The Recipe

A Story of Loss, Love, and the Ingredients of Greatness

“Always be hungry, Owen,” the Chef said softly. “Don’t ever let life just wash over you. Savor it—every smell, every taste, every sound. That’s Rule One, Owen: Taste everything.” 

In 2009 I received an email out of the blue from an award-winning chef. Charles Carroll, executive chef at the prestigious River Oaks Country Club in Houston, loved our book The Go-Giver so much he was using it with his staff. I immediately wrote him back (as Charles says, “It’s funny how a dream can take shape by blindly emailing one of your favorite authors—and having him actually respond!”) and we struck up a friendship.

The Club brought me out to Houston to speak about The Go-Giver, and while I was there Charles told me his idea for a story about a troubled boy who learns life lessons in a cramped diner kitchen from a crusty old retired chef. We talked about it into the night, and the next day. And kept talking about it.

Eight years later, here it is.

The Recipe is different from anything I’ve ever done before. A coming-of-age-story, a meditation on food and secrets of the kitchen, and a parable about the keys to personal greatness — all smashed together into a single book. If you love learning success principles you can apply in your own life … or you love food … or you simply love a deeply personal story of struggle and triumph, The Recipe is waiting for you to cozy up and start reading! You’ll also learn key cooking concepts, cutting techniques, and other practical secrets of the kitchen, and in the back we’ve tucked a complete set of recipes for all the dishes cooked in the story.

To see an excerpt from my video interview with Chef Charles Carroll, and other extras, go to TheIngredientsofGreatness.comAnd check out our page of Shareable Quotes — beautiful photographs with excerpts from the book, formatted as ready-made clickable social media posts! 

The Recipe Reviews

“A parable that applies to everyone…poured out from the heart.”
Houston Chronicle

“Cooking is like life: if you don’t pay attention to the small things, the day-to-day slicing and dicing, the larger presentation can become an absolute mess. The Recipe is a great instrument for sharpening your knife.”
SUCCESS magazine

The Recipe is a timeless fable, the story of a young boy in trouble and the aging chef who redirects his career and reshapes his life. This engaging tale offers guidelines for working—and for living—that will last a lifetime.”
Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human

The Recipe is a little story about big ideas—love, honor, loss, and redemption. Read it and be transformed by its simple and noble truths.”
Robin Sharma, #1 bestselling author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The Leader Who Had No Title

The Recipe is a delicious read in more ways than one. Descriptions of food so vivid your taste buds tingle—and a great story to warm your heart.”
Robert G. Allen, author, Multiple Streams of Income and The One Minute Millionaire

“Some books entertain, while others make you think, occasionally even inspire. It’s rare to find one that causes you to look inside and examine your life. The Recipe is such a book.”
Paul Sorgule, president, Harvest America Ventures

“Carroll and Mann have done a fantastic job paralleling the joys and challenges of cooking to those we face in life. The story will draw you in, and chefs and home cooks alike will learn from these lessons of the kitchen.”
Chef John Folse, host, PBS’s After the Hunt

“A remarkable story of redemption, forgiveness, and patience in the process of becoming. I was completely captivated from the first sentence to the final page.”
Dondi Scumaci, author, Designed for Success

“Eloquent, heartfelt, honest, and wise … you will the passion, commitment, and dedication to process on every page.”
Kirk T. Bachmann, M.Ed., campus president, Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

“A coming-of-age story, a meditation on food and the art of cooking, and a life manual, all wrapped together into one exquisite package.”
Lisa Earle McLeod (Leading with Noble Purpose)

A fascinating collection of time-tested cooking principles embedded into a delightful story. The authors’ commonsense approach, both to cooking and to life experiences, make this book a valuable addition to anyone’s library.”
Ferdinand Metz, CMC, AAC, president emeritus, Culinary Institute of America (CIA), past president, American Culinary Federation (ACF)

“What a charming story! The boy Owen and the old chef both won my heart—and I became a better cook in the process.”
Joanne King Herring, Consulate General of Pakistan and Morocco, Medal of Honor nominee, subject (the Julia Roberts character) of the 2007 Mike Nichols film Charlie Wilson’s War

“Into this wonderfully crafted and engaging story, the authors have interwoven the ingredients for long-lasting personal and professional success with lessons of leadership, mentorship, patience, love, passion, and endurance. The recipes in the back of the book are a tasty lagniappe that is worth the price of the book. Enjoy and savor!”
David Cottrell, author, Monday Morning Leadership

“A wonderful and compelling story . . . Owen’s journey is one of growth, maturation, and the cultivation of integrity and a strong work ethic—values that go well beyond the culinary profession and apply to all of life.”
James E. Griffin, Ed.D., CEC, CCE, associate professor, Johnson & Wales University

“Read this book! You’ll love the principles and appreciate the wisdom.”
Nido Qubein, president, High Point University

“The feel-good book of the year.”
James Justice, screenwriter, Lesser Evil