We had the good fortune of connecting with Dennis Nelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dennis, how do you think about risk?
Risk is an integral part of everyone’s lives. Whether directly or indirectly, consciously or otherwise, risk and risk appetite is one of the leading determinants of people’s outcomes, and how they assess moments and choices ahead of them.
My personal approach to risk, whether in my personal life or my professional career, has been to (as much as possible) strip emotion from the equation to a base level of logic and value assessment. It has been to acknowledge that life is good, and that life will continue to be good whether I succeed to fail, whether I win or lose. This has enabled me to enhance my perception of the value / reward of an undertaking, and reduce the ‘loss’ of failure, to the extent that from the outside my risk tolerance may appear very high.
For context; I resigned from a successful investment banking career without a secure opportunity to jump into; I put most of my savings into businesses which I had little direct experience in, and personally; I raced motorcycles at a national club level; I have competed in national and international martial arts competitions.
My rewards are many, primarily the moments of the experiences I have been through. Often people look back at the hardest and darkest times with a sense of accomplishment, it is through challenge that we truly find ourselves. This enlightenment is a big part of the rewards of taking risk. Managing your team, seeing and helping others through their own journey is another great reward of taking the risk and being an entrepreneur.
What should our readers know about your business?
Grain Traders is about more than just the food we serve. The Grain Traders movement started as a seed, just as a Grain, an idea that stemmed from a love of feeding and treating people right, built around three core pillars of ingredients, intentions and inspiration. Founded in Singapore by Javier and his team, before being brought over to Los Angeles.
Using slow, intentional processes and professional techniques, from baking, grilling and fermenting that bring out culture you can taste. Our team coaxes the best flavors out of quality produce, resulting in food that is incredibly tasty yet nutritious – reminiscent of a lovingly home-cooked meal.
We are most excited about the opportunity to share our culture and our food with the community in Los Angeles, and then hopefully grow from there.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would have to bring them to Grain Traders first, obviously. Should they feel the want something different after a few days, some of our favourites include Gjusta, Butcher’s Daughter, Gjelina, Petite Trois, and Chi Spacca.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When you watch award ceremonies, you tend to find that the recipients of the awards rush to try and name as many people as possible in their allocated time. This will typically come from experience, or a raw recognition that no success is solitary, and few experiences are isolated.
My Shoutout dedication has to reflect the same. At Grain Traders in Los Angeles, we are a family and everyone has played their part. Gisela, our Culinary Director and Executive Chef, has been next to me since before we opened our doors, and together we have rolled with the significant challenges of opening a new restaurant in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adam Bartlett Studio