I have jumped on the cooking bandwagon. I find the process rewarding on multiple levels.
When I first dove into the world of cooking I connected with the chefs on an unexpected level. I recently came across some notes in an old notebook that made parallels between the creation process of a stage director and a chef.
I think it was this process that has kept me hooked.
The process of a chef is like any other creative endeavor and one that runs right in line with the Robert Greene’s Mastery. Start as a dish washer, learn and work every station until skills are built and there is an understanding of how it all works together, continue to deepen those skills.
Like most things it appears simple but it is intricate and complex. There are a lot of working parts that need to work together.
Ideally once the common cook learns all this they start to have ideas of their own. They want to branch out to create and build. Have a leap of faith from their teacher/mentor and do their own thing.
I can imagine it’s scary as hell. Evolutionarily, comfort is a wonderful thing. But there is very little growth in comfort. Very little growth comes from staying in the same place doing the same thing.
Through this whole process the chef develops a style. Creates a way of doing things that makes his dishes uniquely his. It’s this style that will carry him.
That’s the ultimate goal. To create dishes where the chef is recognized by the presentation, flavor combinations…the style.
This runs deeper than food. It runs deeper than work. Style is in everything.
It’s in the way that I write emails. The way that I high five my kids. How I introduce myself and talk to people. Everything I do communicates me and my style.
That is both liberating and….scary.
It’s not that I want the fame of a celebrity chef. It’s that I want to behave in a way that is consistent and communicates clearly.
I have a certain idea of how life should be lived. It’s up to me to live that way. To be deliberate in my actions. So that my life is the way I want it to be and not the way it was given to me.
Liberating in that I have a choice and can make things better for me, my family and those that I work with. Scary because it’s up to me to make it happen.
When Socrates said,
The unexamined life isn’t worth living.
I used to think that he meant that everything needs to be analyzed. I’ve done that for a long time. There’s nothing wrong with analyzing as long as it leads to changed behavior.
Analyzing emphasizes the past. That’s where I’d get stuck. I worry too much about what I did and what I was going to do instead of being concerned about what I am doing. It’s an ingrained habit I’m am constantly trying to replace.
Examining life for me now means creating style. Going through the process of living to many times that I learn what works best for me. I don’t like the results, I try something else.
It’s same process for becoming a traditional artisan; only it’s not just the craft. It’s the way I live my life. It’s reason I wake up, the purpose behind my decisions, how I connect and reach out.
It’s my style.
I think this is what the internet means when they say personal brand. Branding is a look and a feel, but more than that it’s process of how things are done.
The most frustrating part about this process is what Ira Glass calls the gap.