Michaela Kralikova: I don’t like when people or brands play games

You may know Michaela Kralikova as the great cook on the Masterchef TV show but her culinary skills are far from being the only thing she attends to. 

Michaela is an incredibly versatile woman – she has set up her own café, published two books, is involved in personal development, marketing, runs seminars, is educating and does mentoring. Besides, she’s the mother of three.

In the interview, she told us: 

  • When her relationship with cooking began, 
  • which was the most difficult thing to do in business beginnings, 
  • how her pandemic thwarted the plans, 
  • in which area of her activities she felt the best, 
  • which webinars she was preparing and for whom they were meant to help.

You’re known from the MasterChef cooking show. When did this become about culinary art? 

I grew up in a village near Trenčín, where there was always a lot of good cooking. I was raised by my mother and grandmother, who had a profound influence on my relationship to cooking and to life in general. Ever since I was a little girl, I used to spend time in the kitchen and help make homemade apricot jam all the way up to Christmas baking. 

To this day, I remember making my mother’s first cake for her 40th or New Year’s Eve dinner, where I wrote four menus on the decorative paper myself. 

Then you published a recipe book and started your own bakery. What was the most challenging thing about starting a business?

I think my entry into the gourmet business has made it easier for me to get the press out of my part in the Masterchef TV show. It helped my brand and the cafeteria chairs fill up faster than if I opened an anonymous business. Nevertheless, I was very afraid that it would work in the long term. The responsibility for the employees, their salaries, their families and, of course, my own has been great and heavy. 

The most difficult thing for me was to combine the roles of mother and entrepreneur.

Sometimes the kids had to go to work with me, and I remember my daughter falling asleep on the night shift at the cafe when the staff could not come to work or I went straight from the maternity ward to decorate the cake for the production because the candy maker got sick. 

 The coronavirus pandemic interfered with your business plans, as you took it?

In the best of times, we had 3 Kralikova Cafe (Malacky, Stupava, Záhorská Bystrica) bistro-café and production – the Kralikova Manufacture manual for cakes and small snacks. It imported not only our cafés but also other cafés throughout Slovakia (e.g. Panta Rhei, Yeme and others.). We had over 20 employees and the management was really demanding. 

COVID and the divorce, however, conflicted plans and I decided to withdraw from the business. It wasn’t an easy decision, I saw the café as my fourth child but I realized there was a part to letting go and letting go. The cafe in Malacky is still there but it no longer bears my name, and I have closed the factory for good. 

You recently became a certified trainer for business and soft skills. When did you develop this desire for marketing education? Did you also take advantage of the experience of your own business?

I’ve had a relationship with education since I was a kid. I come from a teacher’s family, so maybe I inherited a little. I taught English when I was in high school, and at university I gave Greek and Hebrew lessons to my classmates. I’ve always enjoyed teaching and moving people around. During my one-year internship in the United States, I dealt with the subjects of discipline and mentoring. When I thought about what to do next, a lot of people told me that it would be valuable if I continued to share my experience in business, management, but also personal growth, combustion, EQ, soft skills, etc. That’s why I decided to spy on Google’s trainer, where I eventually succeeded.

What do you bet on building a personal brand?

Branding or brand building is a strong issue today. In the first place, I want to focus on authenticity and honesty. People already see me as a brand, too, and I only did that by being myself. I don’t like people or brands playing games. Many world brands have realized that it is not enough to start a business and earn money but that the brand must become personal for the customer and need to establish a relationship with it. Every brand is like a person — it has its style, it has its language, its values, its colors, its personality. 

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You are a versatile woman – you write books, teach courses, lecture, mentor and excel in the kitchen arts. Besides, you’re the mother of three. What part do you feel best about?

It’s true. I do a lot of things and some activities are quite different. Last weekend, I was cooking for 300 people in the High Tatras for an experience dinner, and this week, I have mentoring on social networking, brand building but also recording video courses on burn-outs and publishing skills. But which position do I feel best in? I feel best when I can be myself. I like to balance my program. I like company and lectures, but I can enjoy solitude, spend time with myself and, for example, write books or creative copywriting for different brands. I like my flow. 

What’s your favorite part of the job? Is there anything you don’t like to do in business?

My favorite thing about my job is freedom. I can choose projects that I like and that make sense to me, but I can also refuse an offer that is not in line with my values and my mission. I do not like to deal with technical matters, accounting and paper, but I am used to “eat the frog first”.

What can the participants of the web-based Marketing Mixture be looking forward to? 

We will talk about the basics of marketing, about different formats, channels and types of advertising. Mixing the right marketing mix is kind of alchemy. We’re gonna talk about what Brand is and the performance ad, and what the difference is. 

And what will the ladies learn on your web site, Public Records? 

Ladies learn that some things are genes, but rhetorical skills (verbal and non-verbal) can also be learned. The most powerful tool of any speaker is authenticity. We’re gonna tell each other how to prepare, how to practice, how to keep a positive mindset, how to drag in an audience and still be ourselves.

What are your plans for the future? 

I have more personal and work plans, and I will be happy to implement some of them. I would like to focus more on projects that make sense to me and make me happy, because I can do my job. 

The priority, of course, are my three children, who are of an age when they most need my time and mentoring. I am working to move forward in the areas of mentoring, soft skills education and creative writing. I’m writing another book, and I’m also planning a whole new project — a new brand that should see the light of day in the autumn.

Try giving us three tips on how to achieve your dream. 

  • Have faith and don’t doubt yourself. 
  • Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. 
  • It’s never too late to start over.

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