Bring your passion!
Can you imagine life without passion? It’s a pretty bleak vision without it, isn’t? This is why I love food programs and Chef’s Table is one of my favorites. Apart from the simple fact that I love great food, the passion a master chef possesses inspires me. The creativity, playfulness, innovation, teamwork and mad experimentations these true masters bring to the table is both thrilling and inspiring.
Boundaries are broken, limiting beliefs cast aside, what cannot be done is done. With combinations most of us can’t even imagine, they invent and reinvent. They care about the environment and their footprints and are concerned about sustainability. They honor the flavor, smell, texture, color, and versatility of each ingredient. Curiosity, hard work, an acute eye for detail and precision is at the forefront of their work. Hours of studying and trial and error, as well as skill, knowledge, fearlessness and a deep-rooted belief in what they are searching for, are other key elements of their work.
On their path, they have conquered numerous challenges, prejudice, defeat, and seen their work go up in flames and smoke. Quite literally. Some have had people believe in them, some not. Somehow, they have managed to push through and overcome obstacles, financial ruin, lack of support and inhuman work hours. They have come out on the other side where they are recognized, celebrated and where they make a huge difference.
What is it that has had them push through and continued no matter what?
I believe, short and simple, that it comes down to vision and passion. To know where they are headed and why. There is a drive and a hunger that runs deeper than the hurdles they have had to cross. They are determined to continue and to find a way regardless of what they have to face. Above all, they are not willing to compromise. They are willing to learn, be mentored and be coached by those who have gone before. Learning from the best is a huge advantage and a smart move because nobody succeeds on their own. This applies whether it is culinary magic or anything else in life.
Like chef and owner of Alinea, Grant Achatz, when he was faced with cancer and lost his ability to taste. What a disaster for a chef! He never gave up but found new ways to work. He delegated and trusted others, thus allowing new talents to come forward and his restaurant to grow.
Turning failure into learning will guide you onwards
Antonio Luis Aduriz, one of the most influential chefs of our time shared this insight with one of the contestants who failed in the Final Table: “A person’s willpower is like water. Nothing can stop it. It will pass through mountains, it falls like a waterfall, but it always gets to the place it is supposed to. You are so talented. Please turn this [failure] into a mountain that you have to overcome.”
Turning failure into learning and new insight goes for all of us. We should welcome it with open arms!
Celebrity chef, author, and restaurateur Francis Mallmann, who specializes in Argentinean cuisine, talks about “Maestranza”, meaning something along the lines of “the people who are around you helping”. He goes on to say “You don’t grow on a secure path. All of us should conquer something in life. It needs a lot of work and a lot of risks. In order to grow and to improve you have to be there – a bit on the side of uncertainty.”
Out there, on the other side of uncertainty, when you don’t know, and you feel on the verge of failure or success, is life! When you are afraid, you can know for certain that you are full of life and just about to step onto the threshold where that invisible line of being run by fear or overcoming it, is.
Food for Soul
Another world-famous chef who has upped the game is Massimo Bottura. Together with Lara Gilmore, he has started Food for Soul, a non-profit organization empowering communities to fight food waste through social inclusion. Their slogan “a meal is a gesture of inclusion” speaks to so much more than conquering food waste. It opens the door to warmth, inclusion, collaboration, real meetings, and real conversations. Massimo has also brought in his whole network of friends and fellow chefs to contribute and Food for Soul is now almost global.
Open up for inspiration
There is so much to learn from people from all kinds of trade to help us move past what seems insurmountable. Master chefs just happen to be my magic for inspiration and flow. While I watched the first season of Chef’s Table, I was inspired to create my “Dinner for 8”-concept, a place for great food and courageous conversations with people from different walks of life.
I wonder what you might be compelled to create when inspiration finds you and passion takes hold!
Vision and passion
When you have vision and passion as travel companions, stamina will join to help you on your way! You don’t have to become a master chef, but you do owe it to yourself to excel at what you are good at. Be that a parent, an artist, a caregiver, taxi driver, teacher, coach, singer, writer, comedian, social worker, leader, CEO, or whatever else. Your choice! Bring your passion!