Bio: Ronsley is the Chief Food Sharer at Bond Appetit, a company that unites people over food. He is the host of Australia’s #1 food podcast on iTunes and the author of the upcoming book “Bond Appetit – Uniting peak performers over food.” Ronsley has been cooking for over 19 years. He has worked in a large kitchen as part of a brigade of chefs, as well as started and run his own fresh food restaurant specialising in uniquely flavoured food. He knows how hard the food industry makes it to stock and produce fresh food when the processed food comes pre-packed, pre-cut, pre-crumbed and sometimes, even pre-cooked.
Ronsley has created Bond Appetit to specialise in cooking for time-poor, health-conscious, high-achieving entrepreneurs. He helps his clients fulfil their goals by getting them a personal chef to organise all their meals based on a taste diagnosis. This simple step makes it possible for them to eat the foods they really like centred around their nutritional goals. He focuses on giving entrepreneurs back their time, mental space and energy by cooking for them.
Zephan: Zephan Blaxberg here with another round of the Year of Purpose podcast. And today, I’m joined by Ronsley Vaz. Now, Ronsley is an entrepreneur specializing in creating businesses that connect people and idea sin new and innovative ways. He is the host of Australia’s number one food podcast, Bond Appetit, that focuses on two main area united entrepreneurs through food and fixing their relationships with food. He also was the creator of the first podcasting summit in the southern hemisphere called Podcast Revolution. He’s been cooking for over nineteen years and has started and run his own fresh food restaurant specializing in uniquely flavored food and also worked in a big kitchen as part of a brigade of chefs.
Ronsley has a master’s degree in software engineering and an MBA in psychology and leadership with massive experience in software quality systems and leading global teams. He is a software technical expert, a personal chef, and a serial idea creator. And today, he’s joining us all the way from the other hemisphere. Ronsley, what’s going on man?
Ronsley: Not much, man. How are you? Thanks for having me.
Zephan: Well, I’m doing well. I was telling you before we jumped on this recording, it’s cool to talk to somebody who is a day ahead of me, so you’re kind of time traveling right now.
Ronsley: Pretty much. And it is weird to listen to the accent as well? It’s a totally different accent to what you guys normally here. Is it still English?
Zephan: Yeah, it’s way different, but I can understand you for now—so we’ll see how it goes when we keep talking!
Ronsley: Cool, cool.
Zephan: Cool, so you have an MBA and you’re a chef. How do you go from tech guy to cooking food? Like, where does that even begin?
Ronsley: Well, it begins with chopping an onion, to be honest. See, I think we’re kinda blessed in the current age to sort be able to do whatever we feel like doing. And sometimes it’s not in any particular field. When you feel like doing something entirely different, we can just go out and do exactly what tickles our fancy, I suppose. So that’s exactly what I did. I did everything from financial advising, which was definitely not the space for me to play in. but everything from that to restaurants and food and digital media. Corporate. So I’ve tried it all—not tried it all, well, I used to have a porn—no, I was not in pron. But it’s just a good feeling to try and do whatever you feel like doing.
Zephan: Yeah. Where were you, let’s just say, five years ago, compares to what’s going on right now?
Ronsley: Yeah, great question. Five years ago, I—this is really funny. I didn’t think of myself as an entrepreneur. My dad was an entrepreneurs and sort of looking at him and seeing where he came from and what he was doing instilled the entrepreneurial spirit in me, but I didn’t think I had it. I always sort of wanted a 9-to-5 job and that’s really what I did, until the company that I was working for paid for an MBA and I went and saw—did my MBA and saw the world differently. I saw opportunities in places. I walked passed the same road before but there were more opportunities in the same space. So it was a bit weird to look at the world differently.
So I started my own restaurant. That was 2010—February 2010—and it was a very traditional business. It was my first business and it was kinda interesting. It was definitely something I wouldn’t do again, just because it’s so traditional that I think there are different and better ways of doing the same thing and providing the same value. But today, I kind of have two main businesses. I’ve got a digital media business and a food business and…yeah, I get a chance to have cool conversations, which is kind of very different from working in the kitchen.
Zephan: Oh, yeah, I’m sure. I mean, I’ve worked numerous jobs over the years. Everything from—I always tell people I think my worst job was like a maintenance worker at a summer camp. I used to drive a tractor around and like clean bathrooms and stuff, to working as a pastry chef in a bakery. So I think a lot of people don’t realize that you can go to college and get a degree and end up doing something completely different from what you went to school for. They get stuck in living this, I guess, story in a sense, you’re supposed to go to college and get a degree and that’s what you do for thirty or forty years and that’s your life.
So where was it for you where you found that you didn’t really have to fit into the mold?
Ronsley: I—well, going back, and when I think about it, I was always the guy that just didn’t listen to anyone. I just—I was this problem kid. I just didn’t fit in school. Actually, it’s not that I didn’t fit in school, I was just—I was that kid in school where my parents were there every Saturday, just because I would have don’t something in the week.
But I was the only guy that place sport that was into debate and the allocution and then the quiz teams and the only guy doing that side of things in the sports teams. So I was always sort of a disruptor. And—I don’t know, I always had that in me, so I do think there was a lightbulb moment, as such, I just think that I was always—the funny thing is that I would not disrupt if there was no connection. I would only disrupt over connection, whether it was people, ideas, whatever it might be. I was only comfortable being that disruptor, breaking the status quo if I could connect with other people in some way or the other.
So, yeah, I don’t know whether there was a lightbulb moment. I just know that I was always the guy that wanted to stand out in some way and try and sort of put a different spin on things.
Zephan: Yeah. And it sounds like that’s exactly what you’ve been doing in your business. Is you’re putting together, I guess, a service that cooks food for people, but more specifically for entrepreneurs and people that are more healthy conscious. Is that right?
Ronsley: Yeah. We kinda do—we see ourselves as, I suppose, the Uber for chefing. And we have chefs that plug in from one end and we have high performing individuals that plug in to the other end, and what we do is we give chefs a work life balance, which is really unheard of in the industry because chefs work long, long hours. And then what we do for high performing individuals who know they’re supposed to eat right is we remove the worry of sometimes even shopping—but shopping and cooking and what to eat and what you’re gonna get out of it. We remove all that said and so they can focus on doing what they’re focused on.
And as part of that, as well, with every meal we cook here in Australia, we feed a child or an old person in need in a third world country. So we’re trying to create all these different connections, and there’s no one way to skin a cat. So you can always create new ones.
Zephan: Yeah. I think that’s really cool what you’re doing there and it sounds like you’re just putting a service out into the world, but you’re also trying to make an impact in the world and in the lives of others through food. And that’s a really cool way to go about doing it.
I think my curiosity probably lies in how do you go from an idea and just having this idea in your head to making this a reality? Because, as you and I both know, companies like Uber and Facebook at one point all started with some guy on his computer writing up a plan. How do you take that plan and put it into someone where it sounds like you’ve got a ton of chefs and a ton of people working with you. How do you grow that?
Ronsley: You mind map the shit out of it—is the short answer. The long answer is one step at a time, really. All you can do is tackle the next issue or you just get onto the next step. I mean—and sometimes you don’t even know what the next step is gonna be so you just keep chipping away until you realize that you’re in a position that’s quite different from when you started. don’t look at the project as this big thing that you need to do and you’ve got all these other things that you need to do—just do the next step. And somehow it just all comes together, man.
Zephan: Yeah. And that’s kind of what I found. Is that you really just having to keep hustling and keep working and one day you kind of turn around and look back and, hey look, you’ve got a business. And maybe a few years later you turn around and, hey look, you’ve got three businesses and it just keeps going. And it’s so great to hear that, because I want the listeners and everyone watching in to realize that there’s no secret, no magic recipe for this other than hard work, I feel like.
Ronsley: Well, there’s an allusion of hard work as well, in my opinion. Like I feel that somehow we kinda go out of our way not to work more on our strengths. And I think that’s something we should be doing more. Like I know for a fact that I’m not a good nurturer. I couldn’t really care less. I’m not a good nurturer. I’m a good people person initially, but if someone’s going through some sort of—I can only give enough good feeling around it. I’m not that kind of person. So I know that I need someone in my team that can do that because I know that it’s important.
And, again, it’s not something that—that’s something else that I need. Because, for me, when I get emotional, I just shut down. That’s just me as a person. But I know different people want different things. I’m not the best—I’m not good with minutia, so I can create stuff. I’m like a pig in shit when it comes to creation. When it comes to looking at the minute details, I’m not good. But I know that that’s important, so I need people on board to do that.
And I don’t know whether—when we say “hard work,” whether we’re kind of going “Hey, let’s work on our weaknesses and really struggle like a hamster on a wheel and let’s just go work really hard and get over and make our weaknesses our strengths,” and I don’t know whether that’s the way to do it. But I just think getting stronger at your strengths is probably the way to do it and I don’t know if that’s hard work because you’re enjoying yourself while doing it.
Zephan: Oh, yeah. I enjoy a lot of what I do and it’s an interesting journey to look back on and see how far it’s been, just over the last year and over the last month. I’m curious to hear, were there any big obstacles that stuck out for you just in the last couple years in building these business where other people might run into similar obstacles. What was one of the hardest things that you faced in becoming a successful business owner?
Ronsley: Oh, yeah, man. We all have one of those. In fact, you asked me this question and the hair on my left arm just stood. This is the thing, I think the biggest quality that an entrepreneur should have—and again, entrepreneur’s another word that’s really misused, I suppose, but—is adaptability. Just being adaptable to situations. So if I go back two and a half years, the restaurant that I spoke about, we did service on a Saturday night and on Sunday the locks were changed and we didn’t have a restaurant anymore. So going from having—well, it was one of the things that I could either go down the path of fighting it or turning it around and doing something entirely different.
And the period between that point, the 25th of May, to the point where I started doing well—which took over, I want to say, at least a year—where there were people knocking on the door to give us eviction notices to having someone trying to take the car away and all that stuff in-between, you’ve gotta have really thick skin of this kind of work. You’ve gotta be just—I don’t know, a “what’s the worst that could happen?” sort of attitude and keep plugging away, because there are some tough times if this is the path you want to be on. But it’s also very, very, very exciting.
Zephan: [cut in] I love this episode so far, and I want to take a brief moment to talk about improving yourself each day. I know you’re a huge fan of living life on your own terms, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my journey, we need to constantly grow and look to others who have been in our shoes. Which is why I’ve partnered up with Audible to give you one free download of your choice from over a hundred and eighty thousand books. Start your free thirty days trial but visiting yearofpurpose.com/audible. Now back to the show.
Zephan: Yeah. And I can’t imagine what that’s like to come in and have the doors be locked and your key doesn’t unlock it. I mean, I’ve been in a position where I walked into work one day and I got called into the conference room and got handed a pink slip and told “Your job isn’t gonna be here after today.” so I know what it’s like to be shut down very quickly. But it sounds like there, there were a lot of other factors involved. Perhaps some financial things and a lot of decisions that had to be made for going forward.
It also seems like you’re one of those guys who just kind of rolls with the punches and you just say “Alright, well, that’s what we have and let’s make another decision and do something else now.”
Ronsley: You’ve got to be, man. You’ve really, really got to be because going out and getting a job or being fired from a job, I think, in my opinion, is easy. I got a job in a restaurant in three days—on Wednesday I had a job. So Sunday, the locks were changed, Wednesday I had a job. I did the interview on Tuesday, Wednesday was my first day. But it was such a crazy time to work for someone else, that I think I was losing more of my sole in that time. And I had like—I think it was fie and a half months where I had four different jobs because I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t my thing. I reckon you gotta roll with the punches, and the longer you feel sorry for yourself—and, again, there’s a place for that—the longer it takes. Just the truth.
Zephan: Yeah. And I guess—I mean, you probably don’t want to stay in that place too long. But at the same time, everybody’s gonna deal with it differently. So you left that fulltime job, right. So after that, you did leave that job.
Ronsley: Yeah. I wasn’t there for long. I had—like I said, I had four different jobs in those five months and then I had the uncomfortable conversation with my wife saying “Hey, this job is just not working.” I need to work on a project and if I don’t start getting income in by—we set a deadline—then I would go back to finding a job. And something funny really happens when you do that, because you certainly start being very, very resourceful. And I suppose that was a really good learning curve.
Zephan: Oh, yeah. I think that a lot of people have this false idea that, you know, if your bank account hits zero, you just die. That it’s game over. And I think that you’re absolutely right. You start becoming resourceful and you find a way and even in some of the books I read, more just about sales and marketing, they say that people will find the money. If someone passes away in the family and you have to be able to afford a funeral, you’re gonna make sure that they get buried in the ground at the end of the day, that money has to come from somewhere. Now, I don’t wish that upon anyone, but the point is that you will figure out a way to make it happen if that’s something that you either need to do or you desire that much.
Ronsley: Yeah, and I think this is the problem with entrepreneurs—I seriously have this big grievance that entrepreneurship is being used as this new catchphrase to sound cool—is that we’re not ready to be in that position where we do the 1% that someone else wouldn’t do, and I think it’s that, getting to that point where it’s not about wanting, but it’s about needing, that is the different in my opinion.
Zephan: Yeah—no, I definitely appreciate that. So how do you come about making a business where you can pair up the thing that you’re most passionate with along with something that really makes a difference in the world? Because so many people have all of these skills, but they don’t realize that they can turn the thing that they love into—I wouldn’t call it a job because a job implies that you probably hate it. But how do you make something out of that and truly make a difference in the world?
Ronsley: See—hey, I think there are lots of ways to make a difference in the world. And it’s funny you ask me this question today out of—it’s funny we have this conversation today of all the days, because I’ve seen a lot of stuff. I come from India, right, so it’s not—I mean, we’re used to seeing poverty around us, but you don’t realize the impact until you’re removed from the situation and you go back and see it again. This morning, I was pulling up in the parking lot in the office down—the office here, and for whatever reason, I saw this homeless guy, which is not as common in Australia as it is, I suppose, in the States. I was shocked, actually, when I went to downtown LA and see the difference.
But I saw this homeless guy, and I don’t know what happened to me, man. Like I still—I’m struggling from the emotion that I went through, but I couldn’t stop crying. I mean, I’ve seen this before! I don’t know what was different, I really don’t. But it was just one of those weird experiences that I was just so grateful for being in the position that I was in. and I went and bought—there’s a bakery downstairs and I just went and bought a ham and cheese croissant and went and gave it to the guy. And he’s like “No, I have some milk in my bag.” I said “No, I just it for you. It’s very tasty, just baked from the bakery.”
But it’s not about this massive change on the planet. Like, help your grandmother. It can start there. It’s not about—I don’t know. It’s not about changing the world and plastering your name on stuff. It’s just about do whatever it is that you need to do to make anyone’s life easier. And that could be—your business could be doing that for someone. If your business is taking someone and giving them a life that they want, on purpose, then you’re making a difference. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a third world country, doesn’t necessarily have to be rags to riches sort of story. That’s just the stories that the media likes, but that’s not it at all.
I was just—for me, it was like, we have hunger and obesity on the same planet. That’s kind of stupid. And we’re trying to go to other planets and inhabit that, but we still have these fundamental issues that are plaguing us. When I saying plaguing, it’s not the end of the world. We’ll find a way to balance it out, but I wanted to make a difference because I saw both sides of the story. So I wanted to find a way to do that.
Zephan: Yeah, and I really like that you were able to take a problem that was right in front of you, clear as day, and—and not necessarily a problem, but perhaps ease someone else’s pain right in front of you, as opposed to passing it by. Unfortunately for me, I live in Baltimore in Maryland in USA and there’s homelessness everywhere, there are riots—as I’m sure you’ve probably seen on the news—and there’s a lot of major issues here at home. So I’m a huge fan of “Let’s fix home first,” and in your words as opposed to going to another planet. Let’s figure out the things that we still need to fix here before we move greater.
So I really like that you brought it that way, because I was thinking, you know, global, bigger mission and I like that you brought it back down and made it very realistic in that there are things right in front of us, grandma, parents, people sitting on the sidewalk in front of our office that really need our help and sometimes it’s as easy as walking down to the bakery and taking five minutes out of your day.
Ronsley: Yeah, man. Like if you have a nephew or a niece that you haven’t spent time with lately make it a point to have like a meal with them. That’s—trust me, that’s gonna make a massive difference to their lives, because you connect with them on a different level. It’s something that I think we take for granted, I think. We don’t realize how much we connect with people—and the only reason we know this is when we did our sharing sessions in India, we realized that the kids just wanted to touch our skin. Yeah, the food was great, but it wasn’t about the food at all. There was a connection that humans have with each other that we take for granted in this first world basis, I think.
Zephan: Yeah, yeah. So you’ve got an amazing background. I mean, you’ve got this tech background, you’ve got a psychology background. You’ve got this MBA. You’ve got an amazing food business. Where do you see yourself going five years from now? Easily a year and a half, two years ago, you were in the spot where you were locked out of your own place. Where could it go from here and what do you want to see happen?
Ronsley: Well, for me, I want to be able to allow possibilities to give people the ideas that they probably didn’t get themselves. So how do you shake up as many industries as possible? And I think that, for me, is something that really means a lot. Because we kinda get used to doing something in a certain way, and we do that over and over again and we doing really introspect and we land up giving people that look up to us stupid answers like “Because I said so,” “because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” and I think that needs to change. If I—for me, if I can change a bunch of people through this path and allow them to think very differently, that would be super cool.
Zephan: That would be really cool. So this has been a great talk and I’ve love to round it out, just with a little bit of—we’ve talked about how to make an impact outwards. If you have one piece of advice as far as allowing yourself to grow as a person and improving and becoming better, what would that be for everybody listening in? I know I’m throwing all the hard questions your way.
Ronsley: No, no, man—meditate for ten minutes every morning.
Zephan: Yeah. How long have you been doing that for?
Ronsley: This is funny, because actually, to be honest, in terms of a ritual, September last year was when I kinda went “Wait a minute, what are all the successful people doing?” and that’s when I kinda changed and started waking up really early in the morning and having this morning ritual. My launch sequence, as I call it. And that’s made a massive difference to my life. But I think just sitting in silence for ten minutes really, somehow, helped. There’s no way to explain it in words, because there’s really no way to do it. You just gotta experience it to know the impact that it does have. But—yeah.
Zephan: It’s really cool to hear you say that. So actually, I have this book here on my desk, and it’s called The Miracle Morning. It’s by Hal Elrod, and it’s about—the tagline is “The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8 AM.” And one of the first things that he recommends in there is taking about ten minutes or so of silence in the morning when you get up, which, to me, was like crazy at first. Cause I’m like “Silence? I’ve been in silence the last six or seven hours! I’ve been asleep. What do you mean I need to sit here and do absolutely nothing?” And so I’m working towards doing that more consistently and it’s cool to hear that you’re doing that as well and you’ve been doing that for quite some time now. And I guess it’s one of those things that we just have to recommend to people and you won’t really know until you try it.
Ronsley: I think—as part of my research, actually, I read Hal Elrod’s book, and the two biggest things that I got out of that was the ten minutes of silence and the ten minutes journaling that you do. And if you do just those two things, I guarantee you, six months from now, you’re gonna look back and go “Whoa, I should have started this a long time ago.”
Zephan: Very cool. Well, thank you so much for that recommendation. And I guess I can back that up because I got a book here now and I’m working on this too, so it’s great to hear that somebody else is doing that.
It’s been really cool to talk to you. I’d love for you to share your website and your podcast and places where people can check out what’s going on with you and how they can keep track of everything.
Ronsley: Yeah, yeah. It’s very difficult to keep track because…I don’t keep track, myself. But bond-appetit.com is the food podcast that actually goes out—it used to go out three times a week, but now it’s once a week. And there are some cool people coming up on the show. Actually, I’m gonna have James Tramco. No one knows about him, but he’s actually in internet marketer that surfs every day. So you gotta listen to his story on how he makes a hard life easy and does it really well. So, yeah, that’s one of my podcasts. The other one is Podcast Revolution, wearepodcast.com is another space to find me.
But on Twitter, @Ronsley, or facebook.com/Ronsley. Yeah, connect, say hello. Love to help or if you have a question, send it my way. I’m happy to help.
Zephan: That’s awesome. So thanks so much for spending some time with me. For everybody listening in, it’s actually 11:30 at night here right now, but it’s like, what, 1:30 in the afternoon the next day for you?
Ronsley: Yeah, man. But thank you so much for being accommodating with my schedule. Thanks for being up so late and having me on your show. It’s been awesome to have this chat.
Zephan: Yeah, man, I appreciate it. I’d love to stay in touch, so I’ll definitely be reaching out to you online and I hope to talk to you soon!