Age: 26 years
Current occupation: Director of By Cortsen and student at CBS
What did you dream about as a child?
When I was very little, my dream was to become a chef or an ice hockey player. However, as I have always been impressively bad at ice skating, I realised pretty quickly that the latter was unlikely to come true. When I was about 10 years old, the dream of being a chef changed to becoming a stock market analyst. I always had the same huge passion for gastronomy, but I feared that I would lose the spark if it became my "regular" job.
What key experience impacted you to move in the direction you are moving today?
It is very difficult to point out one specific thing or experience that has had the biggest influence on the direction I have chosen. Gastronomy has always been paramount and one of the cornerstones of my foundation. But I think the reason it has become my livelihood and we are where we are today is due to my parents' continuous support and eternal encouragement. In addition, it is clear that my participation in MasterChef, almost 8 years ago, has also played a key role, as I was at a mandatory crossroads in the third year of high school after the finals.
What choice you’ve made in your life are you most proud of, and why?
In general, I find it quite difficult to define and pinpoint my pride. I think it must be my North Jutland roots that do the talking. If I have to mention one thing anyway, it has to be our choice to never give up. It sounds a little bit romantic, but even though we've been up to our necks in shit and things have looked pretty bleak, we've repeatedly chosen to "stand up". It is clearly those choices and the general work mentality that have brought us to where we are today. It is in no way my doing alone, but the whole fantastic team and all those who in one way or another have been part of the journey.
” The business has given me so many amazing experiences and memories that I will never forget or do without, but they have not been given away. I have suffered many sacrifices and privations. ”
What choice has been the easiest, and why?
Unfortunately, I don't think I've made many easy choices so far. But it would be great if they started to arrive soon.
What has been the hardest choice you’ve taken, and why?
The decision to focus hard on the business has undoubtedly been the hardest choice of my life. The business has given me so many amazing experiences and memories that I will never forget or do without, but they have not been given away. I have suffered many sacrifices and privations. These range from memorable events and moments with family and friends, exes and friendships that weren't prioritised, and generally a lot of social experiences that unfortunately there hasn't been room for. The gloss around entrepreneurship and being self-employed can be extremely inspiring and compelling, but make no mistake about how mind-numbingly hard it can often be.
“ [...] When I get out of my comfort zone, I always try to seek inspiration and advice from people I trust and look up to. [...]. They know me and my values and can therefore influence me in that direction, or perhaps help push me over the edge.“
How do you find inspiration and confidence to step out of your comfort zone?
For me, it's been a lot about defining some personal goals and guidelines. This applies both to the business, and also to my personal life, which I have neglected for the past many years. On my way to achieving my goals, when I get out of my comfort zone, I always try to seek inspiration and advice from people I trust and look up to. It can be anything from my best friends to one of my mentors. They know me and my values and can therefore influence me in that direction, or perhaps help push me over the edge.
What personal characteristics do people most often use to describe you?
I think the top 3 personal characteristics that people most often describe me with would have to be: humble (for better or worse), hardworking and cheeky.
How do you feel these unique characteristics have impacted your way in life?
I actually feel that I can stand within all 3 characteristics, although they obviously reflect my personality for better or worse. I hope and believe that a combination of the characteristics has helped shape the opportunities we have been given and the network we have built.
”Once you have made your choice, do it!”
What is your best advice to others who would like to feel more comfortable about making personal choices?1. Listen to your gut feeling and give it some time
2. Discuss your options and considerations with people who understand you and whom you trust.
3. Once you have made your choice, do it! It's your choice and your decision - people who feel sorry for you or don't support you, you don't need them anyway!
Follow Mads on Instagram @madscortsen.