What is Inspiration?
Oxford dictionary defines it as:
• noun 1 the process or quality of being inspired. 2 a person or thing that inspires. 3 a sudden clever or timely idea. 4 the process of inhalation.
Inspiration is a funny thing and also happens to be the most asked question for every Chef “Where do you get your inspiration from?” I am sure even the guy who fries the chips down in McDonald’s gets asked this same question. Chefs take inspiration from a variety of sources; Meals in restaurants, Books, Magazines, the surrounding landscapes (Michel Bras), Natural objects, Industrial products, Etc. For me the only inspiration you should get comes from within, this way you will not be influenced by the work of others and you can remain free to really develop your own style, this is an interesting point as the more restaurants around the world that I eat in I am finding more influence from many well know Chefs in 1 meal!
But when the “chips are down” and you are really struggling for inspiration cooking is a very hard profession, the only way to cook is with Love, so you need to dig deep and remember why you started cooking and the days when it was all so simple. So what do you do when your inspiration needs a bit of a tune-up? In my position now as Head Chef of the Laboratory I am trying to find new techniques and create new plates everyday, this can be a very heart breaking process as you can sometimes go more than a week without a single success! This means a lot of hours work and thinking that has simply ended up in the bin, I try not to think too much about what didn’t work and think that I am at least 1 more failure closer to success! I find every now and again I just feel like I have given too much of myself to food and I need to find the right boost to pick me back up. In these times I generally go to a market and talk with the many farmers and Providores as they are so passionate about there specific products which I find it contagious!
We create food to make people happy, it does not make sense if we are making ourselves unhappy in the process (you can taste if the Chef is happy through his food, remember Food is an Expression). Take the time sometimes to Love what you do and don’t forget to occasionally congratulate yourself when you do something outstanding. I’m off to the market this week as I need a recharge!