The best BBQ chef in the world gives his top advice to a loyal fan

Griffin meets another BBQ legend. Source: Vimeo/Meet the Master.

In 2017, Canberra’s Chad Griffin, founder of Stoke and Smoke BBQ, decided to take a chance and enter the competition called Meet the Master.

The winner had the opportunity of a lifetime: fly anywhere in the world to meet and learn from their business hero.

Griffin works a day job while attempting to turn his BBQ business from a weekend endeavour to a full-time enterprise. He wanted to meet Tuffy Stone, a classically trained French chef turned iconic pitmaster based in the USA.

He’s a US TV personality, runs a catering company, cooking school, five restaurants and a competitive BBQ team in Richmond, Virginia. If you’re into American BBQ, getting the chance to meet pitmaster Stone is like the founder of a tech start-up getting facetime with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

“Everyone in the BBQ world knows who [he] is,” Griffin says. “You don’t get any better than him.”

Griffin submitted his entry and waited for a response.

For the team at RedZed, the Australian owned and operated lender, picking a winner for their competition meant making some tough decisions.

“The process of selecting a winner was one that we treated with great responsibility. We looked for entries that showed us just how meeting their master could change their lives,” says Angelo Klidomitis, RedZed Head of Marketing.

“It didn’t matter where in the world their master was, and it didn’t matter if the entrant was a customer of ours or not. Chad wasn’t. We were just looking for genuine, self-employed people that were doing all they could to succeed.”

A successful sit-down

A couple of months after being selected, Griffin was jetting off to the US to meet his hero, with a film crew in tow to document the process. It was the start of an unbelievable week that would see him sit down with not just Stone, but a host of other BBQ legends.

Chad Griffin sits down with his hero Tuffy Stone. Source: Supplied.

So, what was it like for Griffin to meet a legend in the world of American BBQ? Did he dish out practical advice that will help Griffin’s Stoke and Smoke BBQ move from weekend project to full-time endeavor?

Griffin was wracked with nerves before meeting his hero.

“You’re filled with so much emotion. You don’t know how to approach these people, you’ve been following them, you think of them as much better than you. It’s like meeting a big celebrity that you’re a big fan of. Tuffy was just so humble and welcoming. By the end of it, it was just like talking to a mate. He’s a really cool guy and down to earth and happy to share his knowledge. It was nice to step into his domain.”

New tricks of the trade

Six weeks after he got back to Australia, Griffin and his wife Bec were busy putting lessons learned to the test, armed with a few of Stone’s tricks of the trade.

“I’ve got a notebook full of notes: ‘What does Tuffy do with business?’, ‘What are the good business decisions he’s made?’, ‘What are the main things he said to keep an eye out on?’” Bec Griffin, who travelled to Virginia with her husband, said.

As they work towards their dream of turning their weekend catering and cooking into a full-time enterprise, Chad Griffin remains grateful for the chance to take a trip to the US and learn from some masters of his craft.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity… an unbelievable experience,” he says. “I’ve learnt so much. I’m really, really looking forward to utilising these skills and information to implement into my business.”

The lessons from meeting Stone apply beyond the BBQ world. When asked to share what he thinks others could learn from his experience, Griffin doesn’t hesitate in responding:

  • Take time, be patient, hard work does pay off.
  • Make sure you’ve got your capital to get up and running.
  • If you’re not sure, you probably don’t have it.
  • There’s always bigger and better than you.

“It’s tough starting out small and you really, really need to work to compete with the other businesses around you. Starting off small isn’t easy. You’re always on the back foot,” he said.

Lessons from the master. Source: Supplied.

Want to meet your mentor?

Entries for the next Meet the Master competition are now open. RedZed are again offering one Aussie self-starter the chance to meet their guru, maestro, legend, or master who stands head and shoulders above the rest.

You might be a carpenter who’d like to travel to Japan to learn traditional woodworking techniques from a legend in the field, an architect who’d like to visit their design hero in Denmark, or a tech startup founder who’d like to meet a Silicon Valley superstar.

It’s entirely up to you. Whoever you want to meet, and wherever they are, RedZed will find a way to make it happen if you win – giving you an invaluable leg-up to living out your business dreams.

On top of a one-on-one meeting with your master, first prize includes a return flight to wherever in the world your mentor is based, and accommodation for four nights while you’re there. Five runners-up will each receive $1000 in debit cards.

Visit the Meet the Master website to watch what happened when Chad Griffin met his hero, to find out more about the competition, and to enter now.

This article is brought to you by RedZed, an Australian owned and operated lender specialising in solutions for the self-employed. RedZed credit decisions aren’t made by computers, but by living, breathing experts.