Recipe Development, Perfection and Plato

"A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe" - Thomas Keller


These words of wisdom from Chef Thomas Keller (French Laundry, Bouchon, and Ad hoc) ring true. Anyone can follow a recipe step by step and attractively present it. The real skill of the cook is to take ingredients and make a dish that reflects their heart and soul.


Recipe development is a phase in the food blogging process that I enjoy the most. It's the stage where I get to unleash my creativity and experiment in the kitchen. The plate is your canvas. I love experimenting with different ingredients, mixing and matching, and coming up with something totally unexpected. The feeling you get when you have a successful result is incredibly satisfying. Most of the time, it's a flop. Failure is a good thing. It is part of the learning process. Failure helps you improve and become a better cook. This philosophical approach will make you a success in any field. It took me a long time to understand this.


The truth is, there is no such thing as perfection. According to Plato, perfection only lives in the realm of thought. In other words, he says you're crazy and it's all in your head. He does have a point.


I used to be the type of person that would strive for and accept nothing less than perfection in work, school, and life. It was a waste of time and energy because I had been striving for something that didn't exist. All it did was lead to burnout and self-doubting my abilities. This is where "imposter syndrome" comes from.


If everything were perfect, life would be boring anyway.


Take this Beef Bulgogi and Egg Slider, for example, in phase one of recipe development. It's definitely not perfect and never will be. I didn't cook the egg perfectly. When I cut it in half, what resulted was a creamy and silky yolk running down the middle. The imperfection is what took this dish to another level. If I would have strived for perfection, I would have been perpetually dissatisfied.


But I will say, I am dissatisfied with those store bought buns. I guess I'll have to make my own buns. Brioche buns would be the chef's kiss.

On to Phase 2...




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