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Premium Member
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Yes, you should feel nervous about receiving a big responsibility. If you didn't feel nervous, it wouldn't be a big deal. It's a challenge. That's what makes it a challenge.

Second, everything has been done before. But not everywhere or all the time. So borrow/steal all the ideas you want from whomever you want.

This is known in educational circles as Learning. No one thinks of everything by themselves. We all learn from others.

      When studying the cookbooks in my collection, I am constantly surprised by a technique or flavor pairing I would never have thought of. 

From a recent purchase, Charlie Trotters' Vegetables,  I find many great examples. Using fruit or vegetable purees as sauces in combination with other fruits and vegetables. But he also sometimes serves vegetables and or fruits in veal or chicken broth.  Much of what I've read would never have occurred to me. 

   The French Laundry has many great ideas and techniques. I really like Alfred Portales thinking on many cooking techniques and flavor pairings.  All of these chefs put out cookbooks to share their knowledge. 

     Remember too that while you, the chef and others may think "It's all been done before", chances are your customers haven't seen or eaten it. Very few will collect all those cookbooks and study them like you will. Very few will have eaten at all those restaurants. It may be that your place is the one place they rely on for new and interesting things to eat. So go ahead and use those flavor pairings, different techniques and plating ideas. Your dedication and passion will be what shine through. 
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