BBQ Icon Rodney Scott on Blazing Your Own Path in the Restaurant Business Interview with famed pitmaster and food entrepreneur Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott's BBQ about every day being a good day, the truth behind "overnight" celebrity, and how cooking with soul is vital to sustained success.

By Shawn P. Walchef

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Takeaways:

Cooking from the Soul - In the extremely tough world of hospitality, Rodney Scott understands there needs to be an element that separates. He encourages all chefs to cook from a place of care, and put their personal experiences in every dish.

33 Years to Become an Overnight Celebrity - Rodney Scott began his pitmaster journey during his teenage years, but his public acclaim didn't come until much later in his life. His so-called "overnight" success took lots of hard work and years.

Every Day is a Good Day - Every Day is a Good Day is a mantra that Rodney Scott lives by and he bases his restaurant business on. He now teaches others to embody this approach by showing it — even if that means singing and dancing while serving his famous food.

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At Rodney Scott's BBQ, "Every Day is a Good Day." Beginning life in smalltown Hemingway, SC, the famed pitmaster began cooking whole hog barbecue as a young teen. He worked in his family restaurant for 25 years before branching out on his own.

However, that decision did not come without challenges, which were covered in his groundbreaking cookbook, Rodney Scott's World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day. As the title suggests, though, Scott found a way to pull triumph from the temporary grips of adversity and "find courage through frustration".

"The best part about it was I said it all, I told it all." Rodney Scott says of the therapy writing a book provided while being interviewed on the Restaurant Influencers podcast with Shawn P. Walchef of CaliBBQ Media.

"I had people walk up to me saying, you said what I was afraid to say. You've really shown me a different way to handle this thing. I want to try to make the situation better."

Inspiration and extreme skill has paved the way for Rodney Scott and his restaurant empire to accomplish amazing feats. Named one of Bon Appetit's 50 Best New Restaurants and winning a prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2018, his rise to stardom may appear to be meteoric. But as is the case with most alleged overnight successes, unseen blood, sweat, and tears were shed before much of the public recognition began.

"It's not overnight." Rodney Scott says of his continued hard work and success. "My overnight success took 33 years." As a man in his early 50s, that is a good portion of his life.

Rodney Scott is now a certified celebrity pitmaster. He's been featured on Netflix, the Food Network, and has even cooked barbecue with Al Roker. Not to mention working alongside other famous pitmasters from across the globe. Rodney also has a sauce line and spice rub collection, and has partnered with country music artist Eric Church to open a sixth location on a rooftop in Nashville, Tennessee.

Even though he's been working toward this his entire life, Rodney Scott is just beginning. His impact on BBQ, and food, in general is resonating across the globe.

"Why can't we sell barbecue worldwide?" Rodney Scott asks convincingly on the Restaurant Influencers series.

And you know what? There is no reason to believe he won't figure out a way to make it happen.

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Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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