[PDF | 15,92 Mb] Appetite. Magazine – November-December 2018 – Download Magazine

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    Copyright © 2017 by Karen Page

    Photographs © 2017 by Andrew Dornenburg

    Hachette Book Group supports the right to free expression and the value of copyright. The purpose of copyright is to encourage writers and artists to produce the creative works that enrich our culture.

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    Little, Brown and Company

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    First ebook edition: October 2017

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    ISBN 978-0-316-26778-6








    PART I

    THE CREATIVE PROCESS STAGE 1 MASTERY acquiring knowledge, skill, and control

    Mastering the Fundamentals

    Studying the Past

    Learning by Copying

    STAGE 2 ALCHEMY converting the common into the precious

    The Evolution of Classics

    Converting Food through Flavor

    Flavor Dynamics

    The Flavor Equation

    STAGE 3 CREATIVITY making something new and valuable

    Cooking with All Your Senses

    The WhoWhatWhenWhereWhy&How of Creating a Dish

    Evolving to Interdependence









    For the Creative Force in the universe—which is known by many names, including consciousness (neuroscience), the Unified Field (physics), and God (religion).… May everyone who buys and reads this book be blessed with extraordinary creativity for good.


    a room in which food and drink are prepared and cooking is done


    the ability to conceive ideas and/or make things that are original, meaningful, and surprising



    Food is our common ground, a universal experience.


    Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives… Most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity.


    positive psychologist and bestselling author of Creativity and Flow

    The only thing as fundamental as food to our lives—our pleasure as well as our survival—is creativity. We must eat to live, but our ingenuity in generating solutions is arguably the single most important ability human beings possess.

    This is true not only personally but professionally. Creativity was cited by 60 percent of CEOs polled as the single most important leadership quality for success in business, ahead of even integrity (52 percent) and global thinking (35 percent), according to a study cited in Fast Company. Only one in four people believes they are living up to their creative potential, according to a 2012 Adobe study.

    Beyond being a tool for survival and a source of meaning, the act of creation is a source of meaning that can bring us our greatest joys.

    During graduate school, my then-boyfriend, Andrew, was working in the restaurant business—which I made the focus of my independent studies. I was fascinated by restaurants, and especially by professional chefs, whom I saw as unique hybrids of artists, entrepreneurs, and activists. By the late 1980s, I came to recognize the emerging cultural importance of chefs as among the most influential creative professionals of our time. This inspired me to radically change my life path to study chefs and their work in depth. My obsession was so all-encompassing, I even married one.

    As I interacted with the world’s leading chefs, I saw brilliance. I tasted genius. I sensed mystery. Among the most remarkable gifts of great chefs, I discovered, is exceptional sensory acuity—extraordinary senses of taste and smell, to be sure, but also finely honed senses of touch, sight, and hearing. New Orleans chef Susan Spicer shared:

    I’ve really developed my eyes so that I can look at something three feet away and say “that needs rinsing off” or “that doesn’t look fresh to me.” I know when someone puts something in a sauté pan and it doesn’t make a noise that the pan wasn’t hot enough. I listen when someone is chopping an onion and it’s going “crunch”—I know without looking that that person needs to sharpen their knife. I listen when I’m making a sauce in a blender, and I know if the sauce has broken by the sound.

    But in addition to developing these powers of sensory perception, there seemed to be something more going on—something Andrew and I were at a bit of a loss to describe in our first book. We wrote in Becoming a Chef (1995):

    An experienced chef’s greatness is often evidenced by his or her development of a “sixth sense” when it comes to cooking, and many of the chefs we interviewed alluded to this ability in some regard. Over time, they have developed the ability to cook at a more intuitive level, for lack of a better description.

    We referred to leading chefs’ “extrasensory perception,” which allowed them to “taste” with their other senses.

    Even at that time, it was clear that there were forces at work beyond our full comprehension that resulted in leading chefs’ extraordinary talents in the kitchen. Their experiences had honed not only their five outer senses. I came to believe the very best to be masters of their inner senses—their ability to see without actually seeing, to smell without actually smelling, to taste without actually tasting, and to bring an extraordinary breadth, depth, precision, immediacy, and intensity of perception to their cooking that I hadn’t known was possible.

    Besides the five senses and the central sense, Aristotle recognizes other faculties [including imagination] that later came to be grouped together as “inner senses.”

    —from the book Ancient Philosophy, edited by Brian Duignan

    Philosophers, starting with Aristotle, have enumerated and characterized the inner senses differently. However, centuries later, the concept of “inner senses” serves as a metaphor for the interior capabilities that allow us to perceive that which is too subtle to be grasped by the outer senses. Simply put, they suggest direction for our creative attention, energy, and will.

    Sense data alone do not produce insight or understanding of any kind. Ideas produce insight and understanding, and the world of ideas lies within us.…

    Inner individual authentic perception… is the only source of real knowledge.


    A Guide for the Perplexed

    Chefs may be the most perceptive professionals I have encountered. They can learn to harness their inner senses to fuel extraordinary creativity in the kitchen. This book shares the secrets of tapping those “inner senses”—as well as marshalling the power of finely honed “outer senses.” This one-two punch can unlock your abilities as a cook to perform kitchen alchemy—turning common ingredients into something precious. Even now, knowing many chefs’ secrets, it still strikes me as magical.

    Andrew’s photographs of chefs and their kitchens, creations, and inspirations are a necessary and most welcome collaboration for this book. Given that the genesis of creativity is preverbal—emerging as emotions, feelings, images, intuitions—sometimes concepts are more readily captured in pictures than in words, and I am awed by his gift for doing so.

    This book is meant for you to dip into when seeking wisdom, ideas, and inspiration in the kitchen. It’s presented in four primary sections. The first three address a triad of aspects of creativity: First comes Mastery, or the acquisition of knowledge and experience; followed by Alchemy, or the understanding of flavor synergy; which leads us to Creativity, which brings everything together. The A-to-Z section of the book can be flipped through whenever you’re seeking ideas on a particular aspect of a dish or dessert or drink—or something to spur your next culinary creation.

    I hope that this book will provide you with techniques, tools, and resources that you can put to work immediately at your own stove, not to mention wisdom from some of the world’s best chefs and other experts that can help you be more creative in the kitchen—and beyond.

    Learning to think creatively in one discipline opens the door to understanding creative thinking in all disciplines.



    Creativity means not copying.

    —JACQUES MAXIMIN, during the 1987 lecture (attended by Ferran Adrià) that changed the course of modern gastronomy

    This simple sentence was what brought about a change in approach in our cooking, and was the cut-off point between “re-creation” and a firm decision to become involved in creativity.

    —FERRAN ADRIÀ, whose elBulli was named number 1 on the 2002 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and then again every year between 2006 and 2009, and held the title longer than any other

    The most extraordinary 30-year era of kitchen creativity the world has ever seen—with more new culinary concepts, techniques, and styles developed than at any other point in history—can be traced to a single moment: In 1987, when 25-year-old Spanish chef Ferran Adrià visited one of the most creative chefs in the world at the time, 39-year-old French chef Jacques Maximin.

    Maximin had earned two Michelin stars for Le Chantecler at Nice’s Negresco Hotel, where Jacques Torres then served as the pastry chef. After Ferran Adrià enjoyed a meal of lamb stomach and feet, pork belly, and asparagus ice cream, Maximin invited him to attend a chefs’ conference he was hosting.

    At the conference, Maximin was asked, “What is creativity?”

    Maximin’s reply: “Not copying.”

    Adrià returned to elBulli inspired to innovate. He experimented with countless new techniques, creating countless new dishes and flavors and textures. And the world of gastronomy has never been the same.

    In 2002, elBulli came out on top of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list as the best restaurant in the world.

    While Thomas Keller’s Napa Valley–based French Laundry took the world’s number 1 spot in 2003 and 2004, Adrià had created a stir. In 2003, The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story, “How Spain Became the New France,” that sent shock waves through the world of gastronomy, which had long assumed France’s preeminence in all things culinary.

    elBulli regained the number 1 title in 2006, and held it through 2009.

    During elBulli’s heyday, until it closed in 2011, Adrià was not only the most copied chef in the world, but the most inspirational. His work encouraged others to develop their own creativity—adapting his ideas to their own cooking, innovating their own creations, or even rebelling against his style.

    In 2010, the Copenhagen restaurant Noma, whose kitchen was helmed by René Redzepi—who first visited elBulli in 1998 and worked there in 1999—took the top spot. Noma held the title through 2012, and regained it in 2014, through Redzepi’s culinary philosophy:

    For me cooking is something that is completely transparent and without pretense, that is honest and generous and has something true and original to it.

    The number 1 restaurant of 2013 and 2015 was Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca, run by a triumvirate of brothers: sommelier Josep, pastry chef Jordi, and chef Joan. Joan had worked in elBulli’s kitchen in the late 1980s. While naming his mother as the chef he admires most, Joan has acknowledged that “Ferran Adrià has influenced my cuisine and that of many of my peers.”

    José Andrés

    Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Jacques Torres on Being in the Room Where It Happened

    Jacques Maximin is one the most genius chefs I have ever known. We used to serve asparagus ice cream with candied asparagus on top, and it was actually good! In Maximin’s [cook]book, a lot of dishes were inspired by pastry. We used to make a tart based on an apple tart, but it was a savory lamb tart.

    He freed me to open my mind.

    Watching the show Mad Men, you see them torturing themselves until they come up with an idea. That was Maximin. He would spend hours and hours and days and days to come up with his menu. Every item on the menu had to be innovative.

    We were not allowed to say the word “impossible” or the phrase “I cannot do it.” If you said that, he would kill you! He would just ask, “How do we accomplish this?”

    Maximin was asked to give a demonstration in Cannes. I was his pastry chef, so he asked me to make the dessert. Jacques asked me to serve a dessert in the style of painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who created paintings of people with their faces created from food. He asked me to cut fruit and fill a mask then put a cake on it, so that when you unmolded the cake you’d see all the fruits for the eyes, cheeks, etc. and yet it is still a cake. It took a couple of tries, but I did it.

    Maximin was always innovative. At the end of the demonstration in Cannes, someone with a very thick Spanish accent asked Maximin what innovation meant to him.

    At the time, Maximin was the most innovative chef in the world. He asked, “Are you from Spain?” The reply was yes. So Maximin said to him, “If you make a paella, you will always be compared to someone else—someone’s mother, or grandmother, or another restaurant that makes paella. Because you are going to be compared, there is always someone who is going to be better than you. However, if you do something that nobody else has ever done, that is yours 100 percent, you will be the best.”

    The man with the Spanish accent was Ferran Adrià.

    Years later, I was having lunch at elBulli and Ferran came out with his brother [Albert, elBulli’s pastry chef] and sat down and told me, “Maximin changed my life that day.” Ferran said, “I was working here, doing Spanish food, and came back from that demo and said [to my kitchen team], “That is it—we are changing everything! From now on, we do only our things, our recipes.”

    That was the beginning of it all.

    One of the chefs in elBulli’s kitchen during the summer of 2000 was Italian-born chef Massimo Bottura, who has said of that experience:

    It wasn’t just about technique.… What changed me was the message of freedom that Ferran gave me, the freedom to feel my own fire, to look inside myself, and make my thoughts edible.

    In June 2016, Bottura’s Modena, Italy–based restaurant Osteria Francescana was named the Best Restaurant in the World.

    • • •

    So what is kitchen creativity? For now, let’s think of it as “bringing into being something new and useful to eat or drink.”

    As Lidia Bastianich of Felidia in New York City has observed, “Today’s innovation is tomorrow’s tradition.” Because we assimilate new ideas, they soon become old (passing) or classic (enduring). Part of the secret of being creative is keeping up with what’s new—and combining old or classic elements in a new and useful way.

    The goal of Kitchen Creativity is to do what Jacques Maximin did for Ferran Adrià in 1987: inspire you to tap your uniqueness, and start cooking in a way that expresses who you are and allows you to connect with and please others through your food.

    It starts the same way it started for Maximin, Adrià, Redzepi, Roca, Bottura, and countless other culinary artists:

    Decide not to copy. Decide to create your own food, your own way. Feel your own fire, look inside yourself, and make your own thoughts edible.

    So, how does one get to be a great, creative cook—the kind who can walk into a kitchen without a recipe and create a dish from scratch and know exactly how to make it taste delicious?

    First comes a period of receptivity—where the cook learns and absorbs expertise from those whose knowledge exceeds their own, whether in a classroom or through a stint in a restaurant kitchen. At this stage, the cook learns by imitating what s/he sees and tastes.

    Ferran Adrià on Creativity

    [My cuisine] searches for ways to trigger emotions through new techniques, concepts, and products. To me, cuisine is about the flavors, textures, visuals, and aromas that activate the senses when we eat—plus a sixth sense, which is the magic, the surprise, the culture.

    I always try to ask myself the “why” of things, and never to do things just because they have always been done that way. Otherwise, we would never evolve.

    I believe what we have achieved is to demonstrate that there are other ways, and other things, still to be created in cuisine. What really pleases us is that this is encouraging other chefs to look for new ways as well.

    There is a generation of chefs that is looking for new things, and who, in short, will be the world’s avant-garde.

    Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and, at last, you create what you will.

    —GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, playwright

    Yes, that’s right—it’s one of the paradoxes of creativity: The first stage of creativity (i.e., not copying) is copying.

    In Stage 1 (Mastery), a cook copies the masters—their dishes, their techniques, their seasoning—to develop a knowledge and skill base.

    During Stage 2 (Alchemy), new knowledge and experience are integrated and applied to the process of converting ingredients and classic dishes into something fresh.

    By Stage 3 (Creativity), one’s own novel ideas are applied to the process of connecting and combining elements into a new creation.

    And the ongoing cycle of copying, converting, and connecting and combining continues.

    Three Tips for Using KITCHEN CREATIVITY

    You can’t be creative if you don’t do something.


    author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative

    1. Keep a kitchen creativity journal. Whether it’s a notebook or a dedicated file on your phone, have a designated place to store thoughts, feelings, daydreams, photos, and other ideas for reference later. Take your ideas seriously, and write them down. As Getting Things Done author David Allen says,“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”

    2. Pay attention to what you pay attention to. Amid all the distractions we’re faced with, certain things still grab your attention. Notice which chefs, restaurants, dishes, and other ideas captivate you (versus the countless others you skip over, unmoved). If you track them, you can analyze them to discover the patterns that unite them, and learn about what’s important to you.

    3. Finally, take action on your best ideas, and make them a reality. After you start using this book to help multiply the quantity and quality of the ideas you generate, never forget the end game is to create the future. Don’t just write your best ideas down. Do the work. Make them happen! The world is waiting to taste what you create next.

    There is never “no reason” that you are noticing what you notice.… Once you become aware of it, what you begin to notice is how much you know that you didn’t know you knew.

    —LAURA DAY, author of Practical Intuition and The Circle

    PART I


    You need classic technique. You need to know everything, then forget e


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