The Sydcast is all about intimate and informative conversations with fascinating people you may not know. Until now. Because everyone has a story.
Listen in as Syd talks to entrepreneurs, community leaders, professional athletes, politicians, academics, authors, musicians, and many more about who they are and how they got there.
Sydney Finkelstein is an award winning professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and a best-selling author of Superbosses and 25 other books. He’s written for the Harvard Business Review, the BBC, Fortune, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and more academic journals than you’d care to know about. He spends his time asking questions, and sometimes, even answering them.
Chez Panisse has indelibly shaped California cuisine since its inception in 1971 and Lindsey and Charles Shere were there from the beginning, helping to change the landscape for female chefs. Influenced by the politics and art of Berkeley in the 1960s, Charles and Lindsey found their niche for unconventional thinkers and doers and they continue to live their life by following their hearts. Listen in for the era-spanning experiences of a chef and a composer, in this episode of The Sydcast.
Syd Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Finkelstein has published 25 books and 90 articles, including the bestsellers Why Smart Executives Fail and Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, which LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman calls the “leadership guide for the Networked Age.” He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Management, a consultant and speaker to leading companies around the world, and a top 25 on the Global Thinkers 50 list of top management gurus. Professor Finkelstein’s research and consulting work often relies on in-depth and personal interviews with hundreds of people, an experience that led him to create and host his own podcast, The Sydcast, to uncover and share the stories of all sorts of fascinating people in business, sports, entertainment, politics, academia, and everyday life.
Charles Shere was born in Berkeley, California, in 1935, and grew up there and on a small farm in Sonoma county, where he attended high school. He studied music and English literature at Chapman College, Santa Rosa Junior College, San Francisco State University, and the University of California at Berkeley, where he graduated cum laude in 1960.
He was music director at KPFA-fm, Berkeley, 1964-67; announcer, critic, director, and producer at KQED-tv, San Francisco, 1967-1972; lecturer in music at Mills College, Oakland, 1973-1984; and art and music critic at the Oakland Tribune, 1972-1988. He was the founding editor and publisher of Ear, the west coast new-music tabloid, 1973-78, and has published four books: Even Recent Cultural History (Hanover, New Hampshire: Frog Peak Music, 1995); Thinking Sound Music: the Life and Work of Robert Erickson (Berkeley: Fallen Leaf Press, 1996); Everbest Ever: Correspondence with Bay Area Friends (as editor and joint author with Virgil Thomson and Margery Tede)(Berkeley: Fallen Leaf Press, 1996); and Why I Read Stein (Oakland: Mills College Center for the Book, 2002), as well as numerous musical compositions.
In 1947 Lindsey and her family moved to a sizable ranch in Sonoma County, California, where she spent the next ten years among milk cows, apple and prune orchards, hayfields, and four younger sisters.
She graduated from Healdsburg High School, Santa Rosa Junior College, and the University of California at Berkeley, where she majored in a group major in French language, literature, and political history.
In 1971 she joined Alice Waters to open the restaurant Chez Panisse, where she continued as Pastry Chef until her retirement in 1998.
Largely self-taught as a cook, she began focusing on baking and desserts as a teenager, delighted by the fresh dairy and orchard products available on the family farm. Her interest in the French language and in European culture led to further investigations into cuisine. She has traveled extensively throughout western Europe, especially in France and northern Italy: her mother’s family was Alsatian; her father was born in the Italian Alps.
Widely read, she counts among her major influences James Beard, Ada Boni, Robert Courtine, Curnonsky, Elizabeth David, M.F.K. Fisher, Richard Olney, and Waverly Root, as well as the chefs associated with her at Chez Panisse, especially Alice Waters.
Her book, Chez Panisse Desserts, was published in 1985 and is still in print. She was named Pastry Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 1993. Among the chefs who have worked for her in the Chez Panisse pastry kitchen have been bakers Diane Dexter, Gayle Ortiz, and Steve Sullivan; pastry chefs David Lebovitz and Mary Jo Thoresen; and chefs Deborah Madison and Mark Peel. She is an active member of The Baker's Dozen and a major contributor to the Dozen's forthcoming book.
Since her retirement she has returned with her husband to a rural life in Sonoma county, dividing her time among gardening, grandchildren, reading, and travel.
Insights from this episode:
- Details on how Lindsey’s passion for baking led to her becoming the Pastry Chef at Chez Panisse and a prestigious career that lasted twenty-six years.
- How Chez Panisse challenged the prevalent perception of the 1970s of women’s roles as chefs and restaurant owners.
- Benefits to businesses and brand building when there is one owner for an extended period of time, like with Chez Panisse.
- Details on some of the experiences that Charles and Lindsey have shared, including why Charles walked from Geneva, Switzerland to Nice, France.
- Importance of living life as it comes and taking advantage of opportunities as they come to you.
Quotes from the show:
- “I used to think the restaurant business was a really safe business to be in because people always had to eat but now I’m learning differently.” – Lindsey Shere
- “It is quite interesting to see how the center of gravity for political parties shifts over time.” – Syd Finkelstein
- “You can’t cook a different menu everyday without learning a huge amount.” – Lindsey Shere
- On Alice Waters: “One thing that Alice has continued to learn over these years, she doesn't stop and stay there; she’s constantly moving.” – Lindsey Shere
- “The early success of the restaurant owes something to the fact that health and nutrition were very much in the news all that time.” – Charles Shere
- On having a bucket list: “I don’t think I believe in it and I don’t think I have one. It seems unnecessarily disciplined.” – Charles Shere
- “If you lead a full and engaging life, your life is the bucket list.” – Syd Finkelstein
- “There’s always something waiting out there to be discovered and enjoyed.” – Lindsey Shere
- “It seems very difficult to be a young person these days.” – Lindsey Shere
- “My method has always been to have as open a mind as possible and be as attentive and responsive to events as possible and to enjoy things for what they are.” – Charles Shere
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Charles and Lindsey Shere
Charles’ Blog: The Eastside View
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