To me, I consider a cook/chef to be accomplished when they do have enough experience to create a dish on their own. Since humans have been cooking for thousands of years, there aren't a whole lot of techniques that are really "new", but I suppose that's why the whole molecular gastronomy fad gets some attention, until recently that hadn't been done to the degree it is now, even though cooking has always involved some degree of alchemy.
One of the reasons I fell in love with cooking, was the fact that it is both technical and artistic. You cannot escape the fact that composing a dish is much like composing any other piece of art, striving for balance in textures, flavors, and colors. At the same time, one can imagine beautiful artwork in their mind, and without the technical knowledge of how to execute that vision, nothing will come of it.
Much like an artist must practice their technique, sketching thousands of times, trying new approaches, new paints, new canvas, new types of lenses or film, etc. you must practice. This is to me where a recipe can help, it gives you a framework to start with, but you shouldn't limit yourself at all to that framework. Study a recipe and ask yourself "why is this successful, what techniques are required to make it successful?". Over time, you will have enough knowledge to construct your own frameworks and when you have, your creativity can really be unleashed.