Lessons learned from watching Chef's Table

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Watching the Chef’s Table series on Netflix, spoke to my soul in so many ways. Each episode profiles a world-renowned chef. I was mesmerised and couldn’t stop watching.

  • These are my thoughts on what stood out for me about this series and the questions I asked myself because of them.
    In some cases, a chef had something that tormented their soul and others saw problems that needed to be solved. Either a void within themselves or a solution to a problem was the fuel that drove them forward. "I don’t like pain and try avoid it at best. What if I became friends with my pain and asked it, “What are you trying to teach me?"
  • They had a vision of what they wanted to achieve. This meant questioning everything that they saw, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, and especially what they learned in traditional culinary school.It meant staying true to who they really are. Even if people didn’t understand them or thought they were mad. They challenged the status quo, and did things their way. How much of what I see, hear, and learn from others do I just accept? Why don’t I question things that have an impact on my life or that I don’t like? Why do I live by rules that are outdated? Why don’t I create new rules for my own life?
  • They were all on their own journey of learning and figuring out what works for them. They kept on experimenting, failing, learning, and growing. Even when they had a winning combination on a menu, they didn’t keep it for long. They kept reinventing. They were brave enough to make changes even if others didn’t like it. They knew that doing the same thing day in and day out would kill their creativity and to them it felt like dying. When I find something that works for me, I tend to stick with it. Many years later, I am still in the same boring routine. Looking at my habits, do I think it might be time to update the menu?
  • They struggled on their journey before achieving success. They reached a point of despair. They had to decide to keep going or quit. Then a tipping point was reached where the struggle turned into triumph. Do I keep trying or do I just give up when life pushes my buttons?
  • Time with family and friends matters. The time spent away from loved ones in their determination to be a success caused them a lot of guilt and regret. Having success and no one to share it with just wasn’t worth it.They soon learned that balance is needed to be happy. The absence from family and friends made them feel hollow, and their work meaningless. Do I make time for my loved ones?
  • They have an appreciation and deep understanding of how food evokes an emotional reaction in humans. Eating is an emotional experience, one that stirs our senses. It makes us feel joy, happiness, or sadness. It can transcend time to make us recall childhood memories, or an experience we had. Do I just eat because I am hungry? What do I do when I sit down to eat? Do I know what I am eating? What does it taste like? Am I really present in this experience of eating my food?
  • They have an appreciation for food and understand where it comes from. How it is grown, killed, cooked, and what flavours it has. This understanding and connection of what Mother Nature provides for us and the health benefits, makes food a spiritual experience. Our body is the vessel in which our spirit can experience pleasure. We can smell and taste the aromas of food and be transformed to another world. Tasting good food is pleasing to the soul. Do I know where my food comes from and exactly what I am eating? Have I ever had an orgasmic food experience?
  • Food is universal. We eat to stay alive and healthy, or in some cases in consuming the wrong food poorly No matter your culture, race, age, or religion we use food to celebrate life’s big moments. Do I celebrate my aliveness each time I eat?

I highly recommend that you watch Chef’s Table. I leave you with a great quote I enjoyed from the series:
“A chef must think like a scientist, organise like an accountant, plate like an artist, and cook like a grandma.”

Get inspired, go cook up a storm, learn life lessons through food, and just remember to invite me for dinner!

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