Inspiration is curious – no matter what your profession is, ideas and thoughts can come from everywhere. It is often wrongly thought that only people working in the creative industry source inspiration for their work. However, anyone being confronted with daily problems or seeking to develop new projects get inspired – the same of course holds for our chefs.
Whether working in a restaurant or being a private chef, all look for inspiration to craft new dishes, develop better flavour combinations or enhance menus. Talking to a private chef, we found out how chefs get inspired for their culinary creations.
Chef Andrew Ng has worked in the creative industry as a stage manager before becoming a chef. He has honed his culinary expertise in fine French and Japanese cuisine and has a passion for fusing the best of both classic cuisines in his creations. Chef Andrew says that his inspiration “comes from every day life – from looking at ingredients and watching cooking shows. From anything in life!”
“I do a lot of research to see what is out there.” Chef Andrew explains that also looking at pictures of food is a great inspiration. Both Instagram and Pinterest are ideal to explore and see what is possible. “I will then create my now version of what I see”, private chef Andrew Ng explains.
Other chefs, such as chef Desmond Lee, delve into the depth of their experience as a chef. Desmond Lee has worked as a chef for over 25 years and has plenty of inspiration passing in front of his eyes – which is especially true when it comes to his love for fine dining and his classic French cooking style. He as well watches cooking shows to see what other chefs experiment with. Like in other professions too, seeing what other chefs are doing will always trigger inspiration in one form or another.
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Kingsley Tan has been working as a chef for over 12 years as a chef and culinary consultant, specialising in both Chinese cuisine and flavourful Asian roasts. “I watch a lot of culinary videos and other media, incubating the information and eventually combining different methods and the inspiration to find my own creations.” In the inspiration is something that one takes in – there creative process happens inside.
Many chefs also find inspiration in their culinary heritage. Asking chefs about the earliest food memory, the majority will state the cooking of their mothers. This is true for chef Slim Mohammed, who is originally from Lebanon and has over 20 years of culinary experience in Middle-East and Asia. “My inspiration comes from my mother, my hometown, from my scouting experience and from my many years in hospitality.” Slim Mohammed explains that he loves strolling through the local wet markets to see what is actually available.
“I like to use fresh items that I create myself. Using fresh ingredients is especially good for rich sauces, which I of course make myself.”