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“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
-Pablo Picasso

I’ve been watching Netflix’s Chef’s Table. It documents art, and it is art. If you haven’t seen it, first of all, finish reading this email and then go home immediately and watch it, second of all, here’s the premise: Netflix visits the most renowned chefs in the world, shows off their food, and shares their origin stories. Every episode is different because every episode tries to mirror the personality of the chef. Some are quiet and calm. Some are introspective. Others are dramatic, because those chefs are dramatic (Francis Mallmann, I’m looking at you). The two things they all have in common are exceptional food and the struggle each chef went through to find their voice.

Every chef is different, no doubt about that, but the journey to greatness is, essentially, the same.

Step 1: Learn the basics.
Step 2: Copy a master.
Step 3: Get bored, reach a breaking point, have an existential crisis.
Step 4: Find your voice.
Step 5: Learn how to use it.

The journey to become a great chef parallels the journey to become a great artist/designer almost exactly. I learned the basics of design. I found artists and design masters who I wanted to imitate. I copied their every stroke in order to channel their creativity. I’m finding my voice and learning how to use it. It’s a lifelong process to understand how I’m different from everyone else and what I should do with my unique voice and perspective. And it’s a lifelong process to believe that my unique voice and perspective is worth sharing.

These chefs go through the same thing. Every time I watch an episode of Chef’s Table, I’m reminded of this process and inspired by these chefs who are walking a similar path successfully. They’ve fought the same demons of self-doubt and comparison, but they’ve managed to tap into their uniqueness and master it and share it. I think that’s what we’re all made for in big and small ways.

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On Tuesday, I had the privilege of eating at one of the restaurants profiled in Season 3 of Chef’s Table: Central. Central is ranked as the number four best restaurant in the world, and it was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. The episode should be required viewing for every diner, because it gives so much insight into Chef Virgilio Martinez and his philosophy for the restaurant.

Each of the eleven courses corresponded to a specific altitude and geography of Peru. Chef Virgilio has collected ingredients and flavors from all over Peru and created a tasting menu that will transport you without you ever having to leave your seat.

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