking in and thinking to myself while I do six months here, because it’s not me and I was there for 13 years. And then I left because I’d had enough. And then I went into a similar job. And I did another 15 years. And I look at it now. And I think that was lunacy, there was no part of that career path that was actually me. But I made the initial decision to do something that was new. I’m sure I was scared at the time, because it was a brand new job, I didn’t know but I could take it and run with it and do whatever I needed to do. And now I say to my kids, as we’re driving along in the car, who thinks that they can do anything they want in life, and I put their hands up and I go, who’s going to ignore anyone who tells you that you can’t do anything in life, I put my hands up, and we do this kind of motivational speech. And I wish somebody had done that to me when I was just leaving college, because I would have been more courageous because at that point, I should have found myself I should have given it a go. But I didn’t I went for the easy option.
Caitlin Zaino [26:17]
Yeah, I mean, I think I was just in a conversation recently about millennials and the and and you know all of these characterizations about millennials. But I think the one thing about this generation is that millennials believe that they can do anything. And while people might read that is entitlement, I also think it’s this incredible burst of optimism and that people aren’t just saying, I’m going to do xy and z, because that’s what I think I should do, right? Like, I’m not going to go into banking, because that’s what everybody else is doing. They’re there, whether or not it’s it’s deserved, yet or not, I think that this new generation has come forth with this idea that like whatever you want to achieve, you can achieve it. And by the way, you have a right to it. And I think that that’s influenced the greater sort of society at large, at least in certain in certain places where it’s like, by having this influx of people who are really fighting for what, you know, they think they deserve, it does sort of seep into everybody else as well, where it’s like, well, hang on, if they can do that, then why can’t I?
David Ralph [27:20]
Did you think that we have got more opportunities now than we ever had the fact that you know, I’ve created my own radio show, basically, and you created your own TV programme. And you’ve got these kind of opportunities where you can almost start things on a shoestring because of the internet, but you couldn’t have done maybe five or 10 years ago, does that give us more opportunities? Or does that just make the competition harder in the areas that people would naturally go into the kind of sexy fun stuff?
Caitlin Zaino [27:47]
I think both I think it makes the competition harder. And I think it makes the opportunities greater. So it’s like, if you are if you want to do something, even if it’s saturated, even if there are thousand people do doing it. Now you at least can try right so i think technology has given us this great platform to give it a shot. And I think that is really powerful and really important. If you have a shot to do it. You you sort of are not doing yourself justice if you don’t take it and and i don’t think that anybody should go forth with the assumption that it won’t ever be hard. There will always be competition. It’s just about you know, doing the best you can to build the best thing you can in the best way you can.
David Ralph [28:29]
So So jumping back cuz I’m still fascinated by that guy. What was Mikhail Gorbachev like, man? Could he speak English?
Caitlin Zaino [28:36]
So no, I he could not I worked for me co Gorbachev’s nonprofit, or non governmental organisation called Green cross International. I worked out of their Geneva office. And my job was to write statements and speeches and interviews rather out on his behalf. So for instance, there was a Actually, I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but there was an interview in the MP magazine and in the UK, it was an interview with Gorbachev and I, as a 23 year old actually wrote all of his answers. So um, but yeah, that so anything that had to be done an English in terms of correspondence, interviews, statements and newspapers, that was what I was tasked with doing so tightly, but
David Ralph [29:26]
he sends check that what you wrote, I’m fascinated about that. Or could you say, Yes, I love the police academy films or something. So people, really Mikhail Gorbachev, watch his police academy. Did anybody actually read what you wrote?
Caitlin Zaino [29:38]
Yes, very much. And I had, there was a president of the organisation who gave me very clear sort of directive and marching orders. And I knew exactly what I was supposed to write how to write it, they told me what to say I just kind of put it to put it in, in in written word and and sent it off. And so there was definitely a check on it. And and it was definitely coming from from the voice of the organisation and from Gorbachev’s voice and vision. I just, I just was the vehicle.
David Ralph [30:07]
And when he was in this position, did you kind of think, yeah, I’m only here for a while, or was this your thing at that stage?
Caitlin Zaino [30:13]
Yeah, I mean, I guess I felt like what I was loved what I loved about working at Green cross, and in that moment, was really being able to be in this international community and being exposed to all of these new people in places at such a high level. And as it as an Italian American girl from New York, I never expected to be in that kind of situation. And, and, and that was really exciting. But I knew the work itself was something that I would eventually kind of tire of
David Ralph [30:39]
this. That’s a statement. That’s amazing. Because you seem to me to be somebody that goes, Well, I fancy doing this. Let’s go out to do it. So say that phrase that you just said that you never expected to be in that position. That’s kind of a contribution from what I’m getting about you.
Caitlin Zaino [30:55]
Well, I mean, look, I think I was 23. Let’s, I was in, let’s say, even as a as an example, at this conference, I was in a conference in Brisbane, Australia. I had come from New York, from like a middle class family. I was all of a sudden in a room with Mikhail Gorbachev and Nobel Prize winners. I mean, I don’t think that I mean, coveted or not, I don’t think that that was ever expected on my path. For sure. I mean, that even to this day, it’s kind of wild that I was able to do those things and have that experience.
David Ralph [31:25]
But I must admit, when I got the sort of bumped by Rob, you and I saw about I thought, hang on, hang on. And and the other thing I’ve got to ask you because he’s just popped into my head. But I was told by a lovely lady that I interviewed, but you’re a barrenness as well. Is this true?
Caitlin Zaino [31:42]
It is, it is. It’s true. What did you What did you
David Ralph [31:45]
Caitlin Zaino [31:47]
Because that is Jessica’s favourite thing to say about it was the first.
David Ralph [31:51]
It was the first line on the email. Yes, she’s a proper Baroness.
Caitlin Zaino [31:56]
I will. So my I have my husband’s family. It’s in his line, but it’s so old that like, you know, we can’t even nobody even uses it. Apparently. I feel like I want to use it to get upgraded on aeroplanes. But it’s not on the tick down menu. So no, but it’s true. It’s just my it’s my husband’s family. So my my maiden name is Caitlin Caitlin Zeno, but my married name, I guess is Baroness wandering.
David Ralph [32:25]
That’s brilliant in that that that? I would I’d have that on my check box on my credit cards. I’d have it everywhere that is gonna this isn’t it?
Caitlin Zaino [32:34]
You would, you would hope so. But Jessica is the only one that my sister is the only one that tells anybody.
David Ralph [32:38]
Well, she told me and it was. It was a first words in in bold type. And I thought I’ve got to get this lady on the show never had a Baroness before.
Caitlin Zaino [32:47]
Yeah, yeah, I don’t. It’s not that glamorous on the way that we’re doing it.
David Ralph [32:54]
Well, it’s still impressed me, as did you becoming the urban grocer as well, because that was a strange as well, because you’re sitting in a hotel room, your husband or your partner at that time is going off to work. So you’ve got a bit of time to kill? And you’re watching this TV programme over time? Did when it popped into your head? Did you instantly know how that how you could achieve that? Was it it kind of, I don’t know if you know, Jamie Oliver, the sort of English cook that we have. He used to do this kind of show, but it was almost a video camera and him. And he was bashing food around Bish, bash, Bosh, I think he used to say, was it that kind of view that you thought, yes, I could do this, I could get a video camera and just build it myself? Or was there a wider scheme of the vision that you had?
Caitlin Zaino [33:39]
I will say just to, I have to say this, just to point it just immediately, which is Jamie Oliver was like a total revelation to me when he first came out, I thought, so you can be young, and you really cool things in food. And he honestly, like seeing him and seeing his presence and seeing that show. Everything about it made me want to do that. So there was a total connexion to to Jamie Oliver, and to the young people in food and the new food programming that was coming out at that time. And, and so when I when I was thinking about this idea, I didn’t know where it could go, I just knew that I was at this point, getting very bored of what I was doing with the UN and I wanted to start to, to kind of go back to everything that I was really excited about and that was food and so I knew I wanted to bring food back into my life. I didn’t know how and I was watching food TV all day in Nicaragua. And and I kind of just started writing.
David Ralph [34:36]
Did you know I I record about five miles away from where Jamie Oliver films he’s TV programme is a programme that he does, at the end of appear in the south end, peer nervous. And it’s a kind of classic English seaside town and he films he’s a show at the end of the veil. And he grew up about seven miles away from me. He’s always in this area. He’s got very large boat, I must admit, I think he’s eating more of the food when he’s actually giving away.
Caitlin Zaino [35:06]
So funny. I feel like all right, Danny, he’s probably deserving at this point, right? I mean, he’s been around for so many years, he he can indulge,
David Ralph [35:16]
he looks like Pavarotti with an English accent. He’s let himself go.
Caitlin Zaino [35:23]
I guess the naked chef isn’t really the best title for him these days.
David Ralph [35:27]
We had like covering up chef, that’s the show that some did you do? You know, because you’re attractive, lovely, lovely looking woman. But if you’re eating food all the time, has weight been a problem, or you want to be women that everybody will dislike because you just never put on any way at all.
Caitlin Zaino [35:46]
Oh, no, I definitely put on weight. And if I don’t, it’s because I’m being careful otherwise. I mean, I was saying this morning, it really is astonishing, actually, that I’m not twice the size. But But no, it is a problem. Here’s the thing that I say, like, I’d kind of rather eat and just enjoy it. And I try to you know, keep it in moderation and make the right decisions in terms of like, I will never hesitate to have an incredible meal if it’s being put in front of me. But that doesn’t mean I need to eat 5 million calories a day every day. So but I think that the the trade off is I would rather eat and be a little plump. Then not eat and not enjoy it. How about
David Ralph [36:29]
if you were a lot plump.
Caitlin Zaino [36:32]
Then maybe I would change my mind. But look at Jamie Oliver.
David Ralph [36:36]
just said you know, you wouldn’t want me to say Caitlyn, Xena. She’s let herself go in the same way would you
Caitlin Zaino [36:42]
know I wouldn’t? I wouldn’t like it. I don’t I don’t know, I guess talk to me in a few years maybe because it would be kind
David Ralph [36:49]
of fun. And I kind of like Join Up Dots. I like things to be cylindrical. So we can go around in a circle. And it would be kind of funny, my twisted mind, Caitlin. But ultimately you end up like your name. This this vision that I’ve got cooking away in the kitchen and a large buxom pokey lady. You know, that would be kind of fun to me. And I go yes, I could have seen that happening 20 years ago.
Caitlin Zaino [37:13]
I don’t think I mean, I get I don’t think I wouldn’t mind it so much. I mean, I probably would like you’re saying if you said Oh, she let herself go. I mean, that would just make me feel bad. But the idea of being my grandmother and being plump in a kitchen and cooking I mean, that’s not so bad.
David Ralph [37:29]
Wait, Oh, we don’t think you were very attractive if you were bringing in big plates of food as well. Yeah. What more would you want from a woman? Really?
Caitlin Zaino [37:37]
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think it’s not I think there’s a lot more to it. If you’re if you’re cooking for a whole family, and you’ve made homemade ravioli that are literally strewn upon your bed. I think, you know, nobody cares what you look like at that point. So someone
David Ralph [37:51]
is on a certain foods because he’s been gross a bit. This is fascinating. You go around the world, and you look for kind of urban food, the stuff that is being sold in in territories and cities and stuff. And you try it out. Yeah. Is there things that you have tried and you’ve gone? Oh my god, how can I class that as food?
Caitlin Zaino [38:12]
I’m sure of it. I’m sure of it. But there’s nothing that I can actually think of that stands out for me. And I don’t know why that is either. I’m not trying enough or I’m not remembering and a bad experiences. But but I kind of I tend to remember the good ones.
David Ralph [38:27]
Give us an example of a classic one if I was going out and I know you’re married and I know you’re a Baroness so yeah, out of my league, first of all, but save it. We had permission to go out for the evening. And you took me to some place? Where would be the ultimate food substance that you could feed me.
Caitlin Zaino [38:46]
Can I take you anywhere in the world take
David Ralph [38:48]
me anywhere you want. I’m very easy.
Caitlin Zaino [38:51]
Okay, I’m taking so MTV Safari. Okay, so I don’t know if you want to get this specific. But I will get this specific, which is a small restaurant about an hour outside of Bari and Puglia in the south of Italy. And there are maybe eight tables, one sitting a night you sit down and they just start bringing out food, so much food that it fills up the table next to you. And it’s things like regard to cheese that they’ve just made and all the milk is from the cows around the block and homemade sausages and Salamis and cooked zucchini flour. I mean everything is within, you know this very, very nearby radius, but it is so off the beaten path. I don’t I mean, I literally stumbled upon it, and it was easily the best meal I’ve ever had. So if I could take you anywhere, I mean, it’d be a little bit selfish, but I would take you there because I you know, I think it’s a place that everyone needs to try.
David Ralph [39:45]
The last time I asked that question, I asked it to a man who was a fitness health freak. And I said to him, where would we go? And it was Hooters now. I have never been to Hooters but your sounds better to me. I like the idea of your restaurant.
Caitlin Zaino [40:00]
Yeah, Yeah, I did. I like it. Also, though, I’ve probably at one point in my life, I may or may not have had buffalo wings from Hooters and they’re not so bad.
David Ralph [40:10]
You can’t go wrong with buffalo wings. Can you
Unknown Speaker [40:12]
know you can? I was a vegetarian for like two years cuz I thought it was cool when I was in high school, except that I would continue to eat buffalo wings. So I guess I wasn’t really a vegetarian.
David Ralph [40:22]
I’m doing three episodes back to back now, Miss evening, and I’m not having any dinner at all. And I’m already starving. So I’m really I should have looked at scheduling this show for another day because I am literally salivating at the thought of going on a date to Hooters and buffalo wings.
Unknown Speaker [40:38]
So forget MTV supporting in the south of Italy. And they’re gorgeous local food,
David Ralph [40:43]
the golden about it, it’s too much effort. I’m going straight to Hooters they should sponsor this. I should sponsor this show. So it would have been closer getting back to bat again. Why? Why did you stop it? Because it looks like something that is a dream elevate looks like something that is so exciting to do. Did it just sort of run its course? Or were you just itchy to move on to the next part?
Caitlin Zaino [41:07]
I think so. I mean, it’s certainly more so. So the urban grocer was something that I obviously I loved it I nurtured and I created. And I brought on a new co founder to work with me on it. And in January of 2013. Or started to talk to her about coming on board with me. By June, we had first met in New York, we sat down and we started talking about the urban grocer. And it’s sort of where it can go and how we can really turn it into something really, I love being an entrepreneur. But you know, I wanted to build a business out of it. I didn’t know what that was. And in our course of conversation, we within a few hours ended up stumbling upon what is now Porter and Sal. And as we work through it, I really, it was okay for me, I kind of felt like the urban grocer did run its course, what I’m doing now is somehow an extension of a lot of that work and everything I’ve done before. And so I don’t feel I’m bad about it. And I don’t feel like it’s ever been stopped. I kind of feel like it’s just retired because it’s it did what it was supposed to do. And it was wonderful and amazing. And, and, and that’s great.
David Ralph [42:11]
I like that I like but he it’s an itch that has been pitched. And he’s just sitting there waiting to go again. That’s that’s the perfect thing, isn’t it?
Caitlin Zaino [42:21]
Yeah, absolutely. And I think you know, a lot of people have said, like, Oh, I’m you know, I’m sorry, I don’t what happened and nothing dramatic happened. It was just time to move to the next bit. And, and it was also, I like that I didn’t do anything more with the urban grocer in a way that I feel like would tarnish What a great, amazing thing it was for me and how happy I am to have built that up in the community that I brought along with it. And you know, I didn’t have to watch it sort of, then take some downward spiral, it just kind of left on a high.
David Ralph [42:51]
Do you think when you get success, you do get a degree of how can I say this closure on certain things, web people will go and they will do a job and they won’t really like it. But I will do it for 40 years, it seems to me that the people who are successful, seem to start things move through clothes, it go on to the next bit. And they’re almost reinventing themselves over time. And you’ve kind of done that as well. Are you happy when you know that you’re going into a new area of your life? Or are you once again back into that? Oh, my God, is it going to fail? I’m a bit scared and all that kind of stuff.
Caitlin Zaino [43:28]
I am happy going into a new into a new area. I’m always afraid it’s going to fail. In the sense that like that, that’s always I think that, like I was saying before, I think that concern is always there. And it’s just working through it and pushing through it and ignoring it. But I’m always happy to also go into something new. And with what I’m working on right now. It hasn’t run its course, we have so much still to do. And I think you know, if it had to end tomorrow, I would be devastated. But you know, if we have you know, the success that we that we’re setting out to have in it’d be even if it changes course 1000 times along the way. I think once it achieves I guess the the vision of what of what it is then you kind of okay, you move on. And that’s what happened with the urban grocer. And I think yeah, that’s what happens with projects that you feel like are successful. It’s okay to walk away from them at that point.
David Ralph [44:18]
So you’ve created Porter and sound now we’re pretty much up to date. And you co co founded it with moto Nakamura, is that how you say it? Yes, yes, that’s it and give our listeners a flavour because I don’t believe I did a great job of selling what Porter and Sally is, but it sounds like a great thing to have to find most hidden gems in cities. It’s almost like a concierge service for like, local things that you wouldn’t generally find is that true?
Caitlin Zaino [44:44]
That’s exactly what it is. And we’re creating essentially curated content. So it’s where to eat and drink is what we’re starting with in every city sort of land, even though we’re only starting in four cities, but it’s the insider spots. And where do you drink in London, New York, Miami and Singapore. And we have we’re serving it as sort of a mobile concierge service. So if you’re at a at a hotel that is working with Porter and Sal, you would get access to our guide, and it would show you around that city from a an insider’s perspective. And so we are working with hotels, we’re working with smaller independent boutique hotels. And the goal is to really empower boutique travellers travellers who are looking for authentic, interesting experiences that allow them to uncover a city through its food, and give them the tools to do that really easily. And really uncover a place as if you have a friend that’s taking you by the hand and sitting you down and say, go here eat this. And by the way, I asked her this off a secret menu kind of thing.
David Ralph [45:46]
Have you got a page on it for buffalo wings at Hooters in f1?
Caitlin Zaino [45:51]
No, I think that’s like, you’re missing
David Ralph [45:55]
Caitlin Zaino [45:56]
I know, I know, we’re going through a different demographic I,
David Ralph [46:00]
I think I’m thinking purely of myself. So I would be pressing that button every 15 minutes, never play another plate. That’s what I want. What I want to do now what I want to press another button is because I want to bring the theme of the show, Steve Jobs did a speech back in 2005, when he talks about knowing your path only when looking back and connecting the dots and I’ve called the show Join Up Dots because of it. I want to play these words now. And I want to get your flavour on them whether they are relevant to you, wherever you take certain inspiration from them. So this is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [46:31]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [47:06]
So has it made the difference to you to buy into those words?
Caitlin Zaino [47:11]
I do I buy into them completely. I think if you like you said when you were talking about my background itself, so seemingly disconnected, but for me, it’s it’s incredibly linear, but it’s only because I’ve been kind of through it, and I see how it’s connected. But if you told me when I was 1823 25 throughout, I don’t think I would have ever known what was to come. I never thought half of what I would do I would ever do.
David Ralph [47:40]
And does that inspire you? When you look back on it? Do you like the feeling of not knowing where your path is going to end? Even now, as you’re talking to me? and be honest, Katie, and this must be the pinnacle. You must go to bed tonight going there’s nothing left to achieve. But if there was something to achieve, would that excite you again that you don’t know what’s around the corner?
Caitlin Zaino [48:02]
Yeah, I mean, I think that there’s loads left to achieve. I think that there’s so much that, that I still need to sort of do and get done. And I’m really excited. I mean, if if I say retrospectively, I had no idea what the last 10 years would bring that imagine what the next 10 years can bring. And I if I’m being an optimist, that’s super exciting. And so I think thinking ahead to the future, and and giving way to the unknown and being open to whatever that is, is just, I mean, I think that’s the most exciting thing that you could want to start your day.
David Ralph [48:36]
You didn’t agree that this was the pinnacle, though, I noticed that you went straight past.
Caitlin Zaino [48:41]
I do not agree. It’s the pinnacle. There’s so much to do. I mean, I think that it’s fair, it’s great to talk about like the creating things and the success that we’ve had, but
David Ralph [48:50]
I’m pushing you pushing you I’m trying to get a reaction you don’t have to justify you can just tell me to shut up.
Caitlin Zaino [48:56]
Well, I will just say I don’t think it’s the pinnacle.
David Ralph [49:00]
Hey, ago, but the way we’ve all got our opinions. So what I want to do now I do want to join up your your life and bring you full circle. And this is part of the show when I take you back in time like a time traveller. And if you could go back in time and have a one on one with your younger self. What would you say? And what age Caitlyn would you choose? I’m going to play the theme music and when it fades out, you’re up and this is the Sermon on the mic.
Caitlin Zaino [49:49]
Hello, 22 year old Caitlin. Take a deep breath. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid of the unknown of what’s scary. Don’t be afraid of failure. Trust yourself, put one foot in front of the other and know that it all happens. And if it doesn’t happen in 30 seconds, it doesn’t mean that it will never happen. Keep on moving forward. keep on believing in yourself. Keep on taking leaps of faith and have the courage to continue every day because you will get there and it takes a really long time to build something great. But it always comes if you just keep on stepping forward
David Ralph [50:30]
technique. How can our audience connect with you?
Caitlin Zaino [50:34]
Connect with me socially. You mean? Yeah, we’re gonna have a chat. Yeah. Um, I am on twitter at Caitlyn Zeno. And it’s Caitlin with the sea. Like Dylan Thomas’s wife, Caitlin. And my email is Caitlin at Porter and sell si elle.com.
David Ralph [50:56]
We will have all the links on the show notes. And Katie and thank you for much for spending time with us today joining up those dots of your life. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up because honestly, you’re my favourite Baroness ever. I’m as good as it gets. And I believe that by joining up those dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Caitlin Zaino. Thank you so much.
Caitlin Zaino [51:18]
Thank you Thanks a lot.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up Dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.