When you’re trying to grow your professional capabilities, it’s worth paying attention to what the successful people in your industry are doing. If you have read anything about chefs Daniel Humm and Massimo Bottura who scored No. 1 & No. 2 on The World’s 50 Best list, you would have known that they frequently make reference to being inspired by artists and art.
Isn’t that interesting? Note that they haven’t attributed their success to working even longer hours than you. Instead, they make space in their careers for something else to emerge. They stay humble and open to learning.
Cooking has always been closely connected to the other creative arts. For centuries, chefs have drawn inspiration most of all from architecture, but also from painting, sculpture and even music.
I encourage you to give yourself some time and space to absorb inspiration from the world around you. Ideas might fly off a wall, light up that part of your brain that makes connections and then one day in the future, land on your plate. You don’t have to be an expert. Even if a piece of art seems too intellectual and unappealing, just give it your attention in the first instance. Slowly, you’ll begin to appreciate colours, shapes, volumes and textures. Light and shade. How it’s composed.
You don’t even have to be a serious student. Check out the graffiti on your street. Stop by at a local museum when you have time to kill on a holiday. And don’t forget that there’s magnificent art in nature: the next time you have to prep a savoy cabbage, see it with new eyes. Stop to marvel at how the leaves are formed, veined and folded together.
As a chef, you already have a gift for the visual and a consciousness of how things are made. Take those gifts further – don’t wait a single day, chef!