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Ringing in the New Year with Tuna Tartar, KFC, and Slurpees

2. 01. 2012 Blog 4min

WASHINGTON, DC JANUARY 1st, 2012

During the last quarter of 2011, I logged 22 days working out of Prague in the Czech Republic. While I was fortunate to have a KFC across the street to eat dinner every night, the realization also kicked in that my arteries can only last so long.

So I decided to cook. For full disclosure purposes, “cook” in my personal dictionary is a loosely defined term. I consider making myself a cheese sandwich and popcorn “cooking.”

So in order to cook one needs ingredients. Well fortunately in addition to KFC, there is also a Billa grocery store across the street. What is Billa like? Well think Whole Foods minus the sushi bar, or the cold cuts, or the fish market, or half the selection.

Okay, bad example.

Think 7-11 minus the Slurpee machine.

So I ventured into Billa. I started in the fruit section (I know what Apples and Bananas look like) and then ran into a problem.

Nothing was in English!

It also did not help that no one spoke English (to their credit I have this same issue at 7-11).

So what did I do? Well I ended up purchasing all American products based on familiar logos. Similar to why I ventured to KFC, I knew the brand and went with what I knew.

Fast forward to New Years Eve this year. This is the one time I do in fact cook and make my favorite dish. I labored for two hours (no exaggeration) making a tuna tartar, ceviche style. It is complex and includes so many different ingredients that all the components of it fuse together to make-up one delicious appetizer.

I was not sure how popular the tuna tartar was going to be. My nearest competition was a platter of pita and hummus. The odds were against me, as the tuna didn’t look like your standard raw tuna, since it was blended-in with an assortment of avocado, jalapenos, scallions, and much more. However I confidently told everyone there to just give it a try.

Before I knew it, this was the most popular dish and they were all coming back for more.

The pita and hummus gathered dust the rest of the night.

If something tastes good, people will come back for more. The hardest part is just getting someone to try it. Human nature will never err toward going with the unfamiliar. If we don’t fully understand something, and if there is no one to guide or translate, then we automatically go with what we know and are comfortable.

As I go around the United States selling Euro Jet, my biggest challenge will be confronting potential clients that use the brands they know and are afraid to try something new.

I welcome the challenge because once they try our product, they will realize all the hard work and attention to detail that we put into every trip. And they will come back for more.

On that note, I just download an application on my ipad that can translate Czech into English. So next time I go to Billa, I will be well prepared and soon may be a loyal customer to a brand I never knew…

Happy 2012!

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