8 Hospitality TED Talks That Inspired Us


What is hospitality? At Hosco, we like to think of it as one of the most beautiful ways to create experiences and exchange stories about people, places, and products. This idea of sharing hospitality memories and advice is crucial for us. Therefore, we’ve listed 8 hospitality TED Talks that truly inspired us, and we hope they will do the same for you.

Never heard of TED? TED is an online platform that centralizes forward-thinking and inspiration. It provides a space for passionate professionals to share their stories and encourage others to strive and improve. We’re big fans of TED, and we think these hospitality stories will motivate you today!

1. Aziz Abu Sarah: For More Tolerance, We Need More Tourism

In this short but inspiring talk, Palestinian tourism entrepreneur Aziz Abu Sarah shares his knowledge about building lasting experiences for his guests. To him, hospitality and tourism are all about human connections and are a way to become more tolerant and kind to each other. Every hospitality professional should strive to create meaningful experiences, and his way of doing so is enlightening.

2. Joseph Pine: What Consumers Want

Despite this hospitality TED talk being around since 2004, management advisor and author Joseph Pine outlines interesting truths about what consumers want that are still relevant today. It turns out that the quest for authenticity is what drove consumers back in 2004, and is still driving them today. Nothing that we didn’t know prior, right? That’s where it becomes interesting: there is no one-off definition of “authenticity”, especially in hospitality. Authenticity is about being true to oneself, no matter what this self is. And it appears that a 5* hotel experience in New York is just as authentic as a lodge in the middle of the French countryside.

3. Jose Andres: How a Team of Chefs Fed Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

This one is an awe-inspiring speech devoid of allegories and pretty words, that makes one statement clear: actions speak louder than words. Chef Jose Andres and his team managed to pull off astonishing things in order to bring humanitarian help to Puerto Rico after the hurricane hit in 2017. Some of the collective actions may have even inspired chefs in 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis. More than ever, hospitality is all about connecting people and creating lasting stories of human interactions.

4. Arthur Potts Dawson: A Vision for Sustainable Restaurants

Nowadays, the concept of a zero-waste economy is spreading worldwide, but some people like Arthur Potts Dawson have been thinking about it for quite some time. This chef began his actions by creating a zero-waste restaurant, then moved to a zero-waste farmers market, both of which are thriving today. If a zero-waste restaurant and supermarket can exist and prosper, then as hospitality professionals, we can learn from these initiatives and incorporate more sustainable actions into our professional and personal lives.

5. Gaston Acurio: Can Home Cooking Change the World?

In this light-hearted talk, Peruvian Chef Gaston Acurio tells the story of Peruvian gastronomy and its worldwide success, as well as heartwarming tales of mutual aid. Acurio shares how cooking goes beyond the walls of any kitchen and can be a key element towards building trust, confidence, and identity. Nowadays, Peruvian gastronomy is securely positioned as an elite cuisine: how did it get there? By being true to its origins.

6. Dan Barber: How I Fell in Love With a Fish

Chef Dan Barber is a master of storytelling. In this cleverly funny talk, he shares the story of a Spanish fish farm that challenges the agro-industry to its core. Producing high-quality products is compatible with respecting the environment, and it’s not only beautiful, but it’s also economically viable. Food consumption is one of the greatest challenges that we’ll face in the 21st century, and this talk offers some insight on how to approach it as hospitality professionals.

7. Dan Barber: A Foie Gras Parable

Dan Barber is at it again! This time we learn about a farm in Spain (yes, another one) that produces foie gras without hurting its birds. Using only natural ingredients and methods to nurture its herd, this farmer strictly respects the animals, and his foie gras has been recognized as one of the best in the world. Dan Barber uses this example as a way to show that another path to deliciousness is possible: we can eat beloved dishes without hurting animals.

8. Homaro Canto & Ben Roche: Cooking as Alchemy

In this mind-blowing talk, rule-breaking chefs Homaro Canto and Ben Roche share some of the recipes and innovative methods that made them famous in the industry. They developed a “tuna tataki” made from watermelon and a berry called the “miracle berry”, that totally changes the flavor of what you’re eating, even transforming a sour taste into something sweet. Cooking is about creating, experimenting, and improvising, and these two chefs really seem to have mastered it. 

From global consumer insights to farms that defy tradition in Spain, these 8 hospitality TED Talks cover a variety of topics. In watching them, we laughed, cried, and felt awe-inspired. Each talk provides you with individual and powerful learnings that you can apply to multiple aspects of life.

→ If there are any standout hospitality TED Talks that you think we’ve missed, please comment below to share with the community!





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