Discipline? Creative flair? Imagination? Hard work? All of them obviously but the degrees to which they are mixed together will vary according to the ideas of the individual practitioner
One man’s recipe for perfection is another’s recipe for disaster.
This is only to clearly shown in two wonderful documentaries about food that I’ve seen over the last six months
One is ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’, the other ‘El Bulli: Cooking in Progress’.
What makes them so interesting is the different routes each head chef takes to make his restaurant world class.
The decisions made are as much cultural as their personal.
For Jiro Ono, head chef at the world’s premier sushi restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo the key to success is exactitude. Everything from the setting of a table to the boiling of rice must be done perfectly. Nothing is left to chance and everything is done to pre-existing ideas about what makes sushi ideal.
In this world there is no room for interpretation but you can be sure that what are you being served will be to the highest possible standard
By contrast Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Barcelona views the creation of food as a constantly evolving process with no right or wrong answers beyond that special ‘feeling’ that certain dishes bring him.
At one point an oil-based cocktail is served which none of the guests care for. No problem, it will be modified or perhaps removed from the menu as only by such trial and error can new things be invented
After all El Bulli used to serve its guests 35 dishes over 3 hours so there would certainly be something to delight them. I say used because sadly the restaurant is now closed. Which might be testimony to the pressure of constantly evolving new dishes each season (the restaurant would close down for six months in order to create the coming seasons dishes)
No matter for whether you’re a foodie or just someone involved in creating anything, these films represent an inspirational and insightful look on what it takes to make something beautiful.