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What do you do to stay inspired?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone. I'm a kitchen manager working in Chicago. I just left one job and I have a new one lined up to start in two weeks. I worked my way up in the last company from saute cook to assistant KM to KM. While I was here, I had all the freedom to order whatever I wanted and make whatever specials I wanted, but I really squandered that time and wasn't very creative. I really regret wasting that time, and now that I'm going to work in a new place, I want to be passionate and creative. I just don't know where to look for that.

 

So please, let me know what types of things you do to keep up with the industry, and stay creative and inspired.

post #2 of 10

For me it is simple but complicated like the classic question, which came first the chicken or the egg. Eat, breathe, and sleep the industry. Do that and inspiration and creativity are always close by.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #3 of 10
Read current food magazines and eat in restaurants in your neighbourhood to see what the locals are looking for and then improve on that. Stay away from Food TV. You can't look for passion or creativity, it needs to be inside of you........what are your other interests? It's not like you are working in a small market.....do a little research and order things you've never used before.
post #4 of 10

I think this is a great question.  Its easy to go through the motions and take for granted the time we have to be creative.  Right now I'm a CDC of a newish restaurant that got off on the wrong foot.  I came in months after they opened to try and help out.  Since I'm so short staffed its hard to stay motivated to find creativity.  The easiest advice is to go out and eat.  Buy that cookbook that you've been meaning to buy (Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras was mine).  Get a fun protein or vegetable or grain in and just play around.  I also find that getting feedback from the FOH staff is helpful.  It may not be the BEST advice, but it does give you insight.  Go out with you chef friends and ask what they're doing.  

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by TaniaR View Post

Hey everyone. I'm a kitchen manager working in Chicago. I just left one job and I have a new one lined up to start in two weeks. I worked my way up in the last company from saute cook to assistant KM to KM. While I was here, I had all the freedom to order whatever I wanted and make whatever specials I wanted, but I really squandered that time and wasn't very creative. I really regret wasting that time, and now that I'm going to work in a new place, I want to be passionate and creative. I just don't know where to look for that.

 

So please, let me know what types of things you do to keep up with the industry, and stay creative and inspired.

I venture into unfamiliar ethnic foods...just "mastered" Low Country" cuisine, now I'm into Thai food.  Also ordering alligator (try it scallopini with white wine, lemon and caper sauce) from LA and tasso ham (a must for shrimp & grits!)...recommend the Cajun Grocer or Cajuncrawfish.com...also now on SavorSA-all about food stuff from San Antonio...exploring different regional foods is a fun way to keep my brain flowing.  This rice paper and beans threads are slowly making me nuts lol..good luck...oh yea,and eat out as often as your budget allows :)

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post

For me it is simple but complicated like the classic question, which came first the chicken or the egg. Eat, breathe, and sleep the industry. Do that and inspiration and creativity are always close by.

Point Taken , 

 

Really immerse yourself in the industry...

 

I read books alot , talk about food everyday , food magazines <_< 

Cook alot , taste everything , eat always XD 

 

Something so simples as a few ingredients at home inspire me to do something completly new :D I learned alot just by studying food 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #7 of 10
Eating out as much as possible! Exploring new restaurants, find the places that fall through the cracks - the hole in the walls, I try to cook something amazing at least once a week. Find out where your coworkers go when they go out, cook for friends... don't define yourself to one type of cuisine. i work in a modern american kitchen - but most of our techniques are classic french with an asian flair. Eat adventurously. You'll find inspiration.
post #8 of 10

oh boy. you asked for it ......but I take it you DO have the passion inside you.

go find that if needed.

my starting point usually is what inspires ME.

I have a fairly big book collection, and aside from that look for the chefs who inspire me..... have some famous names as your greatest example, it helps to focus if thats your kind of kitchen.

aside from that, I would suggest the above too: talk to other chefs, listen to feedback FOH, and eat, dream and live the industry. 

I know I do....and trust your gut feelings :) 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses, everyone. Looks like it's going to take a lot of hard work and studying, and it will be stressful, challenging, and also fun. I only have a few days left at this job where I have so much freedom, but I've been reading recipes online, buying cookbooks, and making new things. I was excited to get to work early to try some new stuff. I bought an autobiography written by someone where the tagline was "A reluctant chef" - I could definitely relate, so I'm reading that.

 

My other hobbies are playing music (I play piano, accordion, and ukelele), and I used to be pretty good at drawing. I'm actually getting more and more excited about everything the more I think about it and the harder I try. Sometimes it's grueling, but I know it will pay off. I can't be in the industry and be afraid to do or make something. I've been cultivating more chef friends, since I didn't stay in contact with many people from college, and most of my cooks are the type that just want to pay the bills. I'm also really excited about having big parties for friends and making a lot of food, and I also started a food blog, mostly for myself to help me remember recipes. Slowly but surely.
 

post #10 of 10
Your in Chicago. Go to Alinea!! I got lots of inspiration there.
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