This morning I walked into my kitchen to another pastry chef working on my counter. She was rolling peeled medjool dates between two pieces of acetate.
It was quite exciting for me to walk into this situation, as I too am working on a dessert with dates, and the marbled sheet of pressed date presents possibilities that hadn’t occurred to me.
I consider the creative process one of simple input-output. I, the creative body input information, combine in my brain , and then output creatively. Only through an active collection of input can we expand ourselves. sometimes it’s a new idea, a new flavor, a new product we add. And sometimes another idea helps pinpoint a piece of information we had tucked away.
What made finding an accomplished pastry chef working in my kitchen so exciting is the simple conversation that helped mutually fuel our creative processes.
The date sheet turned into a conversation about Aziza and don’t they use amazing flavors, which turned into grilling dates, which turned into talking about bitter flavors and dates, to dates and coffee, to charred dates, to date sugar, to this date vinegar she just got from Rare tea cellars and it’s in her car would I like to try some?
Why yes, I would! And what’s that sitting next to it, a block of black sugar from Okinawa. What’s that taste like? Yum!
Today was a lucky day. All I had to do was show up to work, and input was waiting there for me. It required nothing more than a desire for conversation and openness to giving away the information I had.
But not every day has fresh and new input sitting in wait. Most days, we as creative bodies must seek input. We must start conversations, and answer when the call comes from another. We are lucky, in this age of social media, food porn, and general internet goings on. The amount of information available to us these days is enormous. Pictures of plates in restaurants from across the world are at our fingertips. Staging invites conversation into your kitchen, and offers new input to those that make the trip. Magazines, periodicals, blogs now contain content written by the chefs we admire. Netflix even contains episodic shows featuring chefs and restauranteurs.
It can become daunting, wading through the noise to find quality information. At times it can become overstimulating, so much rushing in we loose sight of what we already have. And doubts can creep in. Is that better/more correct than what I do?
A blessing and a curse.
But it’s there. Our potential for input is seemingly limitless. Take what you like and leave the rest.
I love this quote from filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. “Authenticity is invaluable. Originality is non-existant.” Don’t worry about taking. Grab it, store it, input, mix, and output. Celebrate your source materiel, verbally. Tell us where you found it, and how wonderful it is that the creator exists. Put forth your most authentic self. It’s likely that if you do so, it will be unlike anything you lifted in the first place.