Monday, October 30, 2006

Treat from Sharif. Halloween Special Edition.

Inside This eZine Issue:
Halloween Special Edition Trick AND Treat from the Author!

1. Quote of the Month

2. The Treat: Secret recipes from a master French chef and his story
of defying those who said he’ll never cook again after a
paralyzing car crash

3. The Trick: The trick to achieving your goals plus a personal share

4. Halloween Scare: A fantasy horror short story from the author

5. Nurture the Champion Spirit in Your Workplace!

1. Quote of the Month

“I don’t ask myself if I can do it. I just ask myself how can I do it. If you
put an ‘if’ in there, you’re already putting an obstacle in front of yourself”

- French Chef, Pascal Ribreau
(Taken from “A Quiet Courage” by Paula Todd)

2. The Story of Pascal Ribreau and Two of his Secret Chef Recipes

* “It is cold in uptown Toronto. Snowflakes eddy at the blue lacquered door of Celestin, the chic restaurant on ount Pleasant Road. A slender woman in a little black dress offers you a seat. Plump pockets of rabbit Ravioli infused with shallots, basil and olive oil swim in a big white bowl on your table. The chatter of nearby diners, the warmth from the kitchen, the scent of seared red pepper, butter and anise sauce envelop.

Through the open serving window you can see the cooks as they whiz and whirl silently about their tasks. In the corner, near the prep counter, there is a dark-haired boy-man with bright eyes. Tom Cruise would play him in the movie. He is strapped into a steel contraption that holds him erect and towering over his staff – a charming, hopping, herb-waving mechanical man.

Pascal Ribreau pushes a button on his motorized, stand-up wheelchair and jets over to the fridge. He barely has time to glance out at the swelling crowd, but there is a tiny smile on his face. He is doing his two favorite things: cooking, and proving people wrong.

Did he feel suicidal when his doctor told him he would never walk again and that he must abandon his successful career as a chef?

“No! I ignored her.”

Does he blame the driver, who, on a beautiful autumn afternoon, forced the car in which he was riding with his wife and friends off the road?

“No! Accidents are accidents. They happen. Let’s say the driver made one mistake in his life and it turned into a crisis for me. We don’t need more people to suffer from that. When I drove, maybe I wasn’t perfect. I could have created a situation like that, too.”

Did he succumb, as one easily might, to self-pity? “No! When I ask, Why me? I say, Why not me? It could happen to anybody. If we had decided to wait two more minutes, the accident would not have happened, but then it happens to a lot of people every day.”

Recovering from tragedy is far more complex, of course. But Ribreau is stubborn. Correction: very stubborn. It’s a characteristic that winds its way through his family tree, ruining relationships, estranging mothers and sons – but, ultimately saving his life…”

(After a horrific car accident on a Thanksgiving weekend in Montreal, Ribreau emerged with a broken back and tattered spinal cord leaving him paralyzed from the waist down).

“It would take Ribreau himself considerably longer to truly confront his paralysis. “When the accident just happens, you don’t understand the consequences. Not in the intensive care unit where the doctor says you will not walk; you will not feel your legs. Even there, you don’t realize it because you’re not active. You have drugs and friends and doctors around.”

In an instant, a man of boundless energy became a “T8 incomplete paraplegic,” with use of his arms alone. Two months in a morphine haze would pass before he was sufficiently recovered to fully appreciate that he was paralyzed. “And then you think, damn it, why can’t I move my legs?”

…Ribreau chose to see his new rehabilitation program not as the dreaded consequence of his accident, but as an accomplishment. “Maybe not in terms of mobility, but in terms of doing all the things you’re supposed to do after the injury. So, you see every day you are regaining.”

Ribreau used his willpower and his stubbornness to block the pain and depression. He repeatedly assured his wife: “If I get depressed, I will not let it get me down.”

…His doctor suggested he look for another profession, as cooking would now be too physically demanding. “But I’m good at that, not only at cooking but at directing people. That’s what I do, that is my passion. I didn’t want to find another job!”

So, Ribreau ignored the medical pessimists. “I didn’t even bother arguing with them. This is your belief, but I know what I’m gonna do, so that’s all. Don’t let others decide what will happen to you as a result of your tragedy.”

His accident has left him determined to help those who are also struggling. His eyes flash as he offers this warning: “Don’t let others tell you what your outcome will be. No one knows you except you. Don’t forget that!”

A Gift from Pascal

“A reviewer once said that Pascal Ribreau created ‘poetry on a plate.’ Here’s a recipe that will always remind the chef of that critical Christmas, shortly after his paralyzing accident, when he decided to take his fate into his own hands.

Duck Confit and Foie Gras Torte with Savoy Cabbage

2 large Savoy cabbage
2 confit duck legs (can be homemade or purchased) 500 g foie gras
12 very thin slices of double-smoked bacon
2 sheets of puff pastry (3mm thick)
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°

1. Cutt off cabbage stem and break off leaves. Cook leaves in boiling water until tender (about three minutes).
2. Dry leaves and then sauté them in butter. Set aside to let cool.
3. Remove all meat from duck leg confit and separate by hand into small pieces.
4. Slice foie gras lengthwise into four pieces and pan sear both sides of each piece. Set aside to cool.
5. Once all ingredients have cooled, cut one puff pastry sheet into an eight-inch round, cut the other to twelve-inches.
6. Place the eight-inch puff pastry round on a baking sheet and layer the ingredients in the following order: half of all
cabbage leaves, duck bacon, foie gras. Season with salt and pepper on each layer.
7. Cover with remaining cabbage leaves and then the second puff pastry sheet. Pinch and score edges.
8. Brush top with egg yolk.

Place in the middle rack in the oven and bake for twenty minutes.

Ribreau served this dish to his astonished friends with oven-roasted wild duck and roasted Italian chestnuts with a red wine cassis sauce on the side

…And here is Ribreau’s much-loved rabbit ravioli dish he made before and after the accident, a symbol of life’s continuity:

Rabbit Ravioli

1 small rabbit (about 2 lb.) cut into pieces
1 package of wonton wrappers
1 cup of white wine and four cups of water
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 head of garlic cut in half
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 bunches of fresh basil
1 bunch of parsley
1 cup of olive oil
4 ounces of parmesan shavings
½ cup pitted Nicoise black olives
½ cup toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper

Sear the rabbit on both sides, then add the vegetables and the stems of the fresh herbs, deglaze with the wine and reduce for one minute before adding the water. Add garlic and let the rabbit simmer for two hours until the meat is tender, then let it cool down.

Wash half of the fresh herbs and cook them for fifteen seconds in boiling salted water and cool them in a bowl of ice water. Put the olive oil in a blender and mix these herbs with it and reserve.

Remove all the meat from the rabbit, shred it with a fork and season it with the rest of the fresh herbs, chopped and with some olive oil. Add the balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff all the ravioli dough with the rabbit meat and set aside.

To serve: Cook the ravioli for two minutes in salted boiling water, then put them in the rabbit stock to finish cooking for another two minutes. Garnish a bowl for each person with the olive oil and herb paste. Add five ravioli garnished with pitted black olives, pine nuts and the parmesan shavings.”

* Excerpted with special permission from Paula Todd, author of, “A Quiet Courage.” Copyright © 2004 by Paula Todd.
A Quiet Courage; Thomas Allen Publishers; ISBN 0-88762-155-4; To order visit:

Compliments of

3. The Trick to Achieving Your Goals

Well, now that I’ve given you a little treat, I can’t leave you on Halloween without a trick as well.
No, that’s NOT the Hero Soul philosophy. The Hero Soul philosophy is you can have your cake
and eat it too! So if you go out trick and treating, ask for both a trick AND a treat!

So what’s the trick to achieving your goals? Well, first of all, don’t call them goals! Instead, call
your goal a PROMISE. Why? You already know why! What happens when you set a “goal” for yourself? About 25% of the time or greater, you don’t end up achieving it, and so your brain is hard-wired not to take a goal that seriously. But when you make a promise to someone, what happens? You do EVERYTHING in your power to honor your promise because your integrity, reputation, and identity are on the line.

I got this excellent tip from billionaire Bill Bartmann ( when he was visiting Toronto, and I would highly recommend that you attend one of his seminars if he is coming to your area.

But there’s more to it than just that. The trick is to put yourself on the spot and tell others about your promise. As the prominent businessman and philanthropist, W. Clement Stone, once said:
“Tell everyone what you want to do and someone will want to help you do it.”

So here’s my promise that I’m sharing with all of you:

“I promise to have my inspirational novel that I’ve started research on to be completed by December 31, 2007!”

Whew! There, I’ve done it. I’ve put myself on the line. Now I have just over a year to complete my novel with everything else that I’m doing. And If I don’t do it, I’ll feel like a schmuck because some of you will be asking me what happened to my novel.

Ideally, I’d like to find the means to take an entire year off to dedicate myself to writing this novel on a full-time basis. So I’d appreciate any ideas, suggestions, or help in making this happen. Otherwise, I’ll have to make do with writing the novel in my spare time. I will also need help in getting a top agent and publishing house for my manuscript. And will appreciate any help in this area as well.

Sharif Khan
Author, The Hero Soul

4. Halloween Scare: A Fantasy Horror Story from the Author

In the spirit of Halloween, I’d like to share with my subscribers a supernatural thriller/fantasy horror short story that I wrote titled, The Witch Doctor. Here’s the link:

Why am I sharing this with my Hero Soul subscribers? Well, duh, it’s Halloween -- Boo! However, if you read my promise above, you’d understand that I’m developing venues to showcase my fiction writing to potential agents, editors, publishers, and a new fiction audience to help prepare the way for the release of my novel. (Which by the way will NOT be a horror title; it will be an inspirational fable/fantasy fiction).

But why is a ‘motivational’ author sending me this? Why not! I hate to break this to you, but I am human. I’m not Mr. Positive 24 hours a day, sunshine coming out my wahzoo, oozing enough enthusiasm to make someone want to puke. I do have a dark side, like everyone else, that I try to channel in safe creative outlets. And speaking of puking, just last night I was enjoying a re-run of The Exorcist with that head-spinning brat of a girl barking explicatives and barfing green ooze for the umpteenth time.

Now, I’m not a horror fan at all. But around Halloween time, I’ll indulge myself once in a while. And some horror films do have well-crafted, meaningful story lines – The Exorcist and The Omen being two of them. Well, okay, maybe also The Shining….“Here’s Johnnnnnnnnnnnnnny!!!”

5. Nurture the Champion Spirit in Your Workplace!

Looking for heroic ways to inspire that winning champion spirit in your workplace and develop leadership?

Here are three suggestions:

1. Hire Sharif as an inspirational keynote speaker for your upcoming conference or annual meeting. Watch to learn more.

"Sharif gave a very motivational presentation to our members and sales leaders encouraging them to be more, do more, and play their best game. His talk was both inspirational and practical and gave our group some techniques to take away to develop a
successful winning attitude." - Anthony Gagliese, President, The Sum-It Club

2. Order copies of The Hero Soul book to honor the heroes and champions in your organization. (Roy Saunderson, founder of the Recognition Management Institute, has recommended The Hero Soul as a helpful recognition resource for companies to use in their Reward & Recognition programs). See how one organization is using the Hero Soul at their annual conference to inspire champions:

"Everyone has a HERO locked up in the deep recesses of their mind…when you discover it, your self-image will skyrocket you to previously unimagined rewards. As your eyes travel from one page to the next, you will suddenly become aware of the masterful job Sharif has done in guiding you to this special place. I love it, so will you."
- Bob Proctor, Philosopher, Chairman, Life Success Productions

3. Use the Hero Soul Book Discussion Guide in your workgroup, team, book club, or lunch and learn, for lively discussion and study of the principles of success and psychology of great leaders in order to cultivate that champion spirit in your workplace.

To get your complimentary copy of the Hero Soul Book Discussion Guide, simply send an email to with "Hero Soul Book Discussion Guide" in the subject line and you will be emailed a copy.

“Our life is completed by modeling heroes. Here is your pick of some of the world’s best heroes which will make your life richer, more meaningful and impactful.”
- Mark Victor Hansen, Co-creator, # 1 New York Times best-selling series:
Chicken Soup for the Soul ®

Hero Soul eZine, Copyright © October 2006 by Sharif Khan. A F-R-E-E monthly column.

About the Author: Sharif Khan (; is a copywriter and communications specialist, inspirational keynote speaker, and author of the leadership bestseller, "Psychology of the Hero Soul."